Tip #21 – Substitute Dominant!

Hey, if this works in jazz music, why not in other styles of music?

To explain what a substitute dominant chord (or “tritone-sub” as it is also called – which you will see & recognize why later), take a cadential V7 – I progression:

Now, erase everything except for the tritone of the V7 chord:

If you recall, a tritone can be spelled both a d5 as well as a A4 interval. Keeping that in mind, flip the tritone upside-down. From there, you might have to respell in an enharmonic.

Finally, fill in these bare bones with what can be made as a dominant chord. As you can see, the substitute dominant acts as a bII7/I and that can be your shortcut to getting to it.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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