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  • Chris Martin 1:07AM

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Chord substitution problems

It seems that some substitions only work on specific chords of the same type. Here's an example of what I mean: I've been playing around with a minor 6 a tone below dominant chords eg Fm6 over G7. The thing is if you apply this to all the other dominant chords in the tune it doesn't work. It only sounds good over the chord V dominant of the key eg in the key of C this is G7. When this substitution is taught this is never explained!

I still also find myself scratching my head over the best way to navigate through the last 8 of many tunes. Does anyone know a good book that clearly outlines the substitutions in our style. How they work, why the work and without muddling it with a load of complicated stuff I'll never want to use like altered scales, modes and convoluted chord extensions. I understand that there are many approaches. For me it would be great if someone took several approaches in turn, teaching all the tricks and explaining the pros and cons of each way.

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Comments

  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Stringphonic FV Brazilian
    Posts: 79

    I started writing a bit of an essay, but then realized this is something you've been working through for awhile, based on your thread here: https://www.djangobooks.com/forum/discussion/17436/simplifying-changes/p1

    Nothing new I can add that isn't already stated in that thread. I'll just reiterate: get a teacher. Someone who's style you gel with and can give you the answers you're looking for - so you'll likely have to shop around. It's absolutely worth the money in the short term as learning theory is easy... applying it is hard.

    billyshakesrudolfo.christDjangheureux
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited November 2020 Posts: 1,156

    That particular substitution is like 2-5-1 (e.g. Fm6 G7 Cm is another spelling of Dm7b5 G7 Cm). I wouldn't go so far as to say it only works over the V chord, but perhaps it works easily there because the sound is so familiar as a 2-5 thing and our ears are used to hearing that in a cadence? I'll use it on Caravan (A section) a lot.

    I think it should probably fit anywhere that using a b9 color on the dominant chord would work. Especially tunes in minor keys have the m7b5 sound for the 2-chord, but some tunes in major keys also use it to good effect (e.g. Don't worry bout me)

    billyshakesDjangheureuxTwang
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,007
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited November 2020 Posts: 1,538

    You can use Em7b5 as a nice passing chord if you’re going from C to A7...

    ... or go on a little Bm7b5 detour on the road between C and E7...

    and even after you reach the dominant chord, you can still refer back to some of those lovely minor tonality notes to be found in the m7b5 chord...

    Trust me, keep at it and you will find this a useful little trick... though, of course, to be used with moderation ...


    Will

    Wim GlennTwang
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."
  • @Twang I am still learning also, but over C with G7 as the fifth, these Minor 6ths would work:

    1. Fm6 (from the 7th, as you discovered, altered sound)
    2. Gm6 (from the 5th, this is the first one I discovered from Mr. Wrembel and used)
    3. Dm6 (from the 9, the V-of-V)
    Twang
  • edited November 2020 Posts: 10

    to me there are two basic kinds of Dominant Chords:

    1. straight G7 coming from C Major, light sounding, use Dm6
    2. modified G7 coming from C Minor, dark sounding, use Abm6

    Fm6 over G will sound like a Subdominant coming from C Minor which is, Tadaa, Fm6! Since you ignore the leading Note b of G7 you take away a lot of the function of the chord, which doesn't easily apply to every Dominant, although it is possible!

    When i have to decide which one to use i chose the one who is nearer to the Key of the Tune most of the Time. Also it is important where the Dominant resolves!

    You do have a lot of more Options (Colours) when it comes to Scales...

    Yes, when it comes to Music Theory, there are a lot of confusing Words, but that also may be true for a Writer describing a sunny Afternoon at the Beach (a Book about Music Theory is more like a Dictionary)...

    still there only three basic Functions (Feelings) for me:

    1. The Root (C Major/ Minor plus Relatives) is HOME!
    2. Subdominant (F Major/ Minor plus Relatives) ON THE WAY...
    3. Dominant (G7 Major plus Relatives) HOMESICK!

    Of course like in a good Story it's not always easy to tell which is which, especially in Gypsy Jazz, especially in the unpredictable great way Django plays!

    billyshakesTwangBuco
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited November 2020 Posts: 1,538

    “Home”... “on the way”... “homesick”... love it!

    I’ve always felt like the tonic is “sitting up straight”...

    ...the subdom is “leaning forward”..

    ... and the dom is “leaning backwards”...

    DjangheureuxBuco
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."
  • TwangTwang New
    edited November 2020 Posts: 235

    @ChristopheCarington This is good advice regarding a teacher. I realise I keeping harping on about this,sorry.

    Thanks everyone for the helpful comments

  • edited November 2020 Posts: 3,009

    Power to you man, I have a hard enough time keeping it straight and keeping up let alone think about the substitutions.

    Although, I did go over Duved's course on Soundslice a few months ago and this time minor IV over the V finally clicked musically for me. That and the diminished over the major root. But not to the point of becoming a second nature, more shedding needed.

    TwangBones
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Bill Da Costa WilliamsBill Da Costa Williams Barreiro, Portugal✭✭✭ Mateos
    Posts: 309

    @Twang I have found Christiaan van Hemert's system useful for this.

    Its based around minor 6 arpeggios and although it isn't presented as chord substitutions (or any theory as such) - just 3 positions on the neck where a min 6 arpeggio/phrase can sound good over a dominant 7 in a II V I cadence. Then, as you suggest above, your ears can guide you as to which ones sound best in a particular context.

    Check from 4.30 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNeizeKtm20&t=609s

    Twang
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