I've stumbled upon "ii7b" chords, but every example I've seen looks like a plain "ii7" chord. Is there a difference between those two at all? Thanks!

  • 1
    Can you provide an example?
    – Neil Meyer
    Jun 30, 2017 at 8:02

2 Answers 2


The seventh indicates a chord with four notes, in root position and the 'b' indicates a chord in the first inversion. It seems that the notation would be incorrect to have them both.

  • 2
    Huh, that fits. It seems weird to notate first inversion by 'b'.
    – Jan
    Jun 30, 2017 at 8:31
  • It is one of the forms of notation, I think most of the exam boards will accept it, it is just not as widespread in use.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jun 30, 2017 at 8:59
  • What is "incorrect" about it? Labeling inversions as a (for the root position, so very rarely used), b, c, d, ... for 1st, 2nd, 3rd. ... inversions is a fairly old "standard" notation, but it was certainly "correct" in its day. Of course it doesn't play well with modern chord symbols written in text where "b" might mean "flat".
    – user19146
    Jun 30, 2017 at 16:20
  • @alephzero - why would the 'flat' sign, which it isn't, be after the 7? Should be no confusion there.
    – Tim
    Jun 30, 2017 at 17:45
  • The seven is shorthand for 7/5/3 which means a chord with four notes in root position, the b means first inversion.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jun 30, 2017 at 18:51

In the first inversion, which is what ii7b means, it could also be called IV6. In the key of C, ii7b would be written in simplest form as F A C D. This is also known as F6 - IV6, possibly a simpler way to name it.

  • Really? Hah I would've thought it mean flat the seven. wouldn't a first inversion be ii7 6 (little 6)? Jun 30, 2017 at 16:43
  • @KolobCanyon The problem is that there are several different conventions for chord symbols, and for describing harmony, and if you start mixing and matching options from different conventions, you soon get into a mess where nobody knows what anything is supposed to mean! But if musicians who prefer reading from lead sheets want to give themselves a hard time sorting all this out, that's their problem!
    – user19146
    Jun 30, 2017 at 16:58
  • @alephzero true, it seems highly dependent on whether you are a jazzer or classical junkie what syntax is used. Jun 30, 2017 at 17:02

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