Theory question about Nobuo Uematsu piece

Hi, I was working on transcribing a piece by Nobuo Uematsu from FFIII called boundless ocean, or water world, the name isn’t important.

Here is a youtube link to the track:

In the sheet music, the progression in the B section (0:35 in the video) states the chords are Bflat6 - Bmajor-Dminor -Amajor - Csharp minor -Gsharp major - Bmajor - B7.

I really only have a very rudimentary understanding of harmony, so this progression is really confusing for me to understand, I can flip through all the modes and find the chords to fill the spaces but could find no option for the Gsharp major chord in the piece. What kind of progression is this, all I can see is that it is some kind of sequence. Can someone give me more insight into this? Also what resources might I want to study to learn to understand this music better?

Thank you,


Hello BigBossMFM.

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Musically yours,
Stephen J. Souza

It’s definitely a weird chord progression, where the tonal center is constantly shifting.

The previous section in E minor ends on a V chord (B major). This section starts by shifting a chromatic step downward to a Bb major chord (with an added 6th, as well as a brief major 7th) before shifting back up to B (V).

Then, instead of returning to Em, which would be expected, it starts a series of i - V chords modulating chromatically downward. First a modulation down to D minor for Dm - A (i - V), then down again to C# minor for the same thing, C#m - G# (i - V). And finally the song jumps back to the familiar B major chord, in order to lead us back into E minor (V - i) as the first section repeats.

That’s the best analysis I can offer. Also, I can’t actually see your tab (copying and pasting the regular link won’t work for anyone except you, you have to click “URL” in the top left and copy that link), but assuming it’s in E minor, you can get that G# chord you’re looking for by switching the tab’s mode to major, borrowing bII from Phrygian, then switching the tab back to minor. Hope that helps.