I know that I have heard Ebb6 on the start of star wars theme song and I heard Bbb6 on another music at the end.

C Major 6th contains C, E, G, A.

Normally mb6 chords are used

I have heard them in some music

Are Major Flat 6ths really in music?

  • Apparently "yes" since you found them! I'm not sure how true your "normally..." statement is -- there are rather a large number of musical styles, epochs, etc., and there's really no overarching set of rules. – Carl Witthoft Nov 1 '18 at 12:15
  • By "major flat 6th" do you mean something like C E G A♭? – Richard Nov 1 '18 at 12:16
  • Yes, I mean something thike C, E, G, Ab. – Alex G-I Nov 1 '18 at 12:18
  • They must be. Just like any other combination of four notes. Some composers have used them, others avoid. There is a dissonance which is useful in some styles, but dissonant chords have only limited use. – Tim Nov 1 '18 at 14:38
  • Please review any of Duke Ellington's piano scores in Ab, Db, Eb. ...or perhaps, I don't understand the question – Francis Phillips Nov 2 '18 at 21:45

I can't give a specific example, but the "major flat 6th" chord is a subset of the dominant ♭13 chord. If we're in the key of F major, for instance, the V♭13 would include C E G as the V chord and A♭ as the ♭13.

Typically, ♭13 chords will also include a seventh (B♭ in this case) and potentially even 9ths and 11ths (D and F). But these chords will certainly give you a place to start.

  • True. Once you've gone to a 7th, that '6th, or even b6th' note will be known as 13 or b13. But it seems OP has a slight obsession with purely a 4 note chord with a b6 included ! – Tim Nov 1 '18 at 14:41

Often, in film scores, Major triads are played with their minor 6th used as a passing tone (The Axiom's music in WALL-E, or pretty much any space/sci-fi soundtrack). So, in a way, one could analyse that as a Major ♭6 chord. Let me reiterate that it's really common in film scores.


If you're thinking in jazz 'scale=chord' terms there are scales that include the major 3rd and the b6, so I expect someone will have used a chord name like 'Cmaj11(b6)' (I think that includes one of everything?)

In more functional harmony, a b6 usually turns out to be a #5, replacing the 5th rather than additional to it. But we allow 'C6' to break the 'pile of 3rds' system, so if you feel a crunchy b6 sounds good there's no reason not to allow 'C(b6)'.

In your question, I think you may be confusing 'Cm6' where the third is minor with 'C(b6)' where the 6th is.

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