Harmonic Analysis - Chord Substitution Principles

A substitution is when a chord replaces or is used in addition to an existing chord.

Published: 23 Mar 2012 Updated: 13 Dec 2022Visits: 89Code: MLRMAe-11

INSTRUMENTS: Theory Main: Music Others: Ukulele ANY Music Guitar
Subjects: Chords • Intermediate • Transposing • Reference

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Harmonic Analysis - Chord Substitution Principles


A Substitution is when a chord replaces or is used in addition to an existing chord.

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Chords can have a active or passive quality to them. Active chords tend to be restless and want to move on to other chords. Passive chords tend to offer a feeling of rest and resolution. This cycle of active and passive chords are what gives chord progressions their feeling of movement.

This series, is the book Harmonic Analysis for Chord Substitution and Scale Selection by Curt sheller broken out into individual lessons with additional examples and content. Always, the latest version of the book.

Diatonic Chord Substitutions

Passive

Passive chords can be substituted for Passive chords.

Triads with the third of the scale present are passive.

Passive chords can be substituted for Passive chords. ( See the harmonized charts for active/passive chord designations )

Example: VI and III chords can substitute for a I chord.

Active

Active chords can be substituted for Active chords.

Triads with the fourth of the scale present are active.

Active chords can be substituted for Active chords. ( See the harmonized charts for active/passive chord designations )

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Harmonic Analysis - Chord Substitution Principles…

Example (Major & Minor)

PASSIVE

I

III

VI

ACTIVE

V

II

IV

VII

Direct Substitutions

A direct substitute is when the root of the substitute chord matches the root of the original chord.

There are two types of direct substitutions, replacement and expansion with the substitution characteristics of being superimposable or non-superimposable.

Replacement Substitutions

Original chord is removed for the substitute.

Expansion

Original chord remains plus the substitute in the same time frame.

Superimposed

Various upper partials (9, 11, 13). No new harmonic analysis is needed, same scale choices apply.

Superimposed substitutions are direct substitutions, either replacing or expanding the existing chord.

Non-superimposable

Alterations (♯4, ♭5, ♯5, ♭9, ♯9, ♯11, ♭13). No new harmonic analysis is needed, possible new scale choices apply.

Non-superimposed substitutions are direct substitutions, either replacing or expanding the existing chord.

Note Substitution

6 for maj7, m6 for m7, mL7* for m7. No new analysis is needed, same scales choices apply.

Note substitutions are direct substitutions, either replacing or expanding the existing chord.

* minMaj7 — The L is a notational shortcut for a Large or Major Seventh.

Chord Inversions

No new harmonic analysis is needed, same scale choices apply.

Linking Chords

Connective chords, A NEW harmonic analysis IS needed, resulting in new scale choices.

Re-Harmonization

New Chords —A NEW harmonic analysis IS needed, resulting in new scale choices.

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End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

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