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Thread: Chords and their substitution ones in diatonic scale songs

  1. #1
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    Default Chords and their substitution ones in diatonic scale songs

    Diatonic scales are major scale and it’s relative natural minor and other moods like dorian etc.
    I keep things simple as possible and talk only in terms C/Am in here. What is also most natural one to ukulele players, thinking in C.

    The chords are in C/Am:
    C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am and Bdim triad.
    I ii iii, IV, V, vi, vii in degree notation that will apply to all scales, what ever the root.

    But I want here talk about diatonic 4 note chords and substituting them to their 3 note chords.
    They are Cmaj7, Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7, Am7, Bm7b5.

    In songs the Dm7 is often used and it’s substitution chord is F, Two scale steps up is always your possible sub chord. And usually works. Just misses the root note.

    Sometimes in your songbook/sheet/internet there is Dm written and it does not sound really right to the tune. It could be that the chord is stupidly simplified from Dm7 and F is a really better choice than Dm. Something like from ultimate guitar site or wherever.

    The nature of all these 4 note three diatonic minor 7th chords is to add major sound twist to the harmony. Em7 can be substituted with G, and Am7 to C usually.

    The minor 7th chords are easy to play with our ukulele in all 12 keys, so no need to substitute if the original chord sounds better. But sometimes the sub chord will really work better.

    To use 4 note chords is not many times preferable to simple major and minor chords. Iz songs or my finnish folksongs most times like just keep things simple and harmonization clear. Most notable exception is 5th degree dominant 7th, G7. I usually like it over just G.

    The nature of maj7 chords is to add a minor flavor to the chord. Cmaj7 can be replaced with Em and Fmaj7 with Am. Remember always 2 steps upper the scale.

    The maj7 chords are somewhat harder to know the easy fingering. Not Cmaj7 of course
    Then you can decide if say play F or Am, what sounds better.

    Good source to find almost all fingerings to chords is https://ukebuddy.com/ukulele-chords
    The reason is that it is in my understanding a computer based program, but somehow excluding too hard fingerings. No mutings or such stuff that would be necessary for 6 string guitar.

    I does not give imcomplete 4 note chords like F7 2310, missing the 5th that is usually not so important, except when it is.

    The hawaiian D7 2020, is actually F# dim triad, it is a substition of 5th degree chord leaving the root note out. It is another one that can’t be found from ukebuddy site if you search D7 fingerings.
    Only complete 4 note chords.


    Another interesting subject besides these substition chords are secondary dominant chords. Chords that are not diatonic to the scale, but instead dominants (5th degree)ones to a diatonic chord.

    This information post I wanted share what I have learned in my quite basic knowledge of chord theory. Oh and also the 3rd degree chord can often be E(7) in the key of C/Am because of the harmonic minor scale or the secondary dominant thing to Am. The first thing I think more myself likely in that case. But this thread is kept simple and only about diatonic tunes harmonization, from my part, feel free to add more complexity in it
    Last edited by Jarmo_S; 08-18-2019 at 01:57 AM.

  2. #2
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    I've been watching this playlist but haven't bought the app yet. This is mind blowing stuff if you're into reharmonization:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...grlr5f2Sj5qVDf
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3
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    My guitar book says that if the chords are all triads, the song is easy. But tension chords are difficult and substitute chords make them easier.

    On piano, triads are always easier than 7th chords, which have 4 tones. I've checked substitute chords on ukulele and guitar (see the figure below). In our instruments, substitutions are not always easier. Because we have to manage all of the strings, even we don't need, we often have same tone on two strings.


  4. #4
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    Bill1 and yahalele, when muting the G string root in G7, the chord is B diminished triad.

  5. #5
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    In terms of chord substition I would never use that B dim chord for G7, other not so unambiguos name is Bmb5. B dim is often confused with Bdim7. I think asterix mark usually means the chord that is the latter, and also in spoken terms of the dimished chord. The infamous flavor chord that is so easy to play with our ukes.

    But many do use diminished triad for D7, F#dim I mean, 2020. Sometimes it works just fine, most times it won’t, in my opinion.

    I need that G root of G7 in C. It is a weak chord in C, that B dim. The 1, 4 and 5 chords are important. And then 2,3 and 6 minor chords. The seventh degree I don’t care.

    In minor Am various scales based tunes, we need consider also harmonic and melodic minor besides natural, we encounter that Bm7b5 and sometimes your Bm too in melodic minor, Bill1 and yahalele. In a much more important role. So then Bm7b5 chord becomes important. It is the second degree chord.

    The other name for Bm7b5 is Dm6 often found in songbooks. It is not theoretically as correct in chord harmonization terms. But if it is written so, I many times out of laziness to cramp all my fingers for 2212, I instead play the x212, omitting the 5th in Dm6. The chord namer part in ukebuddy site will help, if all this sounds too confusing to you guys and girls.

    Then x212 works when that certainly is not so much so for G7 substititution

  6. #6
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    Substitutions have rules (see the figure below). The arrows are one ways. There is no opposite directions.


  7. #7
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    Thank you yahalele fo the pictures. The circle of fifths is so important. Not only does it show that F/Dm and G/Em are closely related to C/am. It shows in your red sector also all the basic 6 chords in C.

    So shifting the sector we guys can find them in any key,

    I myself don’t look up to that circle anymore. I have learned basic chord progressions in all 12 keys, in uke.

    Guitar, in my opinion is not that suited as an instruction tool. The bass strings bring complications and you need to bring the capo in, or just barre many times 6 or 5 strings without. So I must say I have learned a lot more about music theory/play with ukulele.

    Putting capo on 3rd fret with guitar and learning the real chords there, is in my opinion one good way to play in flat keys.

  8. #8
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    About my post in #6, that dim7 chord, it is marked with degree symbol often, NOT asterix mark like I sayed. It is only "diatonic" in meaning it like that in harmonic minor scale, containing only scale notes. In 7th degree. All else cases it is usually a flavor chord.

    In most popular music it is in my opinion wrong to write anything else than the 4 note chords, and then to know what is the real root when something like with Dm6 in A minor when the real root is B. So to play just the minor triad Dm in our songs sometimes won't work so well.

    Some really simple music like hard rock often even leaves the 3rd out, many times in chording. Just the added distortion that sort of compensates lol.

    Blues is also a simple music style originally with !,4 and 5 chords of the major scale basically only.
    BB king a master soloist propably could not even know many chords in it.

    The problem is when it evolved into jazz that is very much harmonically more complex, the simple paradigma sort of remained. 12 bar blues base based on those 3 chords.

    I don’t know about jazz in terms of harmony, but I wonder if all cats just think in terms of those 3 blues chords? It is to me very dificult to understand why the need to speak about more than 4 note chords. I have only a book called Wes Montgomery jazz guitar method and all it has mostly are just 4 note chords, by Jimmy Stewart. But some are yes also 9th or even 13th chords as written. I wonder if they need be so, instead more simply written.

    Tthis burst because of the recent very complex post by ripock in his thread. Now I just return back to my simple popular songs I try sing with my uke accompaniment

  9. #9
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    Wow, Yahalele. Thanks for this graphic.

    I'm just a happy plunker, and this makes a lot of sense in what I hear in many types of music.

    -Wiggy
    Last edited by Wiggy; 08-26-2019 at 02:34 AM.

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