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. Nov 1, 2018 at 12:15
  • By "major flat 6th" do you mean something like C E G A♭?
    – Richard
    Nov 1, 2018 at 12:16
  • Yes, I mean something thike C, E, G, Ab.
    – Alex G-I
    Nov 1, 2018 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, 2018 at 14:38
  • Please review any of Duke Ellington's piano scores in Ab, Db, Eb. ...or perhaps, I don't understand the question Nov 2, 2018 at 21:45

3 Answers 3


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, 2018 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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.