I stumbled upon this very harmonically simple piece:

The succession for the first part of the song is (in the key of Eb minor) (e.g. from 0'17'')

I V ? VI I and so on

I recognize that the chord for ? is "b d f" all natural. But what type of chord it actually is? Is it some kind of "augmented minor fifth"? I cannot find any indication of this on the internet or on harmony manuals.


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  • Bb and F make up ?, leading to a B maj chord, not a VI, but a #5/b6. And I should be i, if it's minor, although as Eb5, it's difficult to say. – Tim Mar 26 '17 at 16:21

This is a very nice chord progression! The very first chord is Eb5, which means that it's neither major or minor, which makes it difficult to determine whether the key is a major key or a minor. To me, it sounds like it's a major key, borrowing chords from its tonic minor. The chord in question has a Gb as its bass note, which might not have been heard if you listen on mediocre speakers/headphones.

Here are the chords you seek:

Eb5 Bb Gbmaj7 Cbmaj7

The function of each chord would be one of two possibilities:

For Eb major: I V bIII bVI
For Eb minor: i V III VI

Hope this helps.

  • Thank you, but doesn't the chord have a natural b? How does it match with Gbmaj7? – Vaaal Mar 26 '17 at 18:43
  • I'm not hearing the B natural and I listened to it a couple of times. The only B natural I hear is during the 4th chord, which I already identified as bVI (aka Cb major aka B major). Is that what you're referring to or are you referring to the 3rd chord? – 02fentym Mar 26 '17 at 18:47
  • I am still referring to the 3rd chord :/ That's weird. I hear, as you said, Gb , but also B. – Vaaal Mar 26 '17 at 18:54
  • I am listening to it again, and I am not sure about hearing the B anymore. However, identify that as the III in Eb minor is also suspicious, as playing that chord in that progression gives a totally different feeling.. – Vaaal Mar 26 '17 at 18:58
  • Maybe the instrument you're using is slightly out of tune, that could explain for you hearing a B instead of Bb. If the key is Eb minor, then III is quite a valid chord. I believe the reason you're hearing it as a strange chord is because the key is actually Eb major making it a bIII chord instead. – 02fentym Mar 26 '17 at 19:30

BDF is a diminished chord on B. It has various (classical anyway) functions. It's often found in first inversion (DFB) as this can make for easier voice leading. It often acts as a dominant to a C chord (it's the top 3 notes of a G7). Sometimes it serves in a sequence like C,F,b0,e,a,d,g,c harmonies.


I am hearing the 3rd chord as a an inversion of the e-flat minor triad, (i6, with the 3rd degree in the bass).

How then to explain the F that is present? It is a hold-over from the previous V chord, thus a sort of "frozen in place" suspension or appoggiatura. It "should" resolve to E-flat right there, but the resolution is put off until the 4th chord, where the E-flat is the major third in the VI chord.

I'm not hearing a 5th degree (in the 3rd chord) that would make it some sort of III. No D or D-flat.

"Frozen appoggiaturas" can add a beautiful tension to a given moment in the harmonic flow.


The base chord only uses the first and the fifth, which makes it pretty androgounist. But the rest of the chords in the song make it pretty obvious that it is a minor song.

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