One of the most common techniques in jazz reharmonization is the use of substitute chords, through a technique known as tritone substitution. In tritone substitution, a dominant chord is replaced by another dominant chord a tritone above its tonic. This technique is based on the fact that the third and seventh degrees of a dominant chord are enharmonically the same as the seventh and third degrees of the dominant chord a tritone away. For example, B and F, the third and seventh of a G7 chord, are enharmonic equivalents of C♭ and F, the seventh and third of a D♭7 chord. Since the tritone is a distinguishing feature of the sound of a dominant 7th chord, a D♭7 chord may thus replace G7.
Tritone substitution works very well on standards, because the chord progressions typically utilize the II - V - I progression and the circle of fifths. For example, a jazz standard using a chord progression of Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7 could easily be reharmonized to Dm7 - D♭7 - Cmaj7, (G7 is replaced with the dominant 7th chord a tritone away, D♭7). The new progression has a more contemporary sound, with chromatic bass motion and smooth voice leading in the upper parts.
Tritone substitution is also possible with major seventh chords, for example Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7 could become Dm7 - D♭maj7 - Cmaj7. Thad Jones sometimes uses this type of substitution in his big band writing.
As opposed to the classical approach to tonal harmony, in jazz there are only three functions: tonic, subdominant and dominant. Therefore, chords can also be substituted for congruent functions: for example, the second degree can be substituted for the fourth degree, the tonic can be substituted for the sixth/third degree and so on. The fourth degree in major may be substituted for a seventh chord to create a "bluesy" sound. In a progression going up a fourth, if the first chord is a minor seventh chord, it can also be substituted for a seventh chord; a relative second degree can also be added before it to create a ii-V-I turnaround. (A sole minor seventh or seventh chord can be perceived as a second degree or its dominant quality substitution, in which case a fifth may follow.) In the same progression, chord qualities are sometimes flexible: the ♭IImaj7 chord mentioned in the previous paragraph may get a preceding ♭VImaj7 chord instead of the relative II or its tritone substitution.
Combining the above techniques, the following progression:C | Am7 | Dm7 | G7 | C ||
can turn intoE7 A7 | Bbm7 Eb7 | D7 F7 | Abmaj7 Dbmaj7 | C ||
Other articles related to "chord substitution, chord substitutions, chord":
... In jazz, chord substitutions can be applied by composers, arrangers, or performers ... Composers may use chord substitutions when they are basing a new jazz tune on an existing chord progression from an old jazz standard or a song from a musical arrangers for a big band or jazz orchestra may use chord ... Jazz "comping" instruments (piano, guitar, organ, vibes) often use chord substitution to add harmonic interest to a jazz tune with slow harmonic change ...
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