During transcription I came across the following chord:

G# C# F

It is followed by another chord that has the same structure

C# F# A#

The song itself features a lot of chords with second inversions so my first thought was that this was also an inverted chord. But then it would be a chord with a sixth with the fifth omitted.

Or if we're looking at the chord as is you could also say its an incomplete C# over G#?

  • The answers pointing out these chords are C♯ (spelled with an E♯) and F♯ respectively are not incorrect, but if you're transcribing something you're listening to, it may be simpler and more correct to write them as D♭ and G♭. Of course, without knowing the key and the harmonic context, you can't say for sure. I know in the repertoire I play, the later tend to be much more common than the former. Sep 25, 2019 at 21:35

4 Answers 4


I agree with Timinycricket that this is most likely just a notation-mangled C♯ major chord in second inversion. However, it could also be something different where the note names are actually correct: a G♯ diminished seventh chord in the key of A major. The C♯ would in this case be a non-chord tone, which is possible if it's part of a melodic voice, something like

%%score T1 T2 B
V:T1           clef=treble
V:T2           clef=treble
V:B            clef=bass
% 1
[V:T1] e4       =f2  f2  | e4
[V:T2] B4       cd   Bd  | c4
[V:B]  G,2 E,F, G,2  G,2 | A,4
  • It’s true. I have no idea what the context is. Sep 25, 2019 at 10:14

That is a C sharp major chord and an F sharp major chord with an incorrectly named third on the C sharp chord. And yes they are in second inversion if left to right is ascending.

  • The F♯ isn't incorrect. Sep 25, 2019 at 8:54
  • You are correct the second one is indeed a simple F# chord. I must've been thinking too hard. I don't understand what you mean by an 'incorrectly named third' though? Sep 25, 2019 at 9:06
  • 1
    @JiriKrewinkel I meant that a simple spelling of a C# major chord would have E# as the third. The F# major chord is correct with A# as the major third I was mistaken. Sep 25, 2019 at 10:30
  • 1
    That F# chord is spot on. Think F-A-C, then F#-A#-C#. Why not edit answer?
    – Tim
    Sep 25, 2019 at 10:49
  • @Tim I thought I did edit it but I must have not confirmed it, Whoops. Sep 25, 2019 at 19:38

The first is C♯ major triad.In 2nd inversion. But needs spelling G♯ C♯ E♯. There's no F as such - just sounds like it!

The other is fine as is. F♯ major triad in 2nd inversion.

  • It is confusing when someone type F instead of E♯. It is a lot easier to read when the right name E♯ is typed because then you can see rigtht away that it is a C♯major chord.. Sep 25, 2019 at 11:00
  • @LarsPeterSchultz - not only confusing, but wrong! And just as bad when written on the stave as F!
    – Tim
    Sep 25, 2019 at 11:07
  • Yes, that is exactly it. Sep 25, 2019 at 12:42
  • Now I understand why Bartok is confusing ;) some are wrong and some are just to make it easier for reading, I think we had this point already ... but I agree in a chord it is absolutely wrong! Sep 25, 2019 at 14:21

I haven't seen the sheet music but it sounds and looks like C#/G#-F#/C#. The lowest notes are G#-C# (leapibg doen a fifth or up a fourth).

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