Hi @mem, it’s a little ambiguous in the recording I’m hearing, which I guess is the original. The piano is playing some of the chords as just two-note chords, and others as little clusters, so in this first presentation of that line in question, I can understand why you’re not entirely sure about the chords. There’s nothing wrong with your hearing or analysis. It’s that the piano notes themselves leave some room for interpretation. (Remember that chord symbols in general are only a metaphor. Nothing constrains musicians to playing just the three or four most basic notes of a chord. Composers are always free to move voices around creating ambiguous, intermediate steps between one moment of clarity and the next.)
The first time that line is played, what I hear is essentially what you wrote. I share your feeling that the first chord of the line is still the 1 chord, even though there is a very prominent note 7 being introduced as the lowest note in the piano chord. The reason I still feel this as the 1 chord is because note 1 is still present, and you can hear the dissonant clash between notes 7 and 1 at the bottom of that piano chord. (This is at 0:38 in the original recording.)
But then later in the song when there is a more full orchestration, my answer would change. If you listen to this same line when it’s presented at 1:44, now I’m no longer hearing any reference to the 1 chord. What I hear is what I would call 3-/7, meaning that it’s the 3- chord with note 7 in the bass. So the only change to your drawing is that the 3- chord appears right from the beginning of the line, and it occupies two of the measures as you’ve drawn them out.
In either case, the chord I hear next is the 6- chord. (Again, this is much clearer and easier to hear in the section at 1:44 than in the section at 0:38.)
This brings up a dilemma that we always have when we’re trying to create our own “lead sheet” or tonal sketch of a popular song. If the chords are played in different ways throughout the recording (or across multiple recordings from the same time period), then who gets to determine what the “real” chords are?
This is an example of the classic dilemma of the map vs. the territory. In order to be useful, a map by necessity must simplify and eliminate most of the details of the territory. If you wanted your map to include ALL of the details of the landscape, the map would have to be as large as the territory! So we know that in making a map, we are reducing and eliminating in order to obtain a particular point of view which is a useful summary.
This is what we do in music when we reduce the countless creative choices of the composer and each member of a band down to the greatly simplified notion of a “chord symbol”. Concepts like 3- and 6- are incredibly useful and empowering as a kind of general roadmap of the harmony. But they don’t even begin to address the creative choices made by whoever composed the piano part to this song. So as you create your own arrangement of this song, just keep that in mind. It’s not your obligation to capture every detail or repeat every creative choice made by the original composers, arrangers and musicians. This is why I’m always saying that all harmonic analysis is subjective. It’s really a part of your own creative process to decide which elements from the song to include in your analysis, and how you prefer to think about those elements.
What I would do is opt for a tonal sketch that is simple, solid and clear. I would never make a tonal sketch that requires me to write the chords differently from one verse to the other, or to include all of these annoying details about every little variation and chord cluster. If these adornments are so essential to the song then I would reject that song outright as a terrible vehicle for improvising. What I’m looking for are songs that have a strong melody and a great chord progression that can be expressed with simple and beautiful chord concepts like “6-”, with or without any additional ornamentation that I might choose to add.
With that simple and clear roadmap of the harmony, I can then go off in my own creative directions. That could mean adding ornamentation or it could mean stripping things away, resulting in the minimalist two-note chords like we hear at the beginning of this recording. It could also mean blending the chords and moving voices one at a time, creating the ambiguity that we talked about in the section around 0:38. But none of this is obligatory and none of it belongs in my harmonic analysis, because the goal of the analysis is to illuminate the framework of the song, not to capture every beautiful detail that the individual musicians chose to add.
That’s my own process but I would love to hear more about your experience as you get further with this song!