Chord Substitution

A friend asked me what substitute chord could take the place of D minor (ii chord) in the Key of C. Here's what I found:

* Any chord can be substituted for another which has the same tonic, dominant or traveling function. For example, in the key of C the progression becomes Dm7, Db7, CM rather than Dm7, G7, CM. ...

* So in the key of C, the primary dominant is the V7 chord, G7, and the subV for G7 is Db7. ... can play a D major triad on top of the regular C, E, G, and Bb. ...

So what is a substitute dominant chord?

Well, it's a dominant chord an augmented fourth, aka tritone, away from the dominant chord it's substituting for.

Replacing dominants with their substitutes

C7 / F7 / C7/ G-7 Gb7
F7 / F#dim7 / C7 / E-7 Eb7
D-7 / Db7 / C7 Eb7 / D-7 Db7

Substitute Dominant chords, sometimes referred to as tritone substitutes, are some of my favorite chords in jazz. On page 185 of Jermaine Griggs The Secrets To Playing Piano By Ear, he explains that the iimin7 chord can be substituted for a iv#dim7
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* Discussion on substitute chords

* Swap out dull chords for exciting ones at the Learning Center

* Chromatic Root Movement
This is one of my favorite changes in the key of G, play ii-sub V- I
Play D minor (D-F-A), Db (Db-F-Cb) and C (C-E-C)

* Tonic substitutes are chords which sound very similar to the tonic chord (or I chord) in a tune. In major keys, the chords iii and vi are often substituted for the I chord, to add interest. In the key of C Major, the I Major 7 chord is "C, E, G, B" the iii chord is e minor 7 ("E, G, B, D") and the vi minor 7 chord is a minor ("A, C, E, G"). Both of the tonic substitute chords use notes from the tonic chord, which means that they will usually support a melody that was originally designed for the tonic (I) chord.

* Free Chord Charts- Lots of Freebies!
One of my favorite sites for charts, you'll want to visit

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