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A Chord Substitution Primer

A Chord Substitution Primer

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Published by M8R-pfoy89

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Published by: M8R-pfoy89 on Feb 22, 2013
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A Chord Substitution Primer
from the ebook Guitar Chords: a Beginner's Guide
http: / / www. maxi mummusi ci an. com/ chordbook. htm
"What's wrong with a song's original chords? Why go through allthe fuss to tamper with something that already works?"
 Yes, what
is
the point of chord substitution? Chord substitution is a bit likespring cleaning for music. You get tired of looking at the same old junkthat's been lying around the house for the past year or so. You're not surewhat it will feel like to have a clean house, but you know the cleaning has tobe done.With chord substitution, the "junk" you're getting rid of is the boredom youfeel in playing the same song the same way over and over. Replacing somechords with other chords adds new life to a tune. Let's look at some ways wecan substitute chords in a simple but useful tune. The tune we're using to make changes is the same one in the articleHow Chord Progressions Work. I call it the Sam Cooke song.
http: / / www. maxi mummusi ci an. com/ arti cl echordprog. htm
 
Substitution One: "Musician's Math"
Here are the chord changes to the Sam Cooke song, together with the chordsubstitutions. These new changes will give us a fresh perspective on thisgolden oldie. They'll also help us understand some principles, or
guidelines
,really, for chord substitution.Here's the original progression:
||: C | Am| F | G7 :||| C | F | C | F || AmG7 | C | G7 | C || G7 | C | D7 | D7 || F | G7 |
D.C. al fine
And here are the new chords.
||: Em| Am| Dm| G7 :||| Em | F | Em | F || EmG7 | C | DmAm| C || DmAm| C | F | F || Dm | G7 |
D.C. al fine
A quick note on notation: The "Fine," referred to in the "D.C. al Fine" is thefifth bar in each of the chord progressions illustrated in this article. So forthe first progression shown, end on the C major chord.
 
Here are some guidelines used in creating the new chord progression:- One equals three equals six- Two equals four- and Five equals sevenWelcome to Musician's Math. Let's explain these.Look at the following figure, which shows the chords in C Major. "One equalsthree equals six" means the C major chord (the One), the E minor chord(the Three), and the A minor chord (the Six) sound enough like each otherto replace each other. They do sound different from one another, butcompared to the other chords, they sound similar enough to serve assubstitutes for one another.
Letter
C Dm Em F G7 Am Bhalf-dim
*
Roman numerals
I ii iii IV V7 vi vii
*
Plain old English
One Two Three four Five Six Seven
*The b* means "b half-diminished," which is kind of like a minor chord, butreally closer to a G7 in its overall sound.That means when I see a C major chord on a song chart, I can try out an Aminor or an E minor instead. The sound I get might or might not be animprovement. If it isn't, it probably won't sound bad."Two equals four" means I can substitute D minor for F major. "Five equalsseven" means I can substitute G7 for b* and vice versa.

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