The tritone substitution is one of the most common chord and improvisation devices in jazz. Let’s say for a minute that we are in the key of C major. Guitar Technique, Guest Columnists. 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 is a distance of 3 whole steps. That’s because Gb is 6 half steps higher than a C. They can be added in anywhere there’s dominant 7th motion, like in a ii ⇨ V7 ⇨ I progression, and if you see a long progression of descending semitones (like in the “Dizzy Atmosphere” example), then that is most likely using tritone subs. Welcome to Hello Music Theory! For instance, you could substitute Db7 for G7 because Db is a … Another spot is at 0:58, with the progression Eb6 ⇨ E7 ⇨ Eb7, as E7 is the tritone sub for Bb7: In the track “Dizzy Atmosphere” by Dizzy Gillespie, bars 17-25 contain the chord progression D7 ⇨ Db7 ⇨ C7 ⇨ B7 ⇨ Bb7 ⇨ A7 ⇨ Ab7. There are even musicians (often times piano players) who have taken a liking to the world of reharmonizing and automatically incorporate it into their playing. A tritone substitution is the substitution of a dominant seventh chord with another chord whose root is a tritone (augmented fourth) lower. A tritone substitution really is a reharmonization technique. A tritone is an interval made up of three tones, or six semitones. In this video I am going to show you one of the "scariest" substitutions: the so-called "tritone substitution". As you can see right away, they share the note F#. Listen for the final held chord at the fff markings (timestamp: 48:42), which is a Db7 chord rather than a G7 chord: However, while there are tritone substitutions found in classical music, they are much more commonly associated with Jazz music. Well, how are we able to say if we’re dealing with a major 7, minor 7, minor major or dominant chord? There are even musicians (often times piano players) who have taken a liking to the world of reharmonizing and autom… I really appreciate this! Remember talking about the tritone interval? Tritone Substitution is usually applied to a Dominant 7 chord. Do you want it to be more of an effect or more of a legitimate chord for a full duration? 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. Given the progression I ⇨ VI7 ⇨ II7 ⇨ V7 ⇨ I, each of the chords VI7, II7 and V7 can be thought of as the “V” dominant chord of the next chord in the progression. 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. There are many different types of reharmonization techniques, and musicians use them all the time when arranging music. 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. Introduction. The tritone substitution is a dominant, or secondary dominant 7th chord whose root is a … 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. 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. Required fields are marked *. The term “Tritone”, refers to the interval tritone, which indicates that we will be dealing with a 4 and a half step difference as the tritone is a half step larger than a perfect fourth and a half step smaller than a perfect fifth. In practice, a tritone sub in jazz is most commonly a dominant 7 chord. Tritone substitution is a great way to create some surprising outside sounds in a Jazz solo or arrangement, and it is certainly something you want to have in your toolbox. So let’s plug in some variables. Before watching this you should have done the previous lessons in this series - without a solid understanding of Functioning Dominants and Altered Harmony this is going to mess with your head. Required fields are marked *. Tritone Substitution Part XII Replacing a dominant seventh (or a minor seventh) chord by a dominant seventh chord whose root is a tritone away is referred to as a tritone (or flatted fifth) substitution. There are examples of Tritone Substitutions in classical music. For example, in the Jazz standard “In the Mood”, you see an Ab6 ⇨ Bdim7 ⇨ Bbm7 ⇨ Eb7 progression (listen at 0:48), with the B chord acting as a tritone sub for the “V of Bb”, F7. They are usually labelled as a type of augmented Neapolitan Sixth chord, in which a Maj chord built on the bII scale degree adds an augmented 6th note on top (enharmonic equivalent of a b7) which creates the tritone. Let’s say we do not have a 3rd anymore. Attention: Intervals are the building block of chords. Your email address will not be published. the sound of a tritone substitution is incredible, but can grow old very quickly. Tritone substitution is the substitution of one chord (almost always a dominant 7th of some sort) for one with a root a tritone away. A tritone substitution occurs whenever a chord is being substituted or replaced by another chord with a root a tritone interval away. Db7 has the notes Db, F, Ab and B. It’s often used in a II V I progression. 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. Well, how are we able to say if the chord is major or minor? Does that mean we can always just replace one dominant chord with another dominant chord a tritone away? Using a tritone substitution introduces a unique and non-diatonic chord to the chord progression, but keeps the same tritone intact, so it still creates the same tension and pulls just as strongly to the next chord. We can therefore write this tritone sub as a bII7 chord. The bII7 (Db7) chord also contains that same tritone, but written as F – Cb, and it also resolves to the C – E in the C Maj. Also notice that the iimin7 ⇨ bII7 ⇨ I progression includes a descending sequence of semitones, going from D ⇨ Db ⇨ C. This also creates an additional pull to the tonic chord. The same works for going down as well (for example, Bb ⇨ E is a tritone). How long do you want the tritone substitution to last? 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. Tritone in C major. 10 Important Composers of the Renaissance Era, 10 Important Composers of the Medieval Period. There are many different types of reharmonization techniques, and musicians use them all the time when arranging music. 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 have a look at what notes are actually in the chord G7. Db7 has a root 3 whole steps from the root of the G7 chord. What is a tritone substitution, how do you use it, and what is its function? If you’re still wondering how we got Db as an augmented fourth interval below G, then you need to Thanks so much for this! Now, what does the tritone substitution refer to?Remember talking about the tritone interval earlier? We measure distance on the piano in intervals. In jazz, you will often see the iii chord replacing the I chord. Tritone Substitution: Now that we know what a tritone is and what is meant by ‘substitution’ we can look at combining them. In a natural minor scale (also called the Aeolian mode), the tritone … Example: G7 is replaced by Db7. A tritone is an interval of 6 semitones (half steps), or 3 whole tones (whole steps). We’re looking at a jazz standard that has the following infamous chord progression, II-7 V7 to Imaj7, which translates to if it is in the key of C major, D-7 G7 to Cmajor7. What exactly is a … As you can see above, there is no note Db in the C Maj scale, but the note D is the 2nd scale degree, and is written as ii (or II if Maj). That, is why the tritone substitution works. Tritone substitution is a very cool jazz chord substitution. This doesn’t mean you can’t substitute other chord qualities, but a dominant 7 is most often the chord being used to replace. An interval is a distance between two points. Db7 is then the tritone substitute for the G7. The term Substitution in this particular case means and refers to the fact that we will be substituting out whatever note or chord we are seeing, for the tritone interval away from our given note. I'll show you how we actually can alter some of these common tones in the video … 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. 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. 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. 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. December-January 2014. I think the best way to explain what this type of reharm actually is and does, is by giving you a simple example. Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions get in touch! For example, above we said that D – G# forms a tritone, and Bb – E as well. One of the most common Chord Substitutions in Jazz is the Tritone Substitution.This is a way of substituting V7 chords. 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! Now, let’s have a look at what our tritone substitution entails. Another common usage is in a 12-bar blues progression. It does sometimes cause a little confusion so this lesson will deal with how to play and use it and what it is theoretically. Chords in progressions are typically represented by a number, which is the scale degree that the chord is built upon in that specific key. Thanks so much for this! This lesson will explain what tritone substitution is, why it works and how to apply it to a major 251 progression. The reason that this substitution works is that dominant 7 chords with a bass note a tritone apart share the same 3rd and 7th. For example if the dominant 7 th chord you want to apply the tritone sub to is G7, the root is G. A b5 or tritone above G is the note Db, so to apply tritone substitute to a G7, replace the G7 with a Db7. 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. The tritone substitute typically uses a 7th chord for the V chord whose root is 3 whole steps from the root of the V chord. As you will see i a moment, this is incredibly easy to do. 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. They also share the note C, because B# is enharmonically equivalent to C (this means they are the same note, just written differently). You can also use the tritone sub for other chords in a progression. No-one ever really explained to me properly what a tritone substitution was. 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. Tritone substitutions are the most difficult to understand because they are "rule-breakers" when it comes to common tones. What Is a Tritone Substitution? In each diatonic scale there is only one tritone, and it occurs between the fourth and seventh degrees of the scale, so in a C major scale this would be between F and B. Minedit itself does not host any PDF files and only redirects to other sites that host PDFs. It’s tough! That’s why those 3rd and 7th notes are most important. For example, in the … 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. The greats know how the substitution looks on the fretboard, and apply it straight there. Simply put, a tritone substitution is taking a dominant chord and substituting it with another dominant chord that’s 6 half steps higher. The rules behind “tritone substitution” say that you can replace this G dominant7 with the dominant chord that is 3 whole steps away (or a “tritone” away). Your email address will not be published. Tritone Subs are Non-Diatonic Keep in mind that a tritone substitution is a non-diatonic chord that functions similarly to the naturally occurring dominant chord found within the key. Do things in the right order and you stand a lot better chance of understanding it. Let’s have a look at what note is exactly a tritone away (either higher or lower, doesn’t really matter) from the root note of the dominant chord, which is in this particular case a G. And so the tritone substitution technique tells us it is okay to Substitute, the G7 chord out for it’s tritone equivalent, which then becomes Db7. We’re only talking about dominant 7th chords, not major or minor chords. He has a PhD in Music from the University of Surrey, and he has composed music that has been played in three different countries. The tritone substitution is a common technique used in Jazz Theory to add some color to a dominant seventh chord. That may sound a bit confusing, but we’ll be demonstrating the use of tritone substitution slowly with a variety of examples. 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. G7 has the notes G, B, D and F in it, which stands in mathematical terms for the 1, the 3rd, the 5th and the b7th. Samuel Chase has been playing music since he was 5 years old, and teaching music since he was 13. Well, let’s reverse the roles for a second. I never really understood tritone substitution, but now I do! Thus, the VI7 chord is “V7 of II”, II7 is “V7 of V”, etc. In fact, in every Major scale, the 4th note and the 7th note will form a tritone, and specifically an augmented 4th. 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. For example, if you have a C7 chord you’d substitute it with a Gb7 chord. 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. This is a question I get asked all the time!Â The answer is actually fairly simple. Minedit is a PDF Search Engine. 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. Once officially launched, Minedit will be one of the largest encyclopedia offering guides, tips, how-toâs and definitions in all niches and specialties. 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. Because while the root and the 5th notes are missing, or even substitute for its tritone equivalent, really the color and function of the 3rd and b7th notes still function and exist. The reason a tritone substitution works harmonically, and the reason one can easily be swapped for another, is that dominant 7th chords that are a tritone apart share the same tritone notes within the chords themselves. Tritone substitutions are also knows as substitute dominants or sub 5’s so be aware that these 3 terms refer to the same thing. He is currently working as a film composer and writing a book on film music. 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. 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. Tritone substitution is a popular term that gets thrown a lot in music, especially jazz music when it comes to reharmonizing the chords and harmony in jazz standards and often times big band arrangements. With that being said, if you’ve tried the tritone substitution, feel free to let us know in the comment section down below what you thought of it. So a G7 would become a D♭7 (the root note is a tritone away). Tritone substitutions refer to changing a dominant chord for another dominant chord a tritone away. I’m Dan and I run this website. A tritone is the distance between the root and the #4. 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. Now, let’s talk a step back and look at the tritone substitution chords in question. So, C to F# is a tritone. 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 3rd note and the b7th note of both chords are inverted and being shared in commonality! © Hello Music Theory 2020 | All rights reserved | Sitemap. What is the 3rd in G7 is the b7th in Db7, and what is the b7th in G7 is the 3rd in Db7. 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. This would again give the downward semitone motion between bar 4-5. Years ago you could get banned from the church for even playing a tritone due to its very “harsh” or dissonant sound. A tritone is an interval of an augmented fourth or diminished (flatted) fifth (three whole steps). ex 8b: Derivation of tritone (flat five) substitution. This post takes a look at one of those rule bending or breaking situations – the Tritone Substitution. A tritone substitution would occur in bar 4, when the I7 chord is about to transition to the IV7 chord, changing that I7 chord to a bV7 chord. It can be used to create a descending bass line in a II – V – I progression. Let’s dissect things a little further shall we! One of the most widely-known examples of this is the ending of Schubert’s “String Quintet in C Maj”. In order for us to understand why a tritone substitution works as a technique in general, it’s important to know and understand what is going on theory wise. But once you understand the interval relation in that substitution, you can expand that concept to other vertical structures as well. ... and with the correct resolution of the true tritones this desire is totally satisfied. Beyond the old 12-bar "standard" Blues chord progression, many Blues and Jazz players have written Blues songs with incredibly complicated chord changes. Tritone Substitution is a reharmonisation technique that can be used to add harmonic interest and variety to a chord progression. A typical 12-bar blues progression looks like this: I7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ IV7 ⇨ IV7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ V7 ⇨ IV7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ I7. The tritone substitution is replacing a dominant 7 th chord with the chord a b5 or tritone above the chord in content. A tritone substitution is the process of replacing (or substituting) one dominant chord with another dominant chord a tritone away. Music theory as a whole is a very large topic, and it can be used to create some really interesting sounds and colors in a piece of music. This is exactly what I was looking for!! [image url="wp-content/themes/buddy/lib/images/footer-image.png" link="#" width="182" height="124" crop="false" align="aligncenter"], Pentatonic Scale | Everything There Is To Know, The Hexatonic Scale | Everything There Is To Know. We simply can’t! A tritone substitution really is a reharmonization technique. iii Replaces the I. 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 . Chord progression without tritone substitution.This is a very common chord progression, and the V7 ⇨ I is a common cadence (ending) to the progression.. For example, above we said that D – G# forms a tritone, and Bb – E as well. That is the golden rule! These are things to think about as a player and even more so as a composer or arranger. We’re about to apply that right now! Consider a “ii-V-I” progression in the key of C major (Dmin7 – G7 – Cmaj7). Why does that work? In E Major, for example, the 4th is A and the 7th is D#, and A ⇨ D# is a tritone. So, the note G is a tritone away from the note Db, and so we can use the Db7 chord as a tritone substitution. Your email address will not be published. My advice as a professional musician is that you don’t over use this technique, but if you have to play around with the rhythmic value and length of the chords. It’s important to remember that part. Minedit is a social online encyclopedia, which is currently in its beta stage. 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. For example : playing Db7 over G7. The Tritone The tritone is an interval. 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. The notes C – F# form a tritone themselves, so the two chords share a pair of notes that form a tritone. In the theory of harmony it is known that a diminished interval needs to be resolved inwards, and an augmented interval outwards. In fact, the name “tri”tone comes from the fact that it is an interval made by combining 3 whole tones. For example, if we had an F7 chord, we could replace that chord with a dominant chord a tritone away. Who said Blues music is "simple"? Let’s take G7 as a V chord. Let’s say we don’t use the 7th anymore. Tommaso Zillio. First, however, let’s go over what a tritone is. You can omit the root and omit the 5th, and the color and function of the chord would still exist because of the 3rd and the 7th being available. This is because Jazz is more fluid and relaxed in terms of function rules, and more about color and feeling than classical music. The tritone substitution, or sometimes know as the b5 sub, is a very common substitution. So this lesson will deal with how to play and use it and what is the of. At the tritone substitution is the ending of Schubert ’ s reverse the for. We could replace that chord with another chord whose root is a tritone ( flat five ) substitution, tritone... Video I am going to show you one of the most widely-known examples of tritone ( augmented fourth diminished. 10 Important Composers of the `` scariest '' Substitutions: the so-called tritone... Of harmony it is theoretically Composers of what is a tritone substitution `` scariest '' Substitutions: the so-called tritone. 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