#1
Okay so I've been looking around the net for a good explanation of this and come up pretty much empty handed. It might be a dumb question, but I'm trying to learn when it is okay to substitute certain chords.

If I'm playing in the key of C for instance, and want to use a different voicing for some of the other chords in my song, how do i know which are okay and which won't work.

I'm really hoping to learn the theory behind it btw if anyone wants to expound
"Without music life would be a mistake." -Friedrich Nietzsche
#2
A chord usually is made up of 3 notes, as long as you're still only playing those 3 notes then it works as that chord.
#3
there's no "okay" time to substitute chords. you can put any chord anywhere at any time in your composition. but that won't always work.

if i understand your second concern correctly, you need to study voice-leading. that will help you determine resolutions of chords better.

for example, if i had a progression that started Cmaj - Fmaj - Gmaj, and i wanted to modulate and not go back to Cmaj, a good choice would be Ebmaj, because it's chromatically very close to Gmaj:

G -> G (static)
B -> Bb (chromatic descent)
D - > Eb (chromatic ascent)

knowing voice leading will help you determine things like this.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#4
Quote by Miga255
Okay so I've been looking around the net for a good explanation of this and come up pretty much empty handed. It might be a dumb question, but I'm trying to learn when it is okay to substitute certain chords.

If I'm playing in the key of C for instance, and want to use a different voicing for some of the other chords in my song, how do i know which are okay and which won't work.

I'm really hoping to learn the theory behind it btw if anyone wants to expound


if it sounds good ...... it "works". Use your ear to determine whether or not it sounds good. ( even when you understand the theory behind it)

from a theoretical standpoint.....

Any voicing of a Cmaj7 chord can substitute for any other voicing of a CMaj7 chord. its a matter of taste..... artistic choice.

if you want to get an idea of what other artists have done in terms of voicing....connecting the chords...... learn/study their music.

You can also practice connecting the chords (voice leading). I'll give tips on that if asked ( and if I think you're ready for it)
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 7, 2010,
#5
If you're comping over a melody, you are going to have to use your ears to discern if the reharmonizations work. But make sure to use them only when it makes the melody/song sound better.

The most common reharmonizations would be substituting the V for a ii-V, implementing tri-tone and diatonic substitutions, using chords from the relative major/minor and using secondary dominants. Dominant chords on their own can have an amazing amount of things done to them.

Generally there are "rules" for reharmonising that you can find in most jazz theory books, and a lot of which would make more sense if you understood voice leading.
#6
Think of voicings this way, to play a D chord you would play XX0232. The 3 notes of a D major triad are D F# A, the 4 notes you're playing would be D, A, D, F#. Say you throw in the open A string, it's still a D chord (technically D/A) since it contains only those 3 notes. Now, tune to drop D and throw in the open 6th string. The 6 notes you're playing are D, A, D, A, D, F#. It's still a D chord since it's the same 3 notes. It's just a different voicing because of the different way those notes are arranged.
#7
Well, all of the advice I just heard works. Here's some more.

Use chord substitution. Try playing an E minor arpeggio over a Cmaj7 chord. It works, doesn't it? Here's why.

Cmaj7: C-E-G-B
Emin: E-G-B

The E minor has all the same tones as the Cmaj7. Relative to C major, C is the I chord, and E is the iii chord. This is chord substitution. You could also have used an Emin7 over that that Cmaj7, but there'd be one other note, the Eb, that isn't contained in Cmaj7.

Here's the formula for chord substitution.

I <--> iii <--> V <--> vii <--> ii <--> IV <--> vi <--> I
#8
Quote by STONESHAKER
Well, all of the advice I just heard works. Here's some more.

Use chord substitution. Try playing an E minor arpeggio over a Cmaj7 chord. It works, doesn't it? Here's why.

Cmaj7: C-E-G-B
Emin: E-G-B

The E minor has all the same tones as the Cmaj7. Relative to C major, C is the I chord, and E is the iii chord. This is chord substitution. You could also have used an Emin7 over that that Cmaj7, but there'd be one other note, the Eb, that isn't contained in Cmaj7.

Here's the formula for chord substitution.

I <--> iii <--> V <--> vii <--> ii <--> IV <--> vi <--> I


Emin 7 is E G B and D, not Eb, so its still in the Cmaj key, but not in Cmaj7, if you played Emin7 over the Cmaj7 chord, youd have a Cmaj9 sound if voiced right
Schecter C-1 Classic in Seethru blue <333
Schecter Damien FR
Roland AC-60 acoustic amp
Boss GE-7 EQ
Line6 Ubermetal Distortion
Sigma Dx Acoustic
#9
Thanks so much for all the input guys. I've been kind of floundering for the last few days not knowing what to study next, so this thread was huge for me.

Very positive first experience on the forum
"Without music life would be a mistake." -Friedrich Nietzsche
#10
Quote by Zinnie
Emin 7 is E G B and D, not Eb, so its still in the Cmaj key, but not in Cmaj7, if you played Emin7 over the Cmaj7 chord, youd have a Cmaj9 sound if voiced right


You're right. I forgot a minor seventh chord is 1-3b-5-7b. That's how I know it's time to take a break from thinking for awhile.
#11
Quote by STONESHAKER
You're right. I forgot a minor seventh chord is 1-3b-5-7b. That's how I know it's time to take a break from thinking for awhile.

Haha its all good, we all make little mistakes like that every now and then :3
Schecter C-1 Classic in Seethru blue <333
Schecter Damien FR
Roland AC-60 acoustic amp
Boss GE-7 EQ
Line6 Ubermetal Distortion
Sigma Dx Acoustic