We all know how important the II-V-I chord progression is to jazz music. It’s used in thousands of jazz standards.
Now, it a beautiful sounding chord progression but sometimes in order to not sound so repetitious we need to find new ways to spice it up.
So, in today’s free jazz lesson I’m going to teach you guys one of the most common ways of substituting the II-V-I chord progression. (video, and notation below)
This substitution is called a tritone substitution. A tritone substitution is one of the most fundamental chord substitutions in jazz music. You literally hear it everywhere!
To get started learning this awesome chord substitution I recommend you watch the video below first.
Tritone Chord Substitution With Notation
1. Here is a normal II-V-I (2-5-1) chord progression without the tritone substitution added in on the V chord.
(click to expand)
2. Here is a II-V-I chord progression written out with the tritone substitution added on the V chord (G7 is substituted w/ Db7 instead). You should practice taking this chord progression in all 12 keys.
To apply this chord substitution just substitute the V chord with another dominant chord a tritone away.
(click to expand)
3. Here are the roman numerals for the tritone substitution. This should help you transpose the chord progression to all 12 keys.
Tips On How To Play And Apply This Chord Substitution
1. If you would like to see more demonstrations of how to play and using this tritone substitution be sure to also check out this Here’s That Rainy Day Chords Tutorial.
2. If you want an example with some jazz licks played on top then you can also check out this jazz lick lesson where I use it as well.
2. The best way to learn any new musical concept is to add it into the music you play. Repetition and action is key! So for example, you could set a goal of trying to use it all day today every time you see a 2-5-1 chord progression.
3. A blues is a fantastic place to try practicing and applying this substitution. You can check out some of the ways I use it over this jazz blues chord progression
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