Exploring the power of three, Colonel Iain Scott goes ‘far out’ with a look at tritone substitution. Be prepared to put your thinking caps on for this one!
Iain Scott explores the power of three with a look at tritone substitution.
Tritone substitution is a harmonic technique that can be used to creatively modify chord progressions, either when playing rhythm guitar behind a soloist, for creative substitution in a chord melody arrangement, or as a basis for improvisation. The ‘tritone’ is the distance between two notes that are three tones (two semitones or two frets)
C-D-E-Gb, apart. So, in the run ofb notes, the distance between C-G is a tritone. This may not seem too exciting so far, but wait until we apply this harmony to Dominant 7th chords. Initially, there doesn’t seem to be much
aGnUdIaTADRb7 connection between a G7 cThEoCrdH,NbIuQtUES on closer inspection you will see that they share two very important notes, the 3rd (B) and the (F) and, interestingly, these swap over between the two chords: G7 (R-3-5- 7) = G-B-D-F
‘changed’4to D 7 (R-3-5- 7) = D -F-A -B If both chords are then dominan¢t 7 5 chords then they become identical: G7 5 (R-3- 5- 7) = G-B-D -F D 7 5 (R-3- 5- 7) = D -F-G-B
Jazz musicians have deveTlroitpoendethSeutbrsittoitnuetion concept to include the harmony of Melodic Minor, Diminished, Augmented and Harmonic Minor scales or sounds. This is a vast aGr7ea that will require a lot of space to cover, but here are a couple of examples to start you off. These are simple ‘root changeover’ situations but you can also move the top notes™for
different voice-leading set-ups. There’Ss a lot toSle3arn, so please experiment.