Tritone Substitutions and 2-5-1 progs


bunmiadefisayo
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bunmiadefisayo
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10/23/2007 3:41 pm
I had a question on this. Someone was explaining to me what the tritone sub was in jazz. Apparently its substituting the V7 for another dominant 7th three whole tones above the V7.

My questions are;

- does this mean that instead of playing the V7, i should just go up three whole tones and use that instead? In what cases can i actually do this, only in the context of a II-V-I progression?

- I was messing around with the keyboard and i was playing something in C#. When moving from the V to the V, my finger hit C# right before i went to the IV so it sounded like another 2-5-1 in the key of F# (which is actually the IV of C#). What is the theory behind this. It sounded really good and what chord do i use as a passing tone btw the V and IV if i do this.

I know it may be a bit confusing. I am at work and i had to get the answer before heading back home. :D
# 1
equator
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equator
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10/23/2007 4:56 pm
The Tritone Substitution is also referred to as the “Flat Five Substitution”.
When Reharmonizing, ( Substituting chords ) a Dominant chord can be replaced with another whose root is a Tritone away.
By using this substitution, you change the ii - V7 - I cadence; to ii - bII7 - I.
Let’s take for example the key of C.
…Dm - G7 - C… becomes: …Dm - Db7 - C

You’ll find that the more accurate symbols for the bII7 are:
Sub V7/I.
SV7/I. (indicating that the V7 of I, is the chord being replaced.
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# 2
bunmiadefisayo
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bunmiadefisayo
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10/23/2007 5:17 pm
Thanks a lot but i was still wondering if it can only be used in the 2-5-1 context. Can i also use it in a 1-4-5 context? Will it sound right?
# 3
dvenetian
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dvenetian
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10/23/2007 5:19 pm
Tritone Sub. is used in some cases to create chromatic Root movement in the progression.
Your example using ii-V-I for instance, if the progression were in C Major would be as follows. Dm7-G7-Cmaj7. If we took the V7 and reviewed the notes in the chord, it would be; G-B-D-F....To substitute the tritone, we would need to move three whole steps in the direction that will match to substitute with it. From G7 the three whole steps give the Db7.
Db7 = Db-F-Ab-B. Now both chords share the same tritone (F-B), only inverted. The 3rd and b7 switched.
Now the progression is; Dm7-Db7-Cmaj7....and creates a downward movement with the Root notes. It also reinforces the 3rd and b7th of the chords downward as well (Dm7= F-C....Db7= F-B........Cmaj7= E-B).
Sorry I don't understand the other portion completely. You mention that F# is the IV of C#. Just in case it may help, C# is also the V of F#.
# 4
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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10/23/2007 5:52 pm
Originally Posted by: bunmiadefisayodoes this mean that instead of playing the V7, i should just go up three whole tones and use that instead?[/QUOTE]
You can play the tritone sub instead of the V7, or as well as the V7. Right before it or after, then move to the I. Art Tatum was a genius at using this technique.
Originally Posted by: bunmiadefisayoIn what cases can i actually do this, only in the context of a II-V-I progression?[/QUOTE]
No, you can do before any chord you want to prepare for it's arrival. It's really a question of voice leading. Both equator and dvenetian gave you great examples and advice.
[QUOTE=bunmiadefisayo]I was messing around with the keyboard and i was playing something in C#. When moving from the V to the V ...

Can you please explain this again? "Moving from the V to the V" seems like a typo error.
[QUOTE=bunmiadefisayo] ..., my finger hit C# right before i went to the IV so it sounded like another 2-5-1 in the key of F# (which is actually the IV of C#). What is the theory behind this. It sounded really good and what chord do i use as a passing tone btw the V and IV if i do this.

As dvenetian points out the C# is the V of F#, so it could have a solid sounding voice leading preparation effect.

This is the reason that so often the IV chord is preceeded by the I chord made into a dom7 chord. In jazz and blues the I either already is or gets changed to I7 so it really functions as the temporary V7 of the IV chord.

Example: A major (I) --> A7 (I7) (viewed as V7 of IV) --> D (IV)

This technique originated in the voice leading techniques of vast majority of classical music. If you study how the classical masters used the resolution of any 7th chords (especially in a cycle 5 motion) you can see lots of great examples of what dvenetian mentioned in following the voices as they move down through those chords.

There are also a number of explicit uses of Tritone Substitutions in Mozart and Beethoven. Typically, it was closely related to augmented 6th chords.
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# 5
bunmiadefisayo
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bunmiadefisayo
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10/23/2007 6:51 pm
Fantastic, thank you so much guys, now it is starting to make sense.

From all your answers, i should have actually asked about how to lead from one chord to the nest, that is, what are the different ways to "prepare" for the arrival of another chord. :). U've all given me answer to this plus a bit more.
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ZakJenkins
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ZakJenkins
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10/26/2007 1:07 am
There's a bunch of different ways to lead up to a chord change. Personally, I use a diminished chord to transfer a lot.

If I'm playing in C, for example, I'd play a Cmaj7, followed by a full diminished B. (Diatonically, in the key of C, B is normally a half diminished [1 b3 b5 b7], I use the full diminished to add some colour. [1 b3 b5 bb7])The B may sound a little off, so I bring it down to the next chord in the key, the vi, Am7.

Another way to emphasize a chord change is by adding some chomatic root walkdowns/ups. down if you're going lower, up if you're going higher.

Bm7 -> E7, I'd hit an Eb just before the E7, and it has a walking bassline feel.

Of course, if you're playing in a band, you might save that for the bassist.
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hunter1801
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hunter1801
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10/30/2007 3:48 am
It's like Im reading a whole other language :eek:
# 8
light487
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light487
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10/30/2007 8:26 am
There's a tutorial in Guitar World - November 2007 all about this.. well may be not ALL of it.. but some ideas and stuff.. Unfortunately I left the magazine at work today, so I'll try to remember to post something about it tomorrow when I have the magazine.. I'll just paraphrase the important bits from it..
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# 9
quickfingers
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quickfingers
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11/10/2007 7:39 pm
a french 6th chord is used to quickly get to the V chord.


basically, a II7b5, but on a piano you can see the voice leading and how it neatly 'walks' to the V7 chord.

so in A minor...

D#, F, A, B (F6 chord)

to

D, E, G#, B
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