Chord Substitutions

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by ImprovBeast, Nov 24, 2003.

  1. ImprovBeast

    ImprovBeast New Friend

    Nov 24, 2003
    All right guys, lets see if you can help me out.

    I love the jazz combo setting, and I am an "ImprovBeast" but to become "ImprovMaster" someday I have a few questions.

    Alright, here it is.... I am reading a biography on Miles "Milestones". In the chapter where him and coltrane meet up the author talks about chord substitutions. Is it as simple as just substituting the tonic with a tri-tone, or somthing like that, or is there more to it! The book made it sound as if Coltrane was really into substituting new scales on to exgisting chord progressins, but every thing I here about substituitions seem to say that that isn't the case. :?: :?

    Now I've been using the corect Scale/Chords but starting and ending in hip places like 7ths, 9ths, flat 5's, etc. It sounds good and I really like it, but I would like my solos to feel "further out" sometimes.

    So what I really want to know is: Are there scales that one can substitute over exgisting progressions that sound hip? If so, can you give me some examples? I would also like if anyone could point me in the direction of a good resorce for this.

    Thanks guys,

  2. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    there are many differnt ways to go about this and it can be used in many differnt ways as well. dont worry about coltrane changes right now, but you can go ahead and look at tri tone and the ii-v bounce(putting a ii any where there is a V). most of the time i like to think of parallel chord streams, bascily think simple scales over simple chords.

    like G major over C#11

    or Ab- over G7

    here is a few simple ones i use alot to go alittle outside:

    1)over a ii-V-I

    go ii -bii-I

    or vi-bvi-V(major)

    2)over iii-VI-ii-V-I



    again start the same seqence up a 5th from the first chord

    i will post more on this later when i have some time this week, or someone else might jump in before then and add some more info.
  3. ImprovBeast

    ImprovBeast New Friend

    Nov 24, 2003
    Thanks man! 8) What you said really makes sense. Its pretty logical to play a vi over a ii, and the bii over the V. I forgot about using the V over a I, thats a good one. Thanks, I think I get it now, at least for simple substitutions. I've been doing mosts of these but wasnt really thinking about it. Now that I know I can use them in a more diliberate fashion.

    I want to be really far out though. 8) I want to scare the squares!! :wink:

  4. CJDJazzTpt

    CJDJazzTpt Pianissimo User

    May 31, 2004
    New Orleans, LA
    Try playing modal too...... If you think in terms of just triads over bass notes (Slash chords) then your playing will 'sound' modal. Upper-structure harmony is where "OUT" comes from.

    If any of you want I'll post the whole upper-structure triad over bass note formula. This will help to start organizing the different sounds in your head and in your ears! For those that know this already, you know what I am talking about.

    Here are a few examples of the upper-structure triad over bass note formula: (Slash chords)

    Phrygian = b2/1 (ex. Ab/G) Phrygian cluster 1,b2,4,5
    sus = 5/1 (ex. D/G) OR b7/1 (ex. Bb/C)
    Augmented = 3/1 (ex. E/C)
    Diminished = 7/1 (ex. Bdiminished/C)

    Keep in mind you also have Lydian, Aeolian, Locrian.
    Playing with altered and diminished types of scales will also help you to sound out. (melodic minor, auxillary diminished, whole tone) The possibilities are endless.....

    Wayne Shorter, Herbie, Woody Shaw, Clifford, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington, etc,... all used these kinds of chords when composing to give the sound a little twist but in the long run gave the soloist more to work with in terms of 'colors' to play with. Herbie and Wayne Shorter are great examples to use.....McCoy Tyner too!!!

    This is how most jazz guitar players are taught to think. It helps them to 'lock in' the right harmony without having to play the chords with all of the notes, 1,3,5,7,9,11,13. thats 7 notes and a guitarist only has 4 fretboard fingers. This causes them to have to choose the right color tones to play in the chord. When playing a C-11 a guitar player just might play a Bbsus triad. Bb,Eb,F Those notes take care of the b7, the b3, and the 11 of the C-11 chord while the bass is playing the root...... You get it? Let me know if you would like me to post the slash chord formula.

    If you think in these terms, then not only will you scare the squares, but you might even scare YOURSELF!!!!
    Find the best teacher you can and listen carefully. The knowledge that they have is priceless. Also listen to trumpet players that you want to sound like. If you listen enough and transcribe their stuff then you see what it is that they are actually doing.... Sooner or later it will make its way into your playing if you are dilligent.

  5. alexT

    alexT New Friend

    May 18, 2004
    London, UK
    I claim to be no expert, but the way I got into substitutions all started with V-I's. They are the easiest change to substitute over and a great place to start, then move onto the others mentioned... then create your own!!!! Substituting a chord onto a V chord in a V-I is a very bebop thing to do and was as far as many of the great beboppers had to ever go in their music to make them sound masterful. My first one is the diminished:

    Lets say we are in C and plaing on "rhythm changes"

    so the basic progression in I - VI - ii - V repeated.

    we'll start with putting a diminshed chord on the V and in this case the V will be G7. If we think "raise the root by half" and then play diminished on that we will play G# B D F. this is like Playing a b9 on the V and creates a great tention to the G in the next chord (C). another very common bebop phrase is to surround the root of the V and then resolve it on the I... i.e playing G# F# - G or more comlicated surroundings of these, such as B D F Ab F F# G B D F D D# E ... please note this is starting line 3 of the stave and the highest note is the Ab... one legger above the stave.

    This basic b9 principle can also be applied to the VI chord as VI - ii is also a V - I so you could play A# diminished.

    This b9 substitution is the most common in the be-bop language.

    Another substitution you could have on the V would be a #5 or augmented.

    On V (G7) you could play G B D# G. the D# resovles nicely to the E in the I chord and this is a VERY Clarke Terry sound. heres a quick lick to play with, again in the same range as above: B D# G F D# E G.

    After you have fully explored all these in all keys you can go on to looking at putting the tritone on the V and then into some very crazy substitutions, but these two and the tritone are all you really need to play some good fast boppin' jazz.

    Good luck with your substitutions and remember, get one substitution down before you explore the next, its always good to feel so comfortable with one that u you think about it anymore, it just comes out from under your fingers. It takes time, but it pays off!

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