~ chord substitution ~

~ diatonic theories ~

~ V7b9 ~

'... a continual basis for new in the Americana hue ...'

a nutshell / sourcing substitutions

an overview / why substitute

chord substitution by style

most common subsitutions

diatonic review ~ V 7

diatonic review ~ v 7

diatonic review ~ v 7

non - diatonic pitches

what the theory suggests ...

what the art allows ...

the evolution of G7

V7b9 / fully diminished 7th

melodic minor / Lydian flat 7

modern motions of today

 

diatonic / uses inversions ~ non-diatonic / from other key centers

by style

mostly done with V7
V7b9
anything from anywhere
delay or postpone resolution
melodic minor substitutions

.

Evolve Carney changes ... into Yardbird ... While we can probably find any chord somewhere through our full spectrum of musical styles, substituting one chord for another to open up new new pathways is a fairly straightforward process. What chord substitutions a theorist might find by sifting through the pitches and substitution theories another artist might pick up off a recording, and by investigating its origins, recreate the color in similar situations in other songs. So similar to 'quoting' melodies of one song in another but with harmonies and the various melodic potentials they bring. Both are ways to generate new ideas, both written out and improvised. Both increase our variety and own artistic challenges, while discovering cool ways to morph between various genres and styles.

quoting melodies
spectrum of musical style

In a nutshell. While we can probably find any chord somewhere through our full spectrum of musical styles, substituting one chord for another to open up new new pathways is a fairly straightforward process. What chord substitutions a theorist might find by sifting through the pitches and substitution theories another artist might pick up off a recording, and by investigating its origins, recreate the color in similar situations in other songs. So similar to 'quoting' melodies of one song in another but with harmonies and the various melodic potentials they bring. Both are ways to generate new ideas, both written out and improvised. Both increase our variety and own artistic challenges, while discovering cool ways to morph between various genres and styles.

quoting melodies
spectrum of musical style

Overview. Chord subsitution, in its most organic forms, is a diatonic shifting of the pitches of a key centers arpeggio. The root motion or bass notes of the chords and the storyline they create most often being the cuase for substitution. As a direct result of this process, we often end up streamlining the music, allowing for the brighter tempos. If we were to graph this out we'd see a gradual flattening out of the lines towards a chromatic shaping, probably our fastest pathway and the one with the least obsticles of key center, chord colors ect. Here termed the 'chromatic blur', many of today's modern players hang in this realm.

harmony
equal temper
scales

Diatonic substitution. A fair bit of this substitution is simply done by sliding through our diatonic arpeggio pitches looking for coolness. Chord inversions and the different color tones for each chord come into play. Again we're just looking for new wys to advance our possible combinations. Working things out diatonically, with a set group of pitches, we stay within the compositional realm that creates most of the folk on through the pop styles and genres of musics.

chord inversions
color tones

The root motion of chords. A fair bit of this diatonic substitution creates passing chords that fill in a bit between out common chord progresssions.

first inversion betw
Four becomes two
the wayback machine

Common diatonic substitutions. This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

Major / minor swaps This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

Theory names: This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

The idea of 'valence.' Examine our first valence of four leading tones to four key centers. For sure let's include the full chord. Example 1

way into the whole tamale is created by thinking of the fully diminished 7th chord as a symmetrical group whose four pitches each are potential leading tones to four key centers. Eight actually as each resolving root can be major or minor. Diminished makes no distinction. And that three minor thids gets us to major 6, whole of the relative minor can also open up some new space.

valence
music notation

V7b9 ~ Four leading tones. A way into the whole tamale is created by thinking of the fully diminished 7th chord as a symmetrical group whose four pitches each are potential leading tones to four key centers. Eight actually as each resolving root can be major or minor. Diminished makes no distinction. And that three minor thirds gets us to major 6, whole of the relative minor can also open up some new space.

half step
music notation

Full diminshed ~ a perfect symmetry. As the fully diminished color is created exclusively with the interval of a minor third, its perfect symmetry opens up doors not fully available to its diatonic half diminished cousin. Advancing modernes moving in an improv and jazz direction, can use this bold color today just as so many have in the past; as a catalyst to create pathways for new challenges and explorations in their musics.

A one pitch change and voila. This next idea baselines a lot of the fully diminished 7th chords theory. Dig its evolutions as we alter the 7th. Example 6c.

lower any one note

.
ii -7b / minor keys; C, Eb, Gb, A
ii -7b5
raise any one note
.
1
-3
b5
-7
D -7b5
D
F
Ab
C
F -7b5
F
Ab
B(Cb)
Eb
Ab-7b5
Ab
B(Cb)
D(Ebb)
Gb
B -7b5
B
D
F
A
or
V7b9
V7 / major keys: C, Eb, G, A
.
.
lower any one note
V7
G
1
3
5
b7
.
B
Bb
D
F
Ab
Bb7
D
Db
F
Ab
B(Cb)
Db7
F
E
Ab(G#)
B
D
E7
Ab
G
B
D
F
G7
lower any one note
 

G 7b9 / fully diminished 7th chord pitches

B D F Ab

 
ii -7b5
raise any one note
.
lower any one note
V7
B -7b5
B
D
F
A
B
Bb
D
F
Ab
Bb7
D -7b5
D
F
Ab
C
D
Db
F
Ab
B(Cb)
Db7
F -7b5
F
Ab
B(Cb)
Eb
F
E
Ab(G#)
B
D
E7
Ab-7b5
Ab
B(Cb)
D(Ebb)
Gb
Ab
G
B
D
F
G7
 

G 7b9 / fully diminished 7th chord pitches

B D F Ab

 
ii -7b5
raise any one note
.
lower any one note
V7
.
ii -7b5 of C-, Eb-, Gb-, A-
V7b9
V7 of C, Eb, G, A major
.
.
1
-3
b5
-7
G
1
3
5
b7
.
B -7b5
B
D
F
A
B
G
B
D
F
G7
D -7b5
D
F
Ab
C
D
Bb
D
F
Ab
Bb7
F -7b5
F
Ab
B(Cb)
Eb
F
Db
F
Ab
B(Cb)
Db7
Ab-7b5
Ab
B(Cb)
D(Ebb)
Gb
Ab
E
Ab(G#)
B
D
E7

Diminished evolutions. Thanks to the closeness of these two diminished colors, we can evolve any of our fully diminished chord's four pitches into four half diminished chords simply by raising any one pitch of the arpeggio by half step. Note enharmonic spellings. Example 6d.

diminished 7th arpeggio
B
D
F
Ab
D -7b5
C
D
F
Ab
F -7b5
B (Cb)
Eb
F
Ab
Ab / G# -7b5
B (Cb)
D (Ebb)
F# (Gb)
Ab
B -7b5
B
D
F
A

Another evolution from the fully diminished 7th is by lowering any one of its pitches by half step to create V7. Examine these evolutions with letter name pitches. Example 6e.

diminished arpeggio
B
D
F
Ab
G7
B
D
F
G
Bb 7
Bb
D
F
Ab
Db7
B(Cb)
Db
F
Ab
E7
B
D
E
Ab(G#)

Just more theory magic. From the above charts did you notice that each of the four half diminished chords which evolved from the fully diminished neatly pair up with one of the four V7 chords into a the cool and common Two / Five cadential cell? And that the tritone sub / V7 chord for each -7b5 is available also? Here are the pairings. Example 6f.

ii-7b5
V7
D -7b5
G7
F -7b5
Bb 7
Ab / G# -7b5
Db7
B -7b5
E7

The diminished catalyst. The diminished colors end up having multiple resolving properties / leading tones found in our fully diminished seventh chords and related diminished scales, we use the theory to generate new ideas for chord progressions and melodic support.

In energizing this process, we examine what the diminished color is capable of doing and find new pathways to follow, then disguise its distinctive color by filtering it through various more diatonic sounding softening techniques, and yet still follow the pathways its theories has shown us. 'Sheets of sound'? Maybe.

 

 

 

A double tritone / V7b9 chords. In one swift, bold move, we can double the leading tone possibilities discussed with the tritone / V7 chord above simply by adding the flat Nine pitch. Thinking C major, examine the pitches of its dominant chord G7b9 and its two pairs of tritone pitches. Example 4.

spelling chords
arpeggio degree
1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
G7b9
G
B
D
F
Ab
.
.
.
1st tritone interval
.
B
.
F
.
.
.
.
2nd tritone interval
.
.
D
.
Ab
.
.
.

Where in the music. The V7b9 is a jazz color. On ocassion we hear it in pop music. And within the pop library, b9 is probably more often used in a minor key, as the b9 pitch is diatonic to the natural minor grouping of pitches, its effect can be said to be muted or softened in contrast to major. Examine the pitches of C natural minor / G7b9. Example 4a.

softening the sound
softening the sound
composers
C natural minor
C
D
Eb
F
G
Ab
Bb
C
G7b9 pitches
G
B
D
F
Ab
.
.
.

Major or minor. So the V7b9 color works as a cadential chord in both in the major and minor tonalities? Yes it sure can. While Flat Nine is diatonic in the harmonic minor grouping of pitches, we have to borrow the pitch to create the chord in the major key. Is there any concern with this? Nope. Welcome to the world of the altered dominant chords.

minor scales
altered dominants

So we borrow pitches all the time in creating the American sounds? Yep. Anytime there's a Blue hue in the scene, chances are it's borrowed. The idea of a diatonic exclusivity simply provides the essential perspective for we theorists who like to know the organic source of all things.

diatonic exclusivity
organic source

Desert Island flat nine shape. If I had to be on a desert island with just a trusty D'Angelico New Yorker with flat wounds, and only could have one b9 chord shape, it just might be this one. Surely the first one I learned when I finally needed one, Ted Greene might have quipped, "quite a solid little chunk of harmony." It's just one of those movable chord voicings that works like every time, in a major or minor tonality. Example 4b.

Ted Greene
Chord Chemistry
fingerings
evolving b9 chords
G 7b9
one fingering

Know this chord shape? Cool. Oddly enough we call this critter an incomplete dominant 7th chord. It's incomplete in that it has no fifth in its voicing. Unsual? No. Happens all the time in lots of our chords. Examine the four pitches included in the chord shape just above. Example 4c.

arpeggio degrees
1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
V7 arpeggio pitches
G
B
D
F
A
C
E
G
V 7b9 pitches
G
B
?
F
Ab
.
.
.

No 5th. Oh well, we can always add one in right? When we do add a perfect 5th interval into this V7b9 chord's pitches, and that's next, the theory, and of course consequently all of its artistic potential in all things dominant, i.e., V, V7, V7b9 / #9 / b5 / #11 / 13 / b13 / sus 4 / and their mix and match substitutions, all advance dramatically.

dominant color tones
mix and match

Adding the 5th. Examine the following pitches as we add in the perfect 5th. Example 4d.

arpeggio degrees
1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
G7 arpeggio pitches
G
B
D
F
A
C
E
G
G 7b9 pitches
G
B
D
F
Ab
.
.
.

Easy do. Now with the addition of the 5th we create a symmetrical arpeggio within our G 7b9 chord whose pitches are a minor third apart. Symmetrical in this context simply means we use only one interval to build the chord, all the chord's intervals are the same, thus symmetrical. This stacking of four pitches by minor third interval we consistently term a fully diminished 7th chord. Example 4e.

G 7b9 pitches
G
B
D
F
Ab
G 7b9
fully diminished 7th chord
finger solution

Fully diminished 7th chord / a circle in the chord symbol. So it turns out that in the upper part of the G7b9 chord we have a fully diminished 7th chord. Once we're cool with jettising the root pitch G, we can often leave that to the bass player, the perfectly symmetrical diminished color is capable of infinite hues of nuance and shading by filtering its organic properties through our various musical filters.

symmetrical chords
diminished 7th chords
musical filters

While its core shape and resulting sound can be a bit of a rough diamond initially, its potential when cut and polished is absolutely limitless and in experienced hands, flawless as well. Examine the pitches and sound and do note the circle symbol designating diminished in its chord symbol. Example 4f.

chord symbols

Perfect symmetry. The perfectly symmetry of the diminished structure initially gives us guitarists two core theory principles or techniques. First, is as above, so here below. Now each of the four pitches enjoy the leading tone magic, functioning as a leading tone to four major keys as in the following idea and four minor keys. Example 4g.

artistic techniques
diminished arpeggio pitches
Ab
B
D
F
resolves up to
A maj
C maj
Eb maj
Gb maj
diminished arpeggio pitches
Ab
B
D
F
resolves up to
A min
C min
Eb min
Gb min

Hear how strong the diminished sits in the minor tonality? That's the balance to the brightness of the major key. The Yin and Yang of all great art. Sense the softening of the resolving chords as we add the 7th and 9th colortones? It's almost as if the emotion / music style evolves right before our eyes. So really no surprise that our organic, diatonic source for the diminished color is from the harmonic minor group. Vanilla natural minor but with a leading tone.

organic source
harmonic minor

Leaps of minor thirds. So, secondly from above, that the diminished minor 3rd symmetry allows for all of our diminished chord shapes to be moved up or down every three frets, in minor thirds, and still retain the same core pitches, they just trade voices or places in the chord. Example 4h.

symmetrical chords
minor 3rd symmetry
mix and match
leaping in minor 3rds
.
up min 3rd
up a -3rd
up a min 3rd
soprano / diminished 7th
F
Ab
B
D
alto / diminished 5th
D
F
Ab
B
tenor / minor 3rd
B
D
F
Ab
bass / root
Ab
B
D
F

Three core diminished shapes. This last idea uses our three core diminished chord shapes or voicings. These three are the starting points for evolving the artistic nuance described just above. By simply having one solid shape for each of the bass strings, we can cover the entire range of the neck rather quickly when needed. Here are the three shapes. Example 4i.

evolving diminished chord shapes 1, 2 and 3

So where in the music? These diminished chords are big Jazz chord voicings, we'll see them all the time either written in or added as a substitute chord. From there we'll see and use the diminished colors less and less. Again the tritone interval is in Metal for sure. Once in a while in Pop and Rock. In the Blues, in more modern times it's not so apparent. In old time Blues we hear oftentimes as a common tone tonic chord. In Jazz blues as the substitute sharp Four / #4 dim 7 chord.

substitutions
old time blues
common tone tonic
sharp Four

Another double tritone / V7b5 chords. There is another common way we can bring a double tritone to the lower part of our dominant harmony. In this new color we retain the major 3 and blue 7 which together create the essential core tritone of V7 and add a second tritone by simply lowering the 5th of the chord by half step. This creates a tritone interval between our root pitch and our diminished 5th, opening up the "whole tone" universe. Examine the pitches and their sound. Example 5.

3 and 7
diminished 5th
whole tone universe
arpeggio degrees
1
3
b5
7
.
.
.
.
G 7b5 pitches
G
B
Db
F
.
.
.
.

So where in the music? Bossa Nova Cats dig this chord V7a lot. The last example is similar to Jobim's "Desafinado." It appears most often as an altered Two chord or as a colortone for Six. Jazz players of course find all sorts of places for this color. It is a common last chord in arrangements for a splash of dissonance. In more modern playing, Cats will use the lowered 5th on their tonic major 7th chord type, further reducing the center of tonal gravity of their tonic function chords. Jazz pianist Bill Evans is said to have loved this color.

Bossa Nova / Jobim
altered chords
endings
tonic major 7 b5
Bill Evans

Up an octave to #11. In thinking of our numerical designations that #4 = b5, which of course it does, we can simply expand this root / tritone pairing but moving the #4 / b5 up one octave in the arpeggio. Examine the pitches. Example 5a.

cadential motion
voice leading
tension / resolution
arpeggio degrees
1
3
5
7
9
#11
13
15
G 9 #11 pitches
G
B
D
F
A
C#
.
.

Colortone numbers. While the pitches / letter names remain the same, the numbers change based on where they live in the arpeggio. The reason our #4 / b5 is now # 11 is simply that it is an octave above the root pitch and when assuming such a lofty position in the arpeggio, there usually some combination of 7th and 9th below it to help support it. Example 5a.

cadential motion
voice leading
tension / resolution

Modern Latin vamp. This last idea is very common these days among Jazz players looking for extended solo sections with an almost static or non changing harmony. The voicing above, a true Dr. Miller Hollywood chord, easy phases back and fourth with the # 11 and Lydian based color. If we're skilled enough to make the bar lines go away in the Latin groove, this type of extended soloing just might go on for a couple of days while all dancers will rejoice :)

vamp
Dr. Miller
Hollywood chords
vanishing bar lines

Whole tone qualities. Well anytime we get three consecutive whole steps we gain the whole tone color potential. The wholetone grouping of pitches holds the same symmetrical properties as the diminished color. It has the multiple resolution to assigned tonics from one set group of pitches most commonly arranged as a chord, which also like the diminished shapes, can be moved as a constant structure by whole step, major third etc., all the while retaining core pitches and overall musical direction of the composition.

whole tone color
constant structure
tension / resolution

Whole tone resolving qualities. In examining our whole tone, double tritone V7b5 chord, we can easily fill in the rest of the pitches generated by the whole tone scale formula and create the complete whole tone scale. From this we can diatonically build our altered dominant chords and see the possible resolutions based on our Five / One cadential motion. Example 5b.

whole tone scale
constant structure
tension / resolution
arpeggio degrees
1
3
5
7
.
.
G 7b5 pitches
G
B
Db
F
.
.
G whole tone scale
G
A
B
Db
Eb
F
V7b5 chord pitches
GBDbF
AC#EbG
BD#FA
DbFGB
EbGADb
FABEb
V7b5 roots
G7b5
A7b5
B7b5
Db7b5
Eb7b5
F7b5
resolution keys
C / A-
D / B-
B7b5
Db7b5
Eb7b5
F7b5

To the minor key center. The b5 dominant color into the minor tonality can get pretty tangled up as the b5 is a half step above our tonic / root pitch. Note in the next idea that we briefly move up to the 9th before resolving to C minor. of the augmented / whole tone colors, the V7+5 is possibly more common into the minor tonality as the +5 is the Blue 3rd of our tonic. Example 5f.

cadential motion
voice leading
tension / resolution

A key diminished chord built on sharp Four. This penultimate entry in covering our sharp Four position within the local chromatic universe is a rather common event in the Blues when Jazz players get a hold of the 12 bar form. Turns out in the 6th bar the harmony begs to go to the #iv dim 7 chord. Really? Yep, very common with Jazz players. Just yet another way to accelerate the sense of forward motion while getting a wee bit more mileage out of the thing. Here are the basic changes, thinking C Blues. Example 6.

penultimate
12 bar blues

forward motion

changes

Taking it out. This last idea for sharp Four is quite common in certain circles, it's one of the "arrangements while you wait" type endings that players often will improvise together. It's cool in that we use the tonic pitch as a common tone to link all of the chords together in progression as we take it out. Thinking F major. Example 7.

arrangements
common tone

take it out

Wheel of tritones / cycle of fifths. The tritone interval enjoys a rather distinctive status on our wheel of pitches. It's curious how this shakes loose but it is what it is. Examine the location of our tritone intervals on our 12 pitch keyclock. Example 1b.

cycle of 5th's
keyclocks
tritone interval pitches
C
G
D
A
E
B
F#
Db
Ab
Eb
Bb
F
F# / Gb
Db
Ab
Eb
Bb
F
C
Gb
D
A
E
B

Really? Directly across the clock face? We can locate any pitch's tritone interval by locating the pitch directly across the circle? That is indeed the case mon ami. Crazy huh but very handy :) So knowing this, check this out. Example 1b.

WOW ! Now the compass points show us four key centers, each of which is the major / relative minor tonic of each other. I'll have to add this into the mix. This visualization of the major / minor key centers from within the cycle of fifth's is new for me. I just discovered this :) Do print and tack these two up for reference.

major / minor

So where is the tritone in our music. Well anytime we're grooving on anything with a hint of the Blues, chances are there's a tritone in the neighborhood. So in thinking of the American sounds, in a word, everywhere. Well, probably not in Children's songs of course, unless they're spooky Holloween tunes. In Folk, never ( did I just say that ... yet another first :) in the melody but always of course in any standard type of V7 / G7 / D7 chord etc. The Blues influence in any of the Rock styles of course needs the tritone pitch / interval.

musical styles

The Metalists love the tritone interval. It's all over their music and used to dramatic effect. In pop, again any V7 chord is going to have the tritone within. Rare in pop melodies, although one of America's favorite melodies from 1957 "Maria" is classic tritone color. For Jazz and beyond, like everything else we Jazz theorists can conjure, the tritone is a super catalyst for coolness, a building block to new horizons where it loses its demonic edge and becomes a key step in the stairway to the musical stars and beyond.

Maria

Where in history. Well history has not been overly kind to our tritone. Known at one point as the "Diablo de Musica", the big tritone players probably have had a bit of a rough go of it. Of course even early on, when encapsulated within within the V7 chord, the tritone has always been cool. Once the Blues took hold, the tritone found a home of its own and even as a melody note, has been a cherished member of the family.

Diablo de Musica
encapsulate
Blue notes

When the Jazz harmony started to evolve in the later 30's toward Bebop with Cat's like guitarist Charlie Christian working the magic, the diminished chord color and its organic "double tritone" opened up a new way to look at things. As Cats got hipper, V7b9 created a new way "out" in Jazz speak. Within twenty five years or so of Mr. Christian and his bandmate's work, John Coltrane wrote and released his masterwork "Giant Steps." A composition which even today sits as the crown jewel atop the theory / shedding challenges that Mr. Christian helped initiate and Mr. Coltrane developed and conquered.

Bebop
Charlie Christian
diminished chord
V7b9
John Coltrane
theory/shedding

Melodic minor proofs Examine our first valence of four leading tones to four key centers. For sure let's include the full chord. Example 1

way into the whole tamale is created by thinking of the fully diminished 7th chord as a symmetrical group whose four pitches each are potential leading tones to four key centers. Eight actually as each resolving root can be major or minor. Diminished makes no distinction. And that three minor thids gets us to major 6, whole of the relative minor can also open up some new space.

valence
music notation

Review. Perhaps needless to say the tritone has come quite a ways since its days as "the diablo of music." A core component in American Blues, which of course is at the root of all things American music, the tritone and its related activities plays an essential role in anything Blues and beyond. And while we'll find the dominant chord's inner tritone sounds in Folk music, any other use of its sound is simply not a part of the tradition.

Our tritone comes in two basic varieties. As a single note interval measured from another or as a two pitch, pre-made tritone, that we slip into existing structures. Our single pitch, octave splitter is the crucial pitch to evolve the Blues scale from its minor penatonic core. While the two pitch tritone evolves the major pentatonic grouping of pitches into the diatonic major / relative minor scales.

In our harmony, the tritone color creates the key aural tension that makes our dominant Five seven chord a dominant V7 chord. We'll find this basic chord generally within all of our American musical styles. From V7 forward, at least within the Jazz language, artists have added the tritone's symmetrical theory properties to their palette of techniques to continue their search for the myriad of nuanced ways to create the tension and release of their art.

"Even if your on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

wiki ~ Will Rogers.
1
#1
b2
2
b3
3
4
#4
b5
5
#5
b6
6
b7
7
8
b9
9
#9
-10
10
11
#11
12
b13
13
b14
14
15
#15
Footnotes:

Russell, George. The Lydian Chromatic Concept Of Tonal Organization. USA Concept Publishing Company, Cambridge, Mass. 1982