enter image description here

I heard this song "Believe" recently, and the Eb major chord stood out to me. The song is in E major, so I'm wondering how that Eb triad can be looked at. Even if it was spelt as a D# major triad, it still doesn't fit with the key of E or any of its modes.

Anyone have thoughts on how to analyze it? I know it's a doubly chromatic mediant (if considered a D# triad), but I don't know how else to look at it.

  • 2
    Sounds like it could be another tts - this time in place of A7 (IV7).
    – Tim
    Apr 20, 2019 at 11:09
  • 1
    "corda con picante" (not a real term)
    – user45266
    Apr 20, 2019 at 20:13

1 Answer 1


A curiously simple music effect.

Yes, I agree with you that thinking of it as a chromatic mediant gives it the most function. It should not be labeled as “Eb” but as you suggested, “D#”. In context of E major, this would then make it a non-diatonic leading tone chord, but leaving it at that overlooks the chord’s function:

The first line oscillates between “E” and “G#m”. The latter chord is a iii and is diatonic to the key. Here’s where the music gets interesting:

The 2nd line of music moves to “F#m”. In context of E major, this chord is a ii and would normally serve as a predominant. However, its predominant function is delayed by an intervening chromatic mediant (“D#”). The move between these two chords is a mirror image from the first line. It is this relationship that makes the move functionally cohesive. Add to that that this non-sequitur chord happens on the line “dreams are calling”, adding to the ethereal intent, making this chord move not only interesting but cohesive as well.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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