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#1
Ok so I believe I'm at the level where I should be able to grasp the concept of tritone substitution, the websites I've been reading though have done a terrible job at explaining it.

Can anyone here completely break it down to its basics, and explain what it is/how to use it/why it sounds good, or point me in the right direction as far as a website goes?

Thanks!
#3
alright ill try to explian it how i beleive it works

lets see you know the V7>I cadence (perfect cadence)
the V really leads well into the I

go up a tritone from the V which is a bII7 and it also leads well into the I (i like how it sounds better with a Imaj7

really thats as best as i could explain it
#4
Quote by DiminishedFifth
The Crusades: No. 9 if I'm not mistaken deals with Secondary Dominants and Tri-tone Subs

Thanks man, and does it explain the theory behind why tritone subs work? like when I was reading into secondary dominants they explained that by sharping (is this a correct term?) the third, even though it's not technically in key, it creates a leading tone to the root and creates a much stronger resolution.

I kind of want something that explains the tritone sub in a similar logical way but also shows how to use it etc etc.


I will check the article out once I get back home!
#5
Quote by -TM-
Thanks man, and does it explain the theory behind why tritone subs work? like when I was reading into secondary dominants they explained that by sharping (is this a correct term?) the third, even though it's not technically in key, it creates a leading tone to the NEW TONIC* and creates a resolution somewhere else.

I kind of want something that explains the tritone sub in a similar logical way but also shows how to use it etc etc.


I will check the article out once I get back home!

Yes. The Crusades explain everything you'll need to know about them (unless you want to use them in a Classical context, but even then, as long as you know the theory behind it you can adapt it to your own). It'll give you examples, and then at the very end give you an example with both Secondary Dominants and Tritone Subs.

And pay attention to the bolded.

*It doesn't always work that way, but it's a very common way of modulating. You could easily go I - IV - II7 (or V7/V) - V7 - I which is an extremely strong and good resolution. But, just as common, is I - IM7 - I7 (V7/IV) - IV where the IV chord becomes the new tonic.
#6
A tritone substitution is pretty much another chord to use instead of the regular V7. Lets look at the key of C major. The V7 of C is G7, spelled G B D and F. The reason this pulls so well is because you have the leading tone, B, and a "tritone". The tritone being B and F.

Now, what a tritone substitution is, is where you find a dominant chord that uses that exact tritone, B and F. A way I figure it out is that the 3rd and 7th of the 5 are switched. B is the third, and F is the seventh. So the F is now gonna be our third, and B will be our 7th. Knowing that the Dominant is a major chord, we look for a chord that would have F as its major third. This turns out to be Db. Db7 is spelled Db F Ab and Cb. Cb is enharmonic to B, so it will work in this case. So say you used Dm G7 C, try replacing the G7 with Db7. Dm Db7 C will be the tritone substitution. It keeps the same tritone, so it has the dominant feel, and now with that progression, you have a nice Chromatic bass line from D to C. Give it a shot and see if you like how it sounds
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#8
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Yes. The Crusades explain everything you'll need to know about them (unless you want to use them in a Classical context, but even then, as long as you know the theory behind it you can adapt it to your own). It'll give you examples, and then at the very end give you an example with both Secondary Dominants and Tritone Subs.

And pay attention to the bolded.

*It doesn't always work that way, but it's a very common way of modulating. You could easily go I - IV - II7 (or V7/V) - V7 - I which is an extremely strong and good resolution. But, just as common, is I - IM7 - I7 (V7/IV) - IV where the IV chord becomes the new tonic.

whoops i was totally thinking about when you make the v in a minor key V. But yes, i should've said new tonic.

damn music theory is interesting.

i'm going to read that crusaders article though and then post back in here later tonight most likely with questions/clarifications. wish me luck haha.
#9
Quote by Zinnie
A tritone substitution is pretty much another chord to use instead of the regular V7. Lets look at the key of C major. The V7 of C is G7, spelled G B D and F. The reason this pulls so well is because you have the leading tone, B, and a "tritone". The tritone being B and F.

Now, what a tritone substitution is, is where you find a dominant chord that uses that exact tritone, B and F. A way I figure it out is that the 3rd and 7th of the 5 are switched. B is the third, and F is the seventh. So the F is now gonna be our third, and B will be our 7th. Knowing that the Dominant is a major chord, we look for a chord that would have F as its major third. This turns out to be Db. Db7 is spelled Db F Ab and Cb. Cb is enharmonic to B, so it will work in this case. So say you used Dm G7 C, try replacing the G7 with Db7. Dm Db7 C will be the tritone substitution. It keeps the same tritone, so it has the dominant feel, and now with that progression, you have a nice Chromatic bass line from D to C. Give it a shot and see if you like how it sounds

you should be a teacher man, i think i mostly get it now, and i think i've heard the chromatic bass lines all the time in music and just never known what it was! Stoked to try it.

One question though. You say the reason the G7 pulls to the C so well is because of the leading tone and the tritone. Why does the tritone pull to C? I understand the leading tone, does the tritone just increase the tension of the chord? And is it true that the tritone sub, in this case Db7, pulls to the IMaj7 (CMaj7) a lot better or something?
#10
can you guys listen to this and tell me if this is a tritone sub that i'm hearing? the chromatic bass line spoken of (is it II-bII7-I or something? does the II lead nicely into the bII7?)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbGyNtKKK5I

shortly after 2:37 is the sound i'm speaking of


edit: or should it be a ii-bII7-I ? the ii and bII7 would share a third right?
Last edited by -TM- at Jun 23, 2011,
#11
Quote by DiminishedFifth
I always just think of it as a bII7

This as well haha. But I wanted to give him a good explanation of why it would be the bII7.


Quote by -TM-
One question though. You say the reason the G7 pulls to the C so well is because of the leading tone and the tritone. Why does the tritone pull to C? I understand the leading tone, does the tritone just increase the tension of the chord? And is it true that the tritone sub, in this case Db7, pulls to the IMaj7 (CMaj7) a lot better or something?

The leading tone just gives a very strong pull back to C. I don't understand the exact reason, but just play the C major scale. C D E F G A B. End on B, It'll want to pull to C. The reason a tritone pulls so well is because, well, a tritone is very very dissonant. This dissonance makes it want to resolve. The B and F in the G7 chord will move to very close notes in Cmaj. The B will resolve up a halfstep to C, and the F will resolve a halfstep down to E, which is a more "stable" interval.


Quote by -TM-
can you guys listen to this and tell me if this is a tritone sub that i'm hearing? the chromatic bass line spoken of (is it II-bII7-I or something? does the II lead nicely into the bII7?)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbGyNtKKK5I

shortly after 2:37 is the sound i'm speaking of


That is a descending bassline, but I'm not sure if all Chromatic. It sounds like the I vii and vi. But not full chords. Its like Playing C, B, then A. at least from what I thought I heard, I'll be honest and say I did only listen twice, and didn't really try playing with it haha.
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Last edited by Zinnie at Jun 23, 2011,
#12
Quote by Zinnie
This as well haha. But I wanted to give him a good explanation of why it would be the bII7.


The leading tone just gives a very strong pull back to C. I don't understand the exact reason, but just play the C major scale. C D E F G A B. End on B, It'll want to pull to C. The reason a tritone pulls so well is because, well, a tritone is very very dissonant. This dissonance makes it want to resolve. The B and F in the G7 chord will move to very close notes in Cmaj. The B will resolve up a halfstep to C, and the F will resolve a halfstep down to E, which is a more "stable" interval.

thanks a lot man, can you check out post 10 btw?
#13
Already did, I editted into my previous post, you just got there before I did :p
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#14
The tritone sub can easily be seen as the V7alt.

V7alt = R M3 b5 5 #5 b7 b9 9 #9

It can contain any of those but should include a b7 with a b5 or a #5 or b9 or #5

Let's look at G7alt having G B Db D D# F Ab A A#

If you take the Db F Ab B it creates a Db7 chord, which is a 7th chord built from the b5, or the tritone of G.

You can add other notes from G7alt to it and it creates Db9, Db13, etc...

So while it's a "substitution" it's really just a voicing of the G7alt, or a V7alt.

In a IIm7-V7-Imaj7 progression is creates a chromatic Root movement, like Dm7-Db9-Cmaj7. When viewed like this is kind of starts become it's own chord, but it's still just G7alt at play.
Last edited by MikeDodge at Jun 23, 2011,
#15
Quote by -TM-
can you guys listen to this and tell me if this is a tritone sub that i'm hearing? the chromatic bass line spoken of (is it II-bII7-I or something? does the II lead nicely into the bII7?)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbGyNtKKK5I

shortly after 2:37 is the sound i'm speaking of


edit: or should it be a ii-bII7-I ? the ii and bII7 would share a third right?

Not at all

That was just a i - bVII - bVI

I'll look for an example. They have a very unique sound.

EDIT: Couldn't find an example...
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at Jun 23, 2011,
#16
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Not at all

That was just a i - bVII - bVI

I'll look for an example. They have a very unique sound.

EDIT: Couldn't find an example...

how come they are a flat VII and VI? why not just use the regular one?

and if this were in the key of a minor would these be the chords then:

Am - Gb (flat VII) - E (flat VI)

??
#17
Quote by -TM-
how come they are a flat VII and VI? why not just use the regular one?

and if this were in the key of a minor would these be the chords then:

Am - Gb (flat VII) - E (flat VI)

??



No, it would be Am - G - F.
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#18
Quote by -TM-
how come they are a flat VII and VI? why not just use the regular one?

and if this were in the key of a minor would these be the chords then:

Am - Gb (flat VII) - E (flat VI)

??

Because, in a minor key, it's bVII, not VII (though most people don't notice/care). A VII would be a major chord build off the leading tone( i - VII is like Am - G# ). A bVII is a major chord built off the flattened leading tone (i - bVII is like Am - G). Same with the VI. A I - bVII - bVI is Am - G - F.
#19
Quote by -TM-
how come they are a flat VII and VI? why not just use the regular one?

and if this were in the key of a minor would these be the chords then:

Am - Gb (flat VII) - E (flat VI)

??

Even when in a Minor key, you use the symbols based off the major scale. A major is Amaj, bmin c#min Dmaj Emaj F# min G#dim.

This pattern is I ii iii IV V vi vii*

Minor, on the other hand, would be Amin Bdim Cmaj Dmin Emin(natural minor) Fmaj Gmaj .
or, i ii* bIII (because in major, you have C#, not C) iv v bVI bVII. See where we are going with this? This would make a i bVII bVI A min, Gmaj, Fmaj. Remember, almost everything is based off the Major scale, even when dealing with minor keys.
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#20
Quote by Zinnie
Even when in a Minor key, you use the symbols based off the major scale.Remember, almost everything is based off the Major scale, even when dealing with minor keys.


No you don't

Minor analysis is based off the harmonic minor scale
#21
tritone substition is pretty simple
basically, you take a dominant seventh chord, and instead of playing it, build one on a note a tritone up (so for C7 you'd use F#7). this works because in a dominant chord, the third and seventh form a tritone (so Bb and E for a C7), and that same tritone exists--though you may have to rename it enharmonically (for F#7 you'd call the Bb an A# and keep the E as an E).
this works because of the melodic tendancies that exist in V-I resolution. If you listen to the stereotypical bach chorale ending (which is where a lot of tonal harmony comes from), it comes from a tritone in the dominant chord being resolved by step to notes in the tonic chord (in C major, the F in the G can move to an E, and the B to a C), because the third and seventh are the same in the tritone sub chord, this resolution still exists (so you'd move the Cb to C and the F to E in a Db7 chord, which is the tritone sub for the dominant chord in C major). the tritone substitution can also facilate more stepwise motion when resolving to a tonic chord (for a Db7, the Cb can go to C, the F to E, the Db to C and the Ab to G).
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#22
Quote by griffRG7321
No you don't

Minor analysis is based off the harmonic minor scale


traditionally, this. i use this now, even though i STILL think it's a bunch of bullshit.

basically what they're saying is that you have a VII and a viiº in a minor key. but they're built off different roots. it's much clearer and far more logical to say bVII and viiº.

there are very few things i disagree with when it comes to classical theory, but this is one of them.
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#23
Quote by griffRG7321
No you don't

Minor analysis is based off the harmonic minor scale

I was taught basing it off major, and that the minor scale chords would be i ii* bIII etc etc, and Ive seen many people on here use the same system, so thats what I was explaining. If its different, then it is. But im going off of what I was taught
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#24
Quote by AeolianWolf
traditionally, this. i use this now, even though i STILL think it's a bunch of bullshit.

basically what they're saying is that you have a VII and a viiº in a minor key. but they're built off different roots. it's much clearer and far more logical to say bVII and viiº.

there are very few things i disagree with when it comes to classical theory, but this is one of them.

Well, the reason is that you wouldn't have a major triad on the leading tone, and still have it function as a chord of the 7th. And, you wouldn't have a diminished triad on the subtonic. Therefore, VII always means a major triad on the subtonic; viiº always means a diminished triad on the leading tone. The label, "bVII," is then redundant.
#25
Quote by Harmosis
Well, the reason is that you wouldn't have a major triad on the leading tone, and still have it function as a chord of the 7th. And, you wouldn't have a diminished triad on the subtonic. Therefore, VII always means a major triad on the subtonic; viiº always means a diminished triad on the leading tone. The label, "bVII," is then redundant.


traditionally, no. but in modern context, there's absolutely no reason that you couldn't have a VII as a leading tone major chord. maybe it worked way back when, but with the existence of genres like jazz in the modern era, it's about time that the system was updated. it's like living our lives today with the laws that governed 19th century society. except a lot less extreme.

i absolutely see where you're coming from, though, so don't get me wrong.
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Last edited by AeolianWolf at Jun 23, 2011,
#27
Quote by AeolianWolf
traditionally, this. i use this now, even though i STILL think it's a bunch of bullshit.

basically what they're saying is that you have a VII and a viiº in a minor key. but they're built off different roots. it's much clearer and far more logical to say bVII and viiº.

there are very few things i disagree with when it comes to classical theory, but this is one of them.


Well, using extended roman analysis you do say bVII and viio. In B minor, bVII would be A major and viio would be A# diminished.

VII would be A# major (although probably functioning as a different chord to aid a modulation).
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Jun 24, 2011,
#28
Quote by -TM-
Ok so I believe I'm at the level where I should be able to grasp the concept of tritone substitution, the websites I've been reading though have done a terrible job at explaining it.

Can anyone here completely break it down to its basics, and explain what it is/how to use it/why it sounds good, or point me in the right direction as far as a website goes?

Thanks!



Whatever the V is of your key do a tritone - make your sustitution a Dominant from that tritone.

eg: In C your V is G, and the b5 of G (tritone is Db) You make Db7 instead of G7.

OK That's the HOW - If you're good, stop there

As for the WHY...look below.

Now for thery stuff, only for those not faint of heart. If you don't know your theory prepare to be washed away!

G B D F is a Dom7

Db F A and Cb is Db7 Notice the 3 and b7 in G7 are present in Db7, but inverted, the 3rd in Db is the same as the b7 although Cb may throw you, it's enharmonic to B. This is why you gotta know your notes in chords and cant just go swapping letters at will.

The difference is the b7 of G is the 3rd of Db and the 3rd of G is the b7 of Db, so their order inverted.

Thus, if you are resolving to C, the F and B are both pulling resolution to the C (root) and E(3rd) in a C triad. The same is true for the F and Cb of Db7.

If you know your theory, you followed this, if not...bye bye.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 24, 2011,
#29
Quote by griffRG7321
Well, using extended roman analysis you do say bVII and viio. In B minor, bVII would be A major and viio would be A# diminished.

VII would be A# major (although probably functioning as a different chord to aid a modulation).


that system makes the most sense to me, because in a progression, if you were to identify the chords only by roman numeral analysis, you can base it off chromatic degrees. you have something to represent each type of degree and each chord quality, so you can express any and all possibilities, while the traditional system is restricted in its representation.

i mean, don't get me wrong -- it's ESSENTIAL to know that common practice dictates the use of a major chord on the subtonic and a diminished chord on the leading tone in a minor key, but i don't need to tell you that traditional harmony isn't always used nowadays.
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#30
Extended Roman IS the traditional system used for analysis, you just switch scales depending on the mode.

i VI V in A minor would be Am F E

I VI V in A major would be A F# E

Now you've got me confused as to which system we're actually referring to
#31
No, that's wrong Griff. I VI V in A major would be A F E. There is no F# major chord in the key of A major (as it would contain an A#). If an F# major chord did appear in the key of A, it would be a secondary function and labeled as such.
#32
Quote by Harmosis
No, that's wrong Griff. I VI V in A major would be A F E. There is no F# major chord in the key of A major (as it would contain an A#). If an F# major chord did appear in the key of A, it would be a secondary function and labeled as such.


The major scale is used for Major analysis, so any VI or vi will be based on an F# in the key of A.

vi in A major would be F#m

VI in A major for would F#

An F chord in the key of A major would be shown by bVI.
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Jun 24, 2011,
#33
Quote by Harmosis
No, that's wrong Griff. I VI V in A major would be A F E. There is no F# major chord in the key of A major (as it would contain an A#). If an F# major chord did appear in the key of A, it would be a secondary function and labeled as such.


No, Griff is right, because if you are talking about a Tonal center of A, than an F# major in that key would be F# The interval of an A to F is a m6 so at best it would be a bVII if it were F major, but if tonally the key was in A that would be fine.

Thus if we look at Harmonic Roman Numeric Notation where upper-case means Major then Griff got it spot on...F# would be correctly labelled VI.

Diatonically, Griff is more right than you are, as the vi of A major is absolutely F#m

Best,

Sean
#34
Quote by Sean0913
No, Griff is right, because if you are talking about a Tonal center of A, than an F# major in that key would be F# The interval of an A to F is a m6 so at best it would be a bVII if it were F major, but if tonally the key was in A that would be fine.

Thus if we look at Harmonic Roman Numeric Notation where upper-case means Major then Griff got it spot on...F# would be correctly labelled VI.

Diatonically, Griff is more right than you are, as the vi of A major is absolutely F#m

Best,

Sean

Diatonically? A# is NOT diatonic to A. Sorry, you're both wrong.
#35
Quote by Harmosis
Diatonically? A# is NOT diatonic to A. Sorry, you're both wrong.


He said that F#m is diatonic to A major, which would contain an A, not an A#.
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#36
The point of contention is the F# major chord soviet_ska. Read more carefully.
#37
Quote by Harmosis
The point of contention is the F# major chord soviet_ska. Read more carefully.


You need to read more carefully. Let's Review an A Major scale:

A B C# D E F# G# A

That's it...no more.

Now count the letters, where is the F#? 6th right?

No F natural, right? In fact if it were F natural it's an interval of a b6 from A...or would you argue otherwise?

Nowhere is there an A# mentioned in my response. Do me the dignity and respect of not creating something that wasn't said, that's venturing into troll territory and I'll summarilly dismiss anything you have to say as irrelevant from here on out. That would be unfortunate, because up to this point, I've respected your posts where they've appeared in the past. So you're either high, reading too fast, ignorant or trolling. Not sure which...

Redeem yourself quickly... Please

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 24, 2011,
#38
Quote by Harmosis
The point of contention is the F# major chord soviet_ska. Read more carefully.


Nobody ever said there was. Of course it's out of key, as you said, an A# isn't a part of an A major. What Griff and Sean are trying to communicate is that any chord based off an F# (the note) would be listed as a six--without an alteration--in Roman Numeral analysis. Just as an F#m would be a vi, F# would be VI. The capitalization due to it being a major chord is enough to signify that it is out of key.
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#39
"Troll territory"? Now your just being foolish. Sean you said "F# major." That includes an A# (as the 3rd). Do we really need to review how a major chord is constructed?
#40
Quote by soviet_ska
Nobody ever said there was. Of course it's out of key, as you said, an A# isn't a part of an A major. What Griff and Sean are trying to communicate is that any chord based off an F# (the note) would be listed as a six--without an alteration--in Roman Numeral analysis. Just as an F#m would be a vi, F# would be VI. The capitalization due to it being a major chord is enough to signify that it is out of key.


I know that some people do that. I'm saying that in traditional RNA, that is wrong. You just don't find that chord as a functioning VI chord. Seriously, someone show me the Bach chorale that has a major triad built on the major 6th of the key.
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