In Debussy's La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, there is this passage:


(Debussy: Préludes Livre I, No. 8, bar 24) The piece is in Gb major.

This first chord is probably a I chord. But since it has that extra Eb, does it mean it's a I13 chord, despite the fact it has no other notes from that extension? Or is it just a normal I chord with some decoration?

The other option is that it's vi7b chord. Is this more likely?

  • Why can't is just be a 6th chord? There is no dominant 7th which would be the signature of 13. – ggcg Dec 22 '18 at 14:08
  • This isn't a sixth / thirteenth chord. – user53472 Jan 18 '19 at 5:05

Every single chord in this measure is an Ebm7, in various inversions and voicings.

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  • Gb maj 6 = Eb min 7. – ggcg Dec 22 '18 at 14:08
  • @ggcg, it is not possible to understand the function of this chord without the surrounding music. – Heather S. Dec 22 '18 at 14:37
  • I interpreted the OP as asking about the chord itself. – ggcg Dec 22 '18 at 14:38
  • So did I, and the more standard interpretation would be Ebm7. – Heather S. Dec 22 '18 at 15:53
  • They are quite the same, just inversions of each other, But okay. – ggcg Dec 22 '18 at 15:54

A 13th chord usually has a dom 7 in it. Without that you will not hear the typical 13th chord sound. It is however a maj 6 chord {1, 3, 5, 6}. Sometimes the 5th is omitted but doesn't need to be if the voicing avoids a maj 2nd, e.g. {5, 1, 3, 6}.

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