Listen From 00:56 enter image description here

The [E] part is in C Major key

and I can't understand the C#m7-5 chord at bar 3

what is this chord ?

Where did it come from? and what is its function ?

2 Answers 2


I would call this (and the Db7 that follows) passing chords to get from I (of V, since we've modulated to C major) to V7 (of I, which is F major).

Peculiarly, this means we're just moving from C to C7, and the passing chords are obtained by just a few half-step tweaks, but they're untethered harmonically, helping to ensure that there's no stable harmonic sense until we get back to F. In other words: the fact that you can't find a clear harmonic function for this chord is a feature!


As far as I can tell, the C♯m7♭5 is basically just a variation on the Cmaj7 chord before it, but changing the note C to the note C♯, thereby changing the chord's quality and creating a really cool sound. I've heard this called a "slide progression" before, and I think this is the same idea. In terms of function, this adds some tension that can be resolved, or more likely, linked to a subdominant chord. Also, I'd have to disagree with your analysis of the B♭/C chord, I'd call that some form of a C7 chord with extensions (it functions as a dominant chord).

  • How could b9 (C#) appear in a 1 tonic chord ? And how could this be a extension it looks more like the chord has changed Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 0:25
  • When I said "extension", I didn't mean like a 9th or something, I meant that the C chord's C note is changed to a C♯.
    – user45266
    Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 1:48
  • 1
    How could that happen ? Where is that C# note coming from ? Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 3:44
  • Well, it is really close to C, and my guess is the explanation is that changing the C to a C♯ makes a new chord; therefore the composer just takes the entire structure of the previous measures but changing the Cs to C♯s to be cool. I wouldn't analyse that note as being like a ♭9 or anything, I'd say it's the root of a chord which was arrived at by sliding the note below it up.
    – user45266
    Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 4:42
  • 1
    is it some type of line cliche ? Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 5:04

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