Chord Substitutions

Last night I was preparing for a group set and I got pretty bored with the sounds I was making. I wasn’t feeling particularly smart or creative so I reached out to the internet for some advice. I really liked these articles:

  • Chord Substitution – simple trick to keep up your sleeve, simply substitute in the minor-7 relative chord. E.g. instead of C, play Am7. It will sound good since it contains the C chord anyways.
  • Tritone Chord Substitution – another simple trick to keep up your sleeve, simply substitute in (or follow) the chord with root 1 tritone away. E.g. instead of G7, play D-flat7. Works best with dominant chords.

The tritone idea really got me excited. It has that complex coolness that you hear in gospel church vamping music that I’ve always wanted to figure out but never quite got the hang of. I initially had issue visualizing where the tritone-away chord is. The trick I learned is to see/feel where the fifth is (my hand already knows the fifth interval.. I can see it too from any note) and then grab the key directly lower (one half step lower; the tritone is a diminished 5th interval) and use that as the root.


Free Music Theory

Free Music Theory

I haven’t watched these videos yet, but there’s always something to learn from someone speaking about music! (Mostly I’m just bookmarking this for later)

Udemy is a very cool concept – seemingly more serious than podcasts and similar models for online teaching.


Update 4/29: I’m about halfway through the series. I’m watching it just to gain insight on how to teach theory and to determine whether or not his structure and explanations make sense, or if I can possibly improve upon it. I’ve got a few good visual aides out of it! Anyways, I do recommend the course! A long time ago I came across the same guy on youTube and “fell in love” with the guy – he’s such a goof but clearly knows his stuff and has a big heart for teaching. It’s endearing.