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First time doing harmonic analysis.

This is the piece https://musescore.com/user/1596896/scores/715646

The key signature indicates F major, but I feel like the composer plays around with the proximity of F major and C major, going back and forth between keys.

The song starts on I (F), with a moving bass note. Right after we're met with the V7/V (G7), preparing us to move into the V (C). We keep going back and forth in this fashion for 60 measures, with bass notes going up and down but the structure remaining the same.

My first question is in measure 63, where Am shows up. I'm not sure whether to consider this a iii or a vi, or if it is ambiguous enough that it doesn't really matter. This happens again on measure 85.

Then things get interesting in measure 92 where a Cm6 shows up. I'm inclined to consider this modal mixture, borrowing that chord from F myxolidyan. Does that make sense? Also, what would you consider the function of that chord to be? It shows up again in measure 101.

The next interesting chord is in measure 114, composed by A, D, G (and an F if you count the last note on the right hand). Looks like D minor, in this case v.

What parts of my analysis do you disagree with?

Thanks for the help.

  • 1
    How much confidence do you have in this transcription? Some of it looks a bit suspect. I don't know this music, but, for example, is bar 56 correct? That second beat is pretty jarring. Think again about the diminished harmony in measure 92. Calling it Cm6 suggests you're reading D# as Eb. Measure 114 looks like just a passing note in the bass. – replete Mar 31 at 10:41
  • It sounds pretty close to the original. About measure 92, that would be a D# then? With a 6? Not sure where that would come from though. – Evan do Carmo Mar 31 at 11:02
  • With a maj 7, not a 6. – Evan do Carmo Mar 31 at 11:10
  • You say it is in F or maybe C but then call the Aminor either iii or iv. Do you mean iii or vi? Later you call DMinor iv. Do you mean? v or ii? – b3ko Mar 31 at 14:40
  • Wrote this too early in the morning, messed up my Roman numerals. Will edit and fix it. – Evan do Carmo Mar 31 at 15:08
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I think that the transcription might be slightly off in places based on my recollection of this piece.

In measure 63, the Am chord I believe should actually be a C+ triad first (C E G#), and then an Am chord in the next measure. Basically, this spot ends with a deceptive cadence (an unconventional V-iii cadence) that is decorated with the V becoming a V+. The augmented dominant chord can lead nicely to the tonic chord because the raised fifth of that chord leads to the third of the tonic chord (almost like a leading tone effect). However, there is also a line cliché happening here, where the chord stays the same, but one note is changing by moving up a half step each time. The original C chord has the note G, which then moves to G#, and finally to the A in the A-minor triad. While iii-I might not be the most common chord progression to move into a new phrase, the iii chord shares two of the same notes as the tonic chord; the fifth of the vi chord is the leading tone, which helps lead back into the tonic.

Measure 92 is a little more confusing. The B natural in the melody line is what throws this off. We could have treated the chord as a iii* borrowed from mixolydian, but F-mixolydian doesn't have a B natural. Maybe we could analyze it this way, and the B natural could simply be viewed as a chromatic escape tone that prepares us for the B natural in the following V/V chord.

There is no tonal scale that has a B natural and an E flat (I'm thinking Eb is easier to analyze than the D# written since F major is a key that uses a flat). The order of flats added to a key are BEADGCF, so if we heard an Eb, we'd also expect a Bb.

This chord could be borrowed from the Lydian-Dominant scale, which is also known as the acoustic scale/overtone scale/Lydian b7 scale. If we base the notes around the scale degrees of the major scale, it would be represented as 1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7 (F G A B-natural C D Eb). In the chord (A C Eb), the C and Eb are tendency tones that want to resolve down by a half step to the B and D of the G-major chord. I think this is one of those instances where the composer went based more on the sound he wanted than straight-forward theory. Explaining this chord and melody with the Lydian-Dominant scale might be overcomplicating it, but it's another possibility.

Finally, I think that in measure 114, the A is simply a passing tone that leads the G-major chord from first inversion to root position while the other notes of the chord stay static.

Hope this helps!

  • There’s a lot to unpack here. Thank you so much! – Evan do Carmo Apr 1 at 1:11

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