Chord Substitutions in Minor Pt. 2

20140119-122047.jpgToday I would like to pick up were I left off with the  ii – V – i progression. Last time I discussed possible substitutions for the ii7b5 and the V7. These are substitutions in minor keys or brief modulation to minor keys. 








Substitution 3)

If the root of the i chord is omitted; a substitute for i which has complete plurality is revealed. The bIIIMaj7 chord.

Original: ii – V – i


Progression with substitution: ii – V – bIIIMaj7

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What is Pluralism?

Sixfinger_threadfin_schoolSo What is pluralism anyway? Well, when we talk about pluralism in a harmonic context it means that a single chord can have multiple names and functions. For example If we examine a D-9 chord: D – F – A – C – E. Then remove the root we have an FM7 chord. This is the concept of pluralism applied to the harmonic language of music. Some chords have complete pluralism. Like CM6 and A-7 : C – E – G – A. These notes when arranged in this order function as a CM6 chord. However, When the notes are re-arranged: A – C – E – G. Now, the notes spell a completely different chord. A-7. These two chords have complete plurality. In other words: they share ALL notes. They could be substituted for each other in the right context.Or depending on the function of the harmony you might see the first one and consider IT to be a first inversion A-7 chord.

Chord Substitution Pt. 2

Last time I delved into some basic diatonic major chord substitutions. This week the topic continues. You should have had sometime by now to implement those 2 basic substitutions I outlined last time. Which were the IV in place of the ii9 and the viio7 in place of the V7. This was in the context of the ii – V – I progression and is applicable to major keys. 

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Chord Substitution Pt. 1

20140119-122047.jpgThis post will be the beginning of a series of posts on basic chord substitution. In the beginning I am only going to address diatonic chord substitution. As these concepts are laid out; and hopefully grasped. I will begin to address non-diatonic chord substitutions. As always the point is for you to gain practical and applicable knowledge. So The best thing to do is to take the concepts presented and immediately start to put apply them to your playing or composing. 

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An Aural Education

Just As Suzuki uses oral transmission for children. I believe a similar “talent education” can be adapted for adults.

As children, we learn a great deal through aural transmission. This process can and should be continued into adulthood. Especially in reference to a musical education. To much emphasis is placed on the written page in adult education. As music is an Aural art. Its transmission should primarily occur aurally. Written music clearly has its place and is of great importance later. However, in the early stages it is wise to focus on the art its self. In its pure form. The aural form. RAther than the documentation of the art (sheet music). A great many students lack aural abilities and musicianship. These things can only be learned through aural methods and especially early in the musical education. No matter the age of the learner.

Memorization vs integrative retention

The usual method for memorizing a piece of music consists of breaking that piece down into smaller easily managed parts and basically pounding them into our muscle memory and burning them into our mind with a dreadful amount of repetition. Unfortunately, this method yields mixed results for most players. Mostly because muscle memory is a very unreliable form of memorization. Many people, especially students and amateurs find that in the heat of the performing moment the have a slip of memory of a brief moment of uncertainty.

What I want to talk about is a method of practicing which I will refer to as integrative retention. What this refers to is the idea that while learning a piece or a lick or a chord progression we should not rely completely on our muscle memory and our mind. Rather, we should use a process of utilizing our voice our mind our muscle memory and our bodies. Here is an idea of what that might look like.


Take a simple l;ick for example. Start by playing the lick on your instrument. Then sing the lick while playing, then sing the lick accapella. Now sing the lick while playing the chords underneath which can be applied to it. Now take a walk. Choose a walking speed which can be applied to a possible tempo that you might take that lick at (you could make your steps be 8th notes if you want to play the lick more quickly) While you are walking sing the lick in cadence with your steps, try different rhythmic inflections, try to transpose the link or reverse it. Etc.