This doesn’t mean you can’t substitute other chord qualities, but a dominant 7 is most often the chord being used to replace. I’m Dan and I run this website. 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. 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. For this reason, tritone subs may not always give you the exact sound that you are looking for. 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 the distance between the root and the #4. Another common usage is in a 12-bar blues progression. This lesson will explain what tritone substitution is, why it works and how to apply it to a major 251 progression. Thus, the VI7 chord is “V7 of II”, II7 is “V7 of V”, etc. Required fields are marked *. 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. An interval is a distance between two points. Minedit is a PDF Search Engine. 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. Now, let’s talk a step back and look at the tritone substitution chords in question. Required fields are marked *. Thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions get in touch! For example, in the … Your email address will not be published. This post takes a look at one of those rule bending or breaking situations – the Tritone Substitution. 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 notes C – F# form a tritone themselves, so the two chords share a pair of notes that form a tritone. 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. Blues Progressions And Tritone Substitutions. 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. For example, above we said that D – G# forms a tritone, and Bb – E as well. 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. Minedit itself does not host any PDF files and only redirects to other sites that host PDFs. This is a question I get asked all the time!Â The answer is actually fairly simple. 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. A tritone substitution really is a reharmonization technique. Thanks so much for this! 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). 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. 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. 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. Db7 is then the tritone substitute for the G7. 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. The tritone substitution is a common technique used in Jazz Theory to add some color to a dominant seventh chord. 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. We simply can’t! It has a lot of rules, but the main rule above all is that any rule can be broken in service of the music. Now, what does the tritone substitution refer to?Remember talking about the tritone interval earlier? It’s tough! Guitar Technique, Guest Columnists. One of the most common Chord Substitutions in Jazz is the Tritone Substitution.This is a way of substituting V7 chords. Consider a “ii-V-I” progression in the key of C major (Dmin7 – G7 – Cmaj7). 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. 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. Now, let’s have a look at what our tritone substitution entails. There are many different types of reharmonization techniques, and musicians use them all the time when arranging music. A tritone is an interval of 6 semitones (half steps), or 3 whole tones (whole steps). So let’s plug in some variables. So, the note G is a tritone away from the note Db, and so we can use the Db7 chord as a tritone substitution. Well, how are we able to say if we’re dealing with a major 7, minor 7, minor major or dominant chord? 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. Let’s say for a minute that we are in the key of C major. Welcome to Hello Music Theory! Tritone substitutions are the most difficult to understand because they are "rule-breakers" when it comes to common tones. Tritone substitution is the substitution of one chord (almost always a dominant 7th of some sort) for one with a root a tritone away. 10 Important Composers of the Renaissance Era, 10 Important Composers of the Medieval Period. I really appreciate this! Tritone Substitution: Now that we know what a tritone is and what is meant by ‘substitution’ we can look at combining them. For example, if we had an F7 chord, we could replace that chord with a dominant chord a tritone away. December-January 2014. Samuel Chase has been playing music since he was 5 years old, and teaching music since he was 13. A tritone substitution is the process of replacing one dominant 7th chord with another dominant 7th chord located a tritone away from the original. iii Replaces the I. They also share the note C, because B# is enharmonically equivalent to C (this means they are the same note, just written differently). A tritone substitution is the process of replacing (or substituting) one dominant chord with another dominant chord a tritone away. Why does that work? We can therefore write this tritone sub as a bII7 chord. 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 . There are examples of Tritone Substitutions in classical music. 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 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. Tritone Substitution is usually applied to a Dominant 7 chord. In a natural minor scale (also called the Aeolian mode), the tritone … The same works for going down as well (for example, Bb ⇨ E 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. I never really understood tritone substitution, but now I do! That’s because Gb is 6 half steps higher than a C. 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. 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. 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. 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 3rd note and the b7th note of both chords are inverted and being shared in commonality! Minedit is a social online encyclopedia, which is currently in its beta stage. The tritone substitution is one of the most common chord and improvisation devices in jazz. It’s important to remember that part. Let’s dissect things a little further shall we! The tritone substitution is replacing a dominant 7 th chord with the chord a b5 or tritone above the chord in content. 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. Your email address will not be published. A tritone is a distance of 3 whole steps. 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. Download my free eBook with all my favourite music theory resources. 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. It does sometimes cause a little confusion so this lesson will deal with how to play and use it and what it is theoretically. 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. ex 8b: Derivation of tritone (flat five) substitution. Tritone Substitution is a reharmonisation technique that can be used to add harmonic interest and variety to a chord progression. He has a PhD in Music from the University of Surrey, and he has composed music that has been played in three different countries. Tritone substitutions refer to changing a dominant chord for another dominant chord a tritone away. 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. We measure distance on the piano in intervals. I think the best way to explain what this type of reharm actually is and does, is by giving you a simple example. But once you understand the interval relation in that substitution, you can expand that concept to other vertical structures as well. 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. 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. In jazz, you will often see the iii chord replacing the I chord. 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. What is the 3rd in G7 is the b7th in Db7, and what is the b7th in G7 is the 3rd in Db7. What Is a Tritone Substitution? In fact, in every Major scale, the 4th note and the 7th note will form a tritone, and specifically an augmented 4th. 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. 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. For example, above we said that D – G# forms a tritone, and Bb – E as well. 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 Tritone substitution is a very cool jazz chord substitution. 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. A tritone is an interval made up of three tones, or six semitones. That may sound a bit confusing, but we’ll be demonstrating the use of tritone substitution slowly with a variety of examples. The Tritone The tritone is an interval. 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. 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. 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. 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! Example: G7 is replaced by Db7. 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. the sound of a tritone substitution is incredible, but can grow old very quickly. Your email address will not be published. Who said Blues music is "simple"? Let’s say we don’t use the 7th anymore. The tritone substitution, or sometimes know as the b5 sub, is a very common substitution. He is currently working as a film composer and writing a book on film music. Tritone substitutions are also knows as substitute dominants or sub 5’s so be aware that these 3 terms refer to the same thing. There are even musicians (often times piano players) who have taken a liking to the world of reharmonizing and autom… This would again give the downward semitone motion between bar 4-5. Let’s take G7 as a V chord. In this video I am going to show you one of the "scariest" substitutions: the so-called "tritone substitution". A tritone is an interval of an augmented fourth or diminished (flatted) fifth (three whole steps). That is the golden rule! Well, how are we able to say if the chord is major or minor? 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. So, C to F# is a tritone. Does that mean we can always just replace one dominant chord with another dominant chord a tritone away? Tritone Substitution: The use of a chord three whole steps away to replace (or follow) the original chord. 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. A typical 12-bar blues progression looks like this: I7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ IV7 ⇨ IV7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ V7 ⇨ IV7 ⇨ I7 ⇨ I7. First, however, let’s go over what a tritone is. 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. For example : playing Db7 over G7. Tommaso Zillio. This is because Jazz is more fluid and relaxed in terms of function rules, and more about color and feeling than classical music. Remember talking about the tritone interval? For instance, you could substitute Db7 for G7 because Db is a … 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. You can also use the tritone sub for other chords in a progression. Db7 has the notes Db, F, Ab and B. Do you want it to be more of an effect or more of a legitimate chord for a full duration? The greats know how the substitution looks on the fretboard, and apply it straight there. Your email address will not be published. A tritone substitution occurs whenever a chord is being substituted or replaced by another chord with a root a tritone interval away. 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. 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. This is exactly what I was looking for!! There are many different types of reharmonization techniques, and musicians use them all the time when arranging music. In the theory of harmony it is known that a diminished interval needs to be resolved inwards, and an augmented interval outwards. The tritone substitution is a dominant, or secondary dominant 7th chord whose root is a … 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. It can be used to create a descending bass line in a II – V – I progression. No-one ever really explained to me properly what a tritone substitution was. 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 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, 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. Beyond the old 12-bar "standard" Blues chord progression, many Blues and Jazz players have written Blues songs with incredibly complicated chord changes. Chord progression without tritone substitution.This is a very common chord progression, and the V7 ⇨ I is a common cadence (ending) to the progression.. A tritone substitution is the substitution of a dominant seventh chord with another chord whose root is a tritone (augmented fourth) lower. As you can see right away, they share the note F#. © Hello Music Theory 2020 | All rights reserved | Sitemap. We’re about to apply that right now! Tritone in C major. Let’s have a look at what notes are actually in the chord G7. That, is why the tritone substitution works. As you will see i a moment, this is incredibly easy to do. ... and with the correct resolution of the true tritones this desire is totally satisfied. 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. Attention: Intervals are the building block of chords. Really, that’s where the color and tension are created, no matter what voicing you use as a piano player. Do things in the right order and you stand a lot better chance of understanding it. What is a tritone substitution, how do you use it, and what is its function? Introduction. Thanks so much for this! 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. We’re only talking about dominant 7th chords, not major or minor chords. These are things to think about as a player and even more so as a composer or arranger. In E Major, for example, the 4th is A and the 7th is D#, and A ⇨ D# is a tritone. 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. What exactly is a … If you’re still wondering how we got Db as an augmented fourth interval below G, then you need to 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. Years ago you could get banned from the church for even playing a tritone due to its very “harsh” or dissonant sound. That’s why those 3rd and 7th notes are most important. A tritone substitution really is a reharmonization technique. It’s often used in a II V I progression. I'll show you how we actually can alter some of these common tones in the video … For example, if you have a C7 chord you’d substitute it with a Gb7 chord. Db7 has a root 3 whole steps from the root of the G7 chord. 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. How long do you want the tritone substitution to last? In fact, the name “tri”tone comes from the fact that it is an interval made by combining 3 whole tones. 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. Chords in progressions are typically represented by a number, which is the scale degree that the chord is built upon in that specific key. [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. So a G7 would become a D♭7 (the root note is a tritone away). Once officially launched, Minedit will be one of the largest encyclopedia offering guides, tips, how-toâs and definitions in all niches and specialties. Let’s say we do not have a 3rd anymore. 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. In practice, a tritone sub in jazz is most commonly a dominant 7 chord. One of the most widely-known examples of this is the ending of Schubert’s “String Quintet in C Maj”. Well, let’s reverse the roles for a second. 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. 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