• Chord Substitution: 9 Substitutes For The 1-Chord In The Major Key

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Gospel music,Jazz music,Piano

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    Our lesson today is on chord substitution and we’ll be exploring 9 substitutes for the 1-chord in the major key.

    One of the chords that is commonly played in tonal music is the 1-chord and this is because most songs start out and end on the 1-chord. Sometimes, there is need to substitute the 1-chord with other chords (especially chromatic chords) that are sophisticated.

    Using what I call the “3-5-7-9” principle (that we covered in a previous post), you can derive 9 chord substitutes that can fit into the same position where the 1-chord fits into; especially at the end of the song.

    Let’s get started by refreshing our minds on the concept of chord substitution.

    A Short Note On Chord Substitution

    If you’re tired of using the same set of chords over and over again, and are interested in replacing those chords (whether boring or spicy) with other chords, then this lesson is for you.

    The concept of chord substitution is concerned with the replacement of a given chord with another chord which may either foreign or related.

    The same way soccer players are substituted during tournaments, chords can also be substituted. The 1-chord (which is our focus in this lesson) plays a vital role in harmony and I’ll be showing you quite a number of chord substitutes it can be replaced with.

    Although there are so many approaches to chord substitution, we’ll be using the 3-5-7-9 approach to chord substitution;

    In the “3-5-7-9” approach to chord substitution, the first, third, fifth, and seventh tones of a given major ninth chord are considered as the third, fifth, seventh, and ninth tone of another major ninth chord.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    9 Substitutes For The 1-Chord In The Major Key

    We’ll be exploring chord substitutes for the 1-chord in the major key and we’ll be using the 1-chord in the key of C major:

    …which is the C major ninth chord:

    …or any other major chord type like the C major seventh chord:

    Are you ready?

    Substitute #1 – “The 1 as 3”

    The first tone of the C major ninth chord:

    …(which is C):

    …can be considered as the third tone of another major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has C as its third tone?

    Answer: The Ab major ninth chord:

    …has C:

    …as its third tone and can be played with the C note on top:

    Substitute #2 – “The 1 as 5”

    The first tone of the C major ninth chord:

    …(which is C):

    …can be considered as the fifth tone of a major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has C as its fifth tone?

    Answer: The F major ninth chord:

    …has C:

    …as its fifth tone and can be played with the C note on top:

    Substitute #3 – “The 1 as 7”

    The first tone of the C major ninth chord:

    …(which is C):

    …can be considered as the seventh tone of another major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has C as its seventh tone?

    Answer: The Db major ninth chord:

    …has C:

    …as its seventh tone and can be played with the C note on top:

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    Substitute #4 – “The 1 as 9”

    The first tone of the C major ninth chord:

    …(which is C):

    …can be considered as the ninth tone of a major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has C as its ninth tone?

    Answer: The Bb major ninth chord:

    …has C:

    …as its ninth tone and can be played with the C note on top:

    Substitute #5 – “The 3 as 5”

    The C major ninth chord:

    …has E:

    …as its third tone.

    The third tone of the C major ninth chord can be considered as the fifth tone of another major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has E as its fifth tone?

    Answer: The A major ninth chord:

    …has E:

    …as its fifth tone and can be played with the E note on top:

    Substitute #6 – “The 3 as 9”

    The C major ninth chord:

    …has E:

    …as its third tone.

    The third tone of the C major ninth chord can be considered as the ninth tone of another major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has E as its ninth tone?

    Answer: The D major ninth chord:

    …has E:

    …as its ninth tone and can be played with the E note on top:

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    Substitute #7 – “The 5 as 3”

    The fifth tone of the C major ninth chord:

    …is G:

    …and can be considered as the third tone of another major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has G as its third tone?

    Answer: The Eb major ninth chord:

    …has G:

    …as its third tone and can be played with the G note on top:

    Substitute #8 – “The 7 as 3”

    The seventh tone of the C major ninth chord:

    …(which is B):

    …can be considered as the third tone of a major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has B as its third tone?

    Answer: The G major ninth chord:

    …has B:

    …as its third tone and can be played with the B note on top:

    Substitute #9 – “The 7 as 5”

    The seventh tone of the C major ninth chord:

    …(which is B):

    …can be considered as the fifth tone of a major ninth chord.

    Question: So, what major ninth chord has B as its fifth tone?

    Answer: The E major ninth chord:

    …has B:

    …as its fifth tone and can be played with the B note on top:

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The “Official Guide To Piano Playing.” Click here for more information.

    Final Words

    Apart from the F major ninth substitute, the rest of the chords covered in this lesson are chromatic.

    Therefore it is recommended for you to practice the application of these substitutes because the use of chromatic chords to substitute the 1-chord requires experience.

    Keep up the good work!

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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