Chim Chim Cher-ee has a fantastic chord structure:

i, IIIaug, III, IV, iv, i, II7, V

Most of those transitions make sense to me. However, there are three transitions that I don't quite understand:

the i to IIIaug, IIIaug to III, and IV to iv.

All of these make the moving baseline nice and smooth (down a half step every measure). That said, I can't just make a song that has a the same baseline, and just choose any chord on top of it, and have it sound nice.

Why do those transitions work? Is the IIIaug not really a chord, and simply a moving note? Why is going from Major to minor fine here, and are there other spots that this transition is fine?

  • I never knew the song had that as its title! Jul 15, 2018 at 0:47
  • Google "line cliché"
    – b3ko
    Jul 15, 2018 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


This is an example of using chromaticism and common tones to color a chord progression.

If you look at the three chords you listed, there is one note difference between all of them. They have two common tones and the other note is approached by half step. In fact if you follow that chromatic note, you'll see it's what's driving that progression as that note continues to descend stepwise.

Another thing to note in your analysis is II7 is not correct. This is a common mistake for people stating to learn Roman Numeral Analysis. This chord is not functioning in the original key, but tonizing V by acting like a dominant. So the Roman Numeral for this would be V7/V.

  • So, in an effort to generalize, could I take most chords, and simply move a single note down or up (in a progression, perhaps)? Jul 14, 2018 at 17:27
  • 3
    Until I read the OP's roman numeral analysis, it never occurred to me to think about this song in terms of "chords". The most important thing after the tune is the counter-melody which is just a chromatic scale - in C, it's C B Bb A Ab G F# G. But then I play more Bach than Sherman & Sherman...
    – user19146
    Jul 14, 2018 at 18:48
  • II7 is not incorrect, I've seen many discussions about this on this website, and most of the times it's agreed that II7 or V7/V are both correct.
    – coconochao
    Jul 16, 2018 at 16:23
  • 1
    @coconochao it's not. It's a functional chord to the dominant, so writing in terms the tonic makes no sense. People understand what you mean, but it doesn't show the proper relationship. The whole point of Roman Numeral analysis is to show the function of the harmony which II7 does not function as any type of II. It's acting like a V. An example of this is using "too" when you meant "two". People can figure it out, but it doesn't make the use of it correct.
    – Dom
    Jul 16, 2018 at 16:25
  • 1
    Again it doesn't show proper relationship. They are secondary chords so for the analysis to be complete it needs to show that function. ii/ii V7/ii ii givens more information than iii VI7 ii ever can. It's easier for transcription the way you are writing it, but that's not the point of Roman Numeral analysis. It's a functional analysis. I can garuntee you that if you showed iii VI7 ii to someone just learning the subject they would have no idea what it relates or that it's a ii V7 i progression to the supertonic.
    – Dom
    Jul 16, 2018 at 16:43

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