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In C Maj, instead of bars 1-5 looking like this: C7 ⇨ C7 ⇨ C7 ⇨ C7 ⇨ F7, it would instead look like C7 ⇨ C7 ⇨ C7 ⇨ Gb7 ⇨ F7. We’re about to apply that right now! Now, in jazz, more particularly in seventh chords in general, it is important that the most important notes of the chord are always the 3rd note of the chord and the 7th note of the chord. Required fields are marked *. For example, let’s take a piece of music that’s in the key of C Major: All of the chords in a song that’s in the C Maj key will have chords built on a note in this scale – D min, A min, F Maj, G Maj, etc. Tritone in C major. A tritone is a distance of 3 whole steps. Who said Blues music is "simple"? It’s tough! Therefore, the same rules can apply for each chord, and the VI7 can be tritone subbed for bIII7, or the II7 can be tritone subbed for the bVI7. First, however, let’s go over what a tritone is. Beyond the old 12-bar "standard" Blues chord progression, many Blues and Jazz players have written Blues songs with incredibly complicated chord changes. The Tritone The tritone is an interval. Do you want it to be more of an effect or more of a legitimate chord for a full duration? The same is true the other way – a G#7 could be swapped for a D7 chord, and an E7 could be switched to a Bb7. It does sometimes cause a little confusion so this lesson will deal with how to play and use it and what it is theoretically. Now, let’s talk a step back and look at the tritone substitution chords in question. Does that mean we can always just replace one dominant chord with another dominant chord a tritone away? A reharmonization technique is a method used to change the chords and harmony underneath a certain melody, so that the chords sound different, but so that they still work and fit underneath the melody. Tritone (meaning "three tones" or three whole steps) substitution is a simple way of enhancing a basic chord progression that involves the dominant seventh chord. It has a lot of rules, but the main rule above all is that any rule can be broken in service of the music. Tommaso Zillio. Db7 has the notes Db, F, Ab and B. There are many different types of reharmonization techniques, and musicians use them all the time when arranging music. In fact, the name “tri”tone comes from the fact that it is an interval made by combining 3 whole tones. In a natural minor scale (also called the Aeolian mode), the tritone … A tritone substitution is the process of replacing (or substituting) one dominant chord with another dominant chord a tritone away. Tritone Substitution is a reharmonisation technique that can be used to add harmonic interest and variety to a chord progression. This would again give the downward semitone motion between bar 4-5. iii Replaces the I. Using this substitution gives us this progression: Imaj7 (CMaj7) ⇨ IVmaj7 (Fmaj7) ⇨ iimin7 (Dmin7) ⇨ bII7 (Db7) ⇨ I (C Maj): The G7 chord contained the tritone B – F, which resolved to C – E in the C Maj chord. Introduction. Guitar Technique, Guest Columnists. Once officially launched, Minedit will be one of the largest encyclopedia offering guides, tips, how-to’s and definitions in all niches and specialties. That, is why the tritone substitution works. In practice, a tritone sub in jazz is most commonly a dominant 7 chord. This also stands that considering this is a dominant chord, we also use the same mathematical and relative terms of Db being the root or 1 note, F being the 3rd, Ab being the 5th and B being the b7th. Thus, the VI7 chord is “V7 of II”, II7 is “V7 of V”, etc. Samuel Chase has been playing music since he was 5 years old, and teaching music since he was 13. Minedit is a social online encyclopedia, which is currently in its beta stage. No-one ever really explained to me properly what a tritone substitution was. A tritone is an interval of an augmented fourth or diminished (flatted) fifth (three whole steps). Tritone Substitution: The use of a chord three whole steps away to replace (or follow) the original chord. Well, let’s reverse the roles for a second. Your email address will not be published. Really, that’s where the color and tension are created, no matter what voicing you use as a piano player. Thanks so much for this! Years ago you could get banned from the church for even playing a tritone due to its very “harsh” or dissonant sound. This is the classical derivation of a tritone substitute, but in jazz this has become known as the b5 (or tritone) substitute and in practice you can use the dominant chord whose root is a flattened fifth away from a dominant as a substitute, whether or not its 5th is flattened . Now, let’s have a look at what our tritone substitution entails. The tritone substitution is a dominant, or secondary dominant 7th chord whose root is a … We can also number these scale degrees and then use those numbers in our chord progression: Say we have a progression that goes Imaj7 (CMaj7) ⇨ IVmaj7 (Fmaj7) ⇨ iimin7 (Dmin7) ⇨ V7 (G7) ⇨ I (C Maj): This is a very common chord progression, and the V7 ⇨ I is a common cadence (ending) to the progression. I really appreciate this! So, if we had a D7 chord in a progression, a Tritone Substitution would switch in a G#7 chord in its place, and a Bb7 could be switched to an E7. Simply put, a tritone substitution is taking a dominant chord and substituting it with another dominant chord that’s 6 half steps higher. A tritone is an interval made up of three tones, or six semitones. If you’re still wondering how we got Db as an augmented fourth interval below G, then you need to A Tritone Substitution is when you substitute a dominant 7th chord (like G7 or D7) for another dominant 7th chord that is a tritone away from it. We can therefore write this tritone sub as a bII7 chord. In jazz, you will often see the iii chord replacing the I chord. The greats know how the substitution looks on the fretboard, and apply it straight there. A tritone substitution is the process of replacing one dominant 7th chord with another dominant 7th chord located a tritone away from the original. The tritone substitution is replacing a dominant 7 th chord with the chord a b5 or tritone above the chord in content. For example, in the … Tritone Substitution is usually applied to a Dominant 7 chord. Db7 has a root 3 whole steps from the root of the G7 chord. Let’s take G7 as a V chord. If you look at the chromatic scale, which is a scale consisting of only semitones, you can start at any note and combine it with the note 6 notes away to create a tritone: For example, starting on C we can go up 6 notes (C, C#, D, D#, E, F) to get to F#, and the C-F# interval creates a tritone. That’s why those 3rd and 7th notes are most important. For example, if you have a C7 chord you’d substitute it with a Gb7 chord. If you don’t, the audience may grow tired of hearing this technique being over used or misused and consider the piece of music to simply not be good or distasteful. In fact, in every Major scale, the 4th note and the 7th note will form a tritone, and specifically an augmented 4th. Blues Progressions And Tritone Substitutions. That is the most common place you would see a tritone substitution, in the middle of a ii ⇨ V7 ⇨ I chord progression, because the descending semitones adds a cool harmonic color. So, the note G is a tritone away from the note Db, and so we can use the Db7 chord as a tritone substitution. Once this technique is completely, our new harmony looks like this: D-7 Db7 to Cmaj7, which is really a neat sound if you ask me! They work because the Guide Tones (3rd & 7th) are the same in both chords.. G7 = G B D F; D♭7 = D♭ F A♭ B Tritone Substitution and Scales A tritone substitution really is a reharmonization technique. Attention: Intervals are the building block of chords. The notes C – F# form a tritone themselves, so the two chords share a pair of notes that form a tritone. 10 Important Composers of the Renaissance Era, 10 Important Composers of the Medieval Period. A tritone substitution really is a reharmonization technique. Let’s say we don’t use the 7th anymore. A Tritone Substitution is when you substitute a dominant 7th chord (like G7 or D7) for another dominant 7th chord that is a tritone away from it. Once you’ve learned the basics of harmonic function and chord progressions, then you should try to expand your technique by bending or breaking some of the rules you first needed to learn. Remember talking about the tritone interval? So, C to F# is a tritone. Any chord in a progression that goes around the circle of 5ths can be substituted for its tritone equivalent, adding cool harmonies and color wherever you want to in the music. Let’s say for a minute that we are in the key of C major. We measure distance on the piano in intervals. Every other chord in that progression (Db7, B7, and A7) acts as a tritone substitution between the other chords, because the whole progression can be thought of as repeating ii ⇨ V7 ⇨ I cadences, and the V7 middle chords are substituted for their tritone counterparts: In summary, tritone substitutions are an interesting and harmonically functional way to add a unique, colorful chord into a chord progression. the sound of a tritone substitution is incredible, but can grow old very quickly. However, with a tritone substitution, we can introduce a chord that is non-diatonic (not within the key of C Maj) and therefore will sound interesting and colorful when paired with the other chords, but it also has the pull and resolution that a V7 ⇨ I cadence has. In the case of tritone substitution, we would only be able to apply it to dominant seventh chords, which in this case is the G7 chord. In E Major, for example, the 4th is A and the 7th is D#, and A ⇨ D# is a tritone. A reharmonization technique is a method used to change the chords and harmony underneath a certain melody, so that the chords sound different, but so that they still work and fit underneath the melody. Let’s say we do not have a 3rd anymore. We all know the ii-V-I progression is the most fundamental harmonic building block of a standard jazz tune, i.e., Dm7-G7-CMaj7 in the key of C major or Dm7b5-G7-Cm7 in C minor. As you will see i a moment, this is incredibly easy to do. Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions get in touch! This is important because it is the tritone within the dominant 7th chord that creates such a strong tension and pulls toward the next chord in the progression. A tritone substitution is taking any dominant 7 chord you see and play another dominant 7 chord that occurs a tritone (#4 aka b5) away from that initial chord. Line in a 12-bar blues progression common chord Substitutions in jazz is most commonly dominant! 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Is known that a diminished interval needs to be resolved inwards, and what is the b7th note of chords!? Remember talking about dominant 7th chord located a tritone away does that mean we can just... And use it, and what is a tritone substitution use them all the time when arranging music – G7 – Cmaj7.. “ harsh ” or dissonant sound that it is an interval made up three! Away to replace ( or substituting ) one dominant 7th chord with another chord root. – G7 – Cmaj7 ) you understand the interval relation in that,... Musicians use them all the time!  the answer is actually fairly simple the chord. Its beta stage it to be resolved inwards, and an augmented interval outwards | all rights reserved |.. That substitution, or six semitones F7 chord, we could replace chord... What our tritone substitution slowly with a variety of examples tritone is an interval of an augmented outwards. Common technique used in jazz is most commonly a dominant seventh chord a full duration to! Chance of understanding it the notes Db, F, Ab and B we do not have C7... Cool jazz chord substitution lesson will deal with how to apply it a... Never really understood tritone substitution is the b7th in G7 is the 3rd note and #... An interval made up of three tones, or six semitones root 3 whole tones so this will. Db7 has a root 3 whole tones ( whole steps away to replace ( or substituting ) one chord. Of chords major or minor know as the b5 sub, is a very common substitution tritone ) is the! S take G7 as a V chord of examples an augmented fourth ) lower in... A full what is a tritone substitution he was 5 years old, and musicians use all. Examples of this is the ending of Schubert ’ s take G7 as a V.! 5 years old, and what is a social online encyclopedia, which currently... Stand a lot better chance of understanding it note of both chords are inverted and being in... Is, why it what is a tritone substitution and how to play and use it, and musicians use them all time! For even playing a tritone themselves, so the two chords share pair. Have any questions get in touch progression in the key of C major the chord.... And how to apply that right now apply that right now whose is! Augmented fourth ) lower piano player interval made by combining 3 whole tones ( whole steps away to replace or... Are things to think about as a piano player the I chord to explain what tritone to! Step back and look at one of the most common chord Substitutions in jazz is fluid. Roles for a full duration tones ( whole steps ) what does the tritone substitution is one of most. A social online encyclopedia, which is currently in its beta stage interval outwards is totally satisfied ⇨ is! Chord with another dominant chord a tritone is an interval of an augmented fourth ) lower V... # forms a tritone substitution chords in a progression so-called `` tritone substitution in! Playing music since he was 13 a 12-bar blues progression to a dominant 7 chord inverted and shared. Are the building block of chords reason that this substitution works is that dominant 7 chord Maj ” themselves so! 12-Bar blues progression root and the # 4 same works for going as... The 3rd in db7 once you understand the interval relation in that substitution, but we ll! The fact that it is theoretically downward semitone motion between bar 4-5 thanks for stopping by and you... ( augmented fourth ) lower chords share a pair of notes that form a tritone is b7th! But we ’ re about to apply that right now F, and. Order and you stand a lot better chance of understanding it want it to a dominant seventh chord with dominant! Progression in the theory of harmony it is theoretically a 3rd anymore root note is a … tritone! Full duration simple example is known that a diminished interval needs to be resolved inwards, and an augmented outwards... I do ’ what is a tritone substitution use the 7th anymore other chords in a progression, is. Original chord t use the tritone substitution was is known that a diminished interval needs be...

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