The "what the heck?" about Tritone subs,

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ASATKat, May 21, 2019.

  1. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    The TriTone is a way to substitute one chord for another

    Here is a TriTone in action

    normal iim7 V7 Imaj7 progression,
    Dm7 G7 Cma7

    same progression but changing G7 to Db7
    Dm7 Db7 Cmaj7

    G7 changing into a Db7? It works because the two chords share in common the 3rd and the 7th tones.

    -------------------
    -3---------------2
    -4---------------4 <
    -3---------------3 <
    ------------------4
    -3-----------------

    Notice how the 3rds and 7ths flip, invert,
    G7. . . . . . . . . Db7
    ------------------------
    ------------------------
    -4 -- 3rd-----------4 -- 7th
    -3 -- 7th-----------3 -- 3rd
    -------------------------
    -------------------------

    Here are these "essential tones" along with the roots in a journey through the key of C, harmonized,
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Db7
    Cmaj7. Fmaj7. Bm7b5. Em7. . Am7. . . Dm7. . G7. . Cmaj7

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    --9-------9-------7-------7-------5-------5------4------4
    --9-------7-------7-------5-------5-------3------3------2
    -----------8----------------7----------------5--------------3
    --8----------------7----------------5---------------3-----

    Plug the tritone Dm7 Db7 Cmaj7 into above.

    And that is a basic tritone sub.
     
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  2. sockgtr

    sockgtr Tele-Meister

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    I tend to think of tritone subs as: Substitute a dominant chord with a dominant chord a tritone away, either up or down.

    In practice, tritone subs tend to be used to create a chromatic bass line, as in the ex above: D-7 Db7 C.

    Another example that doesn't fall to the tonic immediately would be in a rhythm changes bridge:

    E7 - A7 - D7 - G7 - C
    becomes:
    E7 - Eb7 - D7 - Db7 - C

    Again, it's about creating a chromatic bassline.
     
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  3. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Another example: the Tadd Dameron Turnaround.

    Original: CMaj7 Am7 Dm7 G7 (standard I-vi-ii-V turnaround)
    TDT: CMaj7 Eb7 Ab7 Db7
    major version: CMaj7 EbMaj7 AbMaj7 DbMaj7
     
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  4. ponce

    ponce Tele-Holic

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    I wish I knew the music math...
     
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  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    First post 'splained it.
     
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  6. sockgtr

    sockgtr Tele-Meister

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    I love the major version! I use it as an into to Blue Skies :)
     
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  7. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here's an elegantly simple version that will give you a cool, modern jazz pianoish vibe. Guitarists like Wes and Grant Green favored this type of 4 note voicings. If you want to make it even simpler (and potentially less intrusive), get rid of the lowest note (5th string).
    Fantastic for Bossa Novas, Soul music and Steely Dan as well ...

    ii-V-I_tritonesub.jpg *Only play the inner four strings.
    Notice the voice leading and common tones.
    The tri-tone thing is very effective when used to smooth out the motion w/in the progression. Tri-tone movement by itself or w/out context can sound angular, abrupt and jumpy - which may or may not be what you want.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  8. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    It's also about sharing the 3rds and 7ths, they're called the essential tones or guide tones.
     
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  9. richtone

    richtone TDPRI Member

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    Great stuff, thanks!
     
  10. richtone

    richtone TDPRI Member

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    I’ve seen this in practice but never understood the theory. Very helpful to grasp that.
     
  11. sockgtr

    sockgtr Tele-Meister

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    Sure, but that's unimportant when you're soloing over them. Seeing it on the fly you have lots of choices, and the quickest and easiest is to be aware of the altered note, not the common notes.

    IOW, if I see D-7 Db7 CM7 I'm going to be aware of the Db and will probably play a Db7 pattern without needing to be aware of the notes that are shared with G7. Or, I'll just play a G7 anyway and let the Db act as a tension note. Or, I'll think in terms of G7b5. Or I'll avoid both D and Db. Etc. Lots of choices and none of them involve conscious thought about the shared nature of the 3rd and the 7th of Db7 and G7 :)
     
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  12. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, there is importance in all of the notes, to varying degrees.

    What you didn't mention with your Db7 replacing the G7 is that they have the SAME 3rd and 7th, in fact it's the strength of the 3rd and 7th that allow to use the other wacky notes in the Db7.

    G7 -- G B D F
    Db7- Db F Ab Cb(B)

    Does that make sense?
     
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  13. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tritones are a super cool way to sound a little bit outside. It's another way to come up with different chords and lead lines very quickly....but
    at the end of the day whether noodling around on guitar or on a keyboard what matters is what sounds good. Generally the idea is that truly outside
    notes can work wonderfully as long as you are playing inside notes at key points such as on the downbeat or at the beginning or end of a phrase.
    The tritone gives you "inside" notes of the 3rd and 7th but generally a different set of outside notes. If you hit the 3rd and 7ths in the right part of your
    phrasing it should produce really nice sounding phrases, in theory anyway.

    The big challenge for me in playing jazz is getting that inside/outside balance just right. I don't find it very hard to play totally inside. If I see a G7 I know
    the G7 arpeggio and I know G mixolydian so that's easy enough. Another way to sound inside is to play the actual melody of the song, since it is usually almost
    exclusively built "inside" of the changes, at least for most classic jazz standards that were originally sung by singers.

    And I certainly have no problem sounding crazy outside. I could just move everything up or down
    a half step or play diminished or chromatic or whole tone scales if I want to sound wacky and almost totally outside. But the best jazz phrases have this wonderful ability of bridging the gap and
    sounding mostly inside while still having really cool outside or "blue" notes organically built into a nice sounding, melodic phrase. I still haven't figured out the best way to personally
    find this sweet spot. Tritone scale playing and diminished licks have been my best approximation so far, but I suspect I just need to start directly copping some classic licks from classic players and
    incorporating them directly into my playing, especially classic 2-5-1 jazz licks. After all, when I play the blues I get a lot of mileage out of playing very classic blues licks that have been around forever. I might as well
    do the exact same thing with jazz-- just copy the great ones.
     
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  14. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Imo, to the ear, these two "outside notes" are not really outside at all.

    They are very powerful "leading tones",
    The Ab moves down 1/2 step to G and the Db moves down to C.

    So what we end up with is two stable essential tones and two strong leading tones.

    Imo, let them be important equally and naturally.
     
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  15. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Any of the 12 tones work over any chord if they are played in a well structured phrase.
     
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  16. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    Example please, =)
     
  17. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

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    Check out my "jazz on a jazzmaster" thread video. Check it from 0:26 to 0:45. I play 11 out 12 available tones over a series of I vi ii V and iii vi ii V progs. I think it makes linear and melodic sense. Kind 'out' but it has direction. It's all about intent.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  18. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, for example, you mentioned passing tones. Any outside note sounds inside if it is worked in as a passing tone. Think of any chord. All the chord tones are legit. How about C9? C, E, G, Bb, D arpeggio notes are all legit. Blues scale is legit so that adds Eb, Gb. B works as passing tone to C. You could do a short dorian phrase C D F G. What’s left? You could do a diminished phrase like C C# D# E F# G C# C. I think all that’s left is G#. Here’s a diminished lick that resolves to C9: G G#A# B C G# G C. There- all 12 tones sounding melodic over a C9.
     
  19. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    One of the hippest ways for me to use all 12 tones in the form of three parallel minor pants ala John Coltrane. In fact it's named after him, Coltrane changes of Giant Step changes. The three pents graduate from "all inside" to a mild "out" to "all out".

    Like how the tritone is in the very middle of the 12 notes with 3 whole steps on either side, Coltrane changes divide the 12 notes into 3 major 3rds.

    It looks like this on the circle. It forms a symmetrical triangle with C, Ab, and E.

    C7
    . . . . . . . C
    . . . . .F. . . . .G
    . . ..Bb. . . . . . .D
    . . Eb. . . . . . . . .A
    . . Ab. . . . . . . . E
    . . . Db. . . . . . B
    . . . . . .Gb/F#

    The inside pent,
    C G D A E
    rearranged to minor pent,
    A C D E G

    The out pent,
    E B F# C# G#
    rearranged to minor pent form,
    C# E F# G# B

    The mild out pent,
    Ab Eb Bb F C
    rearranged to minor pent,
    F Ab Bb C Eb

    C7
    inside. . . . . . mild out. . . .out out. . . . in
    -12-10-8------|-11-8----------|------------------|----
    --------------10-|----------9------|-12-9----------|----
    -------------------|-------------10-|---------9-------|----
    -------------------|------------------|-------------11-|-10
    -------------------|------------------|------------------|----
    -------------------|------------------|------------------|----
     
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  20. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    That looks very coolASATKat and I'm going to have to try it. Pentatonics fall easily under this guitarist's fingers so anytime I can use pentatonics in a way
    to get nice jazz-sounding licks I'm a happy camper. Anyone who thinks that the bebop guys didn't think about theory hasn't seen the kind of deep analysis
    that Coltrane was engaged in, as illustrated by this drawing he did--

    upload_2019-5-23_8-59-30.png
     
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