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Joe Liedtke July 22, 2015 - 3Tags Posts
The Tritone Substitution: An Introduction | 3tags bit.ly/1IZSHR4 | #MusicTheory
Today I'd like to talk about one of the most dissonant intervals in music: the Tritone. Also known as the augmented 4th and/or diminished 5th, the tritone is the focal point in every dominant 7th chord you hear (also every diminished chord, but that's another post). When isolated, the sound of this interval is jarring - so much so that it was at one point referred to as "diabolus in musica," or "the devil in music." Naturally, this interval shows up all the time in heavy metal - from Black Sabbath's self-titled song to Slayer releasing an album titled Diabolus in Musica, it's everywhere. BUT, that genre is not why we're here today - rather, we're here to talk about a tritone concept from jazz and how we can work it into pop and rock. I present: The Tritone Substitution.
The tritone substitution is a technique used to alter chord progressions to present a more exotic harmony. The beauty of the idea lies in its simplicity. Do you want to break away from normal diatonic harmony? Just take one chord and swap it out for the chord that sits a tritone away. As a quick example, a C chord would be swapped out for F-sharp (or G-flat, if you're into that sort of thing). You can keep the same chord type if you want, but you don't have to (as you'll see later on).
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