~ chord substitution ~

' yes, we can get there from here ... '

~ in a nutshell / the basis ~

~ the seven diatonic steps ~

~ motion to Four / motion to One ~

~ diatonic chord inversions ~

~ between the seven diatonic steps ~

~ passing diminished chords ~

~ raise and lower 1 pitch at a time ~

~ half diminished / V7b9 ~

~ all chords eventually become V 7~

~ melodic minor / V7 ~

~ pentatonic five by five by 12 ~

~ that's it :)

:)

In a nutshell.

' ... Substitution is the art of swaping one of something for another one of something'

jazz it up

When true and agreed that 'variety is spice of life', then chord substitution is a spice for our musics.

For in our studies here as we'll soon see, we get to organically pursue how one chord becomes another. In doing so they becomes substitutions for one another, 'working' the same ways, and in the same spots, in our songs. So a chance for something new, something of a bit different of hue, and thus a new path to coolness.

We're searching here, using the basic of theory to 'shift' the pitches around just enough for new, looking for ways to jazz up the same old same old. Yet still keep enough of the 'same old same old' to keep things comfortable.

Along the way we expand our palettes with new chords, new shapes, passing tones / motions, using all of the colors of our rainbow of sounds. And just maybe, that long sought puzzle piece for our masterpiece :)

working / chord function
jazz it up
color palettes
composing puzzles

Diatonic chords. Diatonic chord substitution is based on the shifting of the pitches of the diatonic arpeggio. We decide how many pitches we need and begin our search. Examine the following chart. Example 1.

scale # degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
C major scale
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
arpeggio # degrees
1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
C major arpeggio
C
E
G
B
D
F
A
C
chord # / quality
Imaj7
ii-7
iii-7
IVmaj7
V7
vi-7
vii-7b5
VIII
diatonic 7th chords
CEGB
DFAC
EGBD
FACE
GBDF
ACEG
BDFA
CEGB

Look familiar? Cool, yea, just the same old 'coffee chord spelling chart.' The bottom row holds the key to our 'substituiton universe.' Thinking 'C' major, here are the pitches in a two octave loop. Example 1a.

C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C E ...

A one pitch move. Thinking of a song in 'C' major, what chord needs a subbing ? And why? Well, how about subbing for an extended measures of a One chord when moving to Four. And to give some variety to the line. Use triads first ? OK. Extracting the diatonic triad pitches from the arpeggio loop. Example 1b.

C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C ... loop

One / C E G

shifting the arpeggio pitches one to the right becomes

E G B ( iii )

or one pitch to the left

A C E ( vi )

same process with a 7th ? sure

C E G B

becomes

E G B D

or

A C E G ...

A two pitch move. Thinking of a song in 'C' major, what chord needs a subbing ? And why? Well, how about subbing for an extended One chord when moving to Four. To give some variety to the line. Use triads first ? OK. Extracting the diatonic triad pitches from the arpeggio. Example 1b.

C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C E G ...

C E G

shifting the arpeggio pitches one to the right becomes

E G B (iii)

or one pitch to the left

A C E ( relative minor triad)

same process with a 7th

C E G B

becomes E G B D

or

A C E G

Look familiar? Cool, yea, just the same old 'coffee chord spelling chart.' The bottom row holds the key to our 'substituiton universe.' Here are the pitches. Example 1a.

C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C E G ...

Look familiar? Cool, yea, just the same old 'coffee chord spelling chart.' The bottom row holds the key to our 'substituiton universe.' Here are the pitches. Example 1a.

C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C E G ...

Look familiar? Cool, yea, just the same old 'coffee chord spelling chart.' The bottom row holds the key to our 'substituiton universe.' Here are the pitches. Example 1a.

C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C E G B D F A C E G ...

 

A bit of improv history. In the jazz styles, which at one time was America's popular or 'pop' music, the historical role of improvisation is quite varied. Initially evolving from the often fully written out 'ragtime' works of the 1880's, of which we have scores and piano rolls for today, we see the emergence of the collective group improv of the dixieland styles of 1900. As things evolved over the next decade or so, from within this group format, we evolve to the featured soloist backed up by a rhythm section. We see this on into the 1920's or so and forward from there, as new 'stars' emerge and the recording business and making records takes off.

Once here, we then begin see the rise of the individual 'star of the show', headlining the bill. Louis Armstrong is among the first of these stars, and leading by example, set the standard for fronting a band, very often as a singer / interpreter of the words of a song followed by an improvised solo based closely on the melody. Backed by various rhythm section combinations, this format helps found our improvisatory Americana version of stating a theme (melody of the song) and then creating variations of it. What starts out as working over a melody will gradually come to include working out ideas from the overall form and harmonic structure of the chosen song. And from the one soloist format to multiple soloists from within the group; horns, bass drums etc.

“You fear the least what you know the most about.”

about 5700 words

"It always seems impossible until it's done."
wiki ~ Nelson Mandela