• The Relationship Between Idea Transposition And Idea Substitution

    in Experienced players,Jazz music,Piano,Theory,Transposing Keys

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    Our focus in this lesson is on the relationship between idea transposition and idea substitution.

    If you’re looking out for creative ways of exploring aspects of your creativity, then idea transposition and idea substitution are two concepts you must have in your tool kit.

    In this lesson, we’ll be looking at the relationship between both concepts in terms of the similarity and difference between them.

    But before we go any further, let’s refresh our mind on idea transposition and idea substitution.

    A Short Note On The Concept Of Idea Transposition

    Transposition literally means the TRANSfer of POSITION.

    TRANSfer + POSITION = TRANSPOSITION

    The concept of idea transposition is concerned with the transfer of an idea (be it a note, scale, interval, chord, or progression) from one position to another.

    In the major key, idea transposition is chord based: between major chords or minor chords.

    Major Chord Idea Transposition

    There are two major chords in the major key: the 1-chord and the 4-chord. In the key of C major:

    …the major chords are the C major and F major chord:

    C major seventh chord:

    F major seventh chord:

    In the concept of idea transposition, the melodic and harmonic ideas that are associated with the 1-chord can be transferred to the 4-chord and vice-versa.

    Minor Chord Idea Transposition

    The 2-chord, 3-chord, and 6-chord in the major key are minor chords. In the key of C major:

    …here are the minor chords:

    The D minor seventh chord (the 2-chord):

    The E minor seventh chord (the 3-chord):

    The A minor seventh chord (the 6-chord):

    Chord based idea transposition makes it possible for the transfer of melodic and harmonic ideas from one minor chord to another:

    From the 2-chord to the 3-chord or 6-chord

    From the 3-chord to the 6-chord or 2-chord

    From the 6-chord to the 2-chord or 3-chord

    Now that we’ve refreshed our minds on idea transposition, let’s proceed to the concept of idea substitution.

    “What Is Idea Substitution?”

    The concept of idea substitution is concerned with the replacement of a given musical idea with another idea that is compatible.

    Attention: In idea substitution, the chords do not need to share the same quality. As long as the ideas are compatible, then idea substitution can be done.

    “Here’s A Classic Example Of Idea Substitution…”

    Ideas played over the C major seventh chord:

    …can be played over following chords:

    The A minor seventh chord:

    The F# half-diminished seventh chord:

    The D dominant seventh chord:

    So, instead of restricting specific ideas to specific chords, it’s possible to take the ideas that are associated with a particular chord and substitute other ideas with it.

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

    Idea Transposition Vs Idea Substitution

    Idea transposition and idea substitution are quite related because of the similarity and difference between them.

    The Similarity Between Idea Transposition And Idea Substitution

    Idea transposition and idea substitution are basically concerned with creative ways of applying musical ideas. For example, the ideas associated with the C major seventh chord:

    …can be applied to other chords using the principles of idea transposition and idea substitution.

    “Using The Concept Of Idea Transposition…”

    You can transpose melodic and harmonic ideas associated with the C major seventh chord:

    …to any other major seventh chord in a particular key OR on the keyboard.

    “Using The Concept Of Idea Substitution…”

    The melodic and harmonic ideas associated with the C major seventh chord:

    …can be used to substitute ideas from the following chords:

    The A minor seventh chord:

    The F# half-diminished seventh chord:

    The D dominant seventh chord:

    “You See The Relationship, Don’t You?”

    Whether you’re transposing or substituting, one thing is sure: you’re exploring other creative ways of applying a melodic or harmonic idea.

    Believe it or not, you’ll neither transpose nor substitute ideas if you’re NOT intending to explore other applications of a given melodic or harmonic idea.

    So, considering that idea transposition and idea substitution are done with the same intention, we can say they are similar; more like two different sides of the same coin.

    The Difference Between Idea Transposition And Idea Substitution

    Transposition and substitution are two different approaches that can be used to explore diverse applications of a given melodic or harmonic idea.

    In the concept of transposition where an idea is moved from one position to the other, the transposition is chord based: from a minor chord to a minor chord or from a major chord to a major chord.

    For example, in the key of C major:

    …where there are only two major chords:

    The C major chord (which is the 1-chord):

    The F major chord (which is the 4-chord):

    The concept of idea transposition (which is chord based) from the 1-chord (which is a major chord) limits the transposition of ideas associated with the 1-chord to major chords.

    While the concept of idea substitution gives you the freedom to substitute major chord ideas with ideas from other chord types: minor chords, dominant chords, diminished chords, etc.

    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

    Understanding the relationship between idea transposition and idea substitution is just one of the steps to take while learning ways of creatively exploring the application of melodic and harmonic ideas.

    In a subsequent lesson, we’ll go a step further into learning what I call idea “transpo-substitution” and I know you’ll love to learn about this concept.

    See you then!

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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 the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of 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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