It sounds cool!Hi,
Probably this topic has been issued, but anyway, why would I do a tritone substitute?
I would agree with you on all of that, Pete. At least from my own perspective. Especially from the standpoint of playing the sax, on which we obviously can only play one note at a time. The one exception (sort of) would be something like the turnaround example I gave, where I might simply play the descending chromatic line on the chord roots (2 of which are tritone subs) and even then, I'm not really thinking of the chords, just the chromatic line.All good suff, but as an improvising saxophone player, I would rarely consciously think of "using" a tritone substitute. Or rather I wouldn't think of it like that.
...if I am playing of a C7, I would never consciously think "this is F#7". I may well pay a C# (Db), or A#( Bb), but I would just try to use them as melodic chromatic notes and still be thinking C7 (or rather, C7 with Gb and Db).
So even if I happened to just play a straight arpeggio of F# A# C# and E, I wouldn't call it a tritone sub or F# or Gb7 - they would just be the notes I chose to play on C7.
Good point. And that's basically what I was saying regarding iii-bIII7-ii-bII7-I. But in these cases it's the root movement that takes the "shortest/easiest route" from one chord to the next. Actually if you sit at the piano and play Dm to G7 to C, without using a tritone sub, but using good voice leading, the route is just as short and easy as with the tritone. Only two notes move by step or half step from one chord to the next.A so-called tri-tone substitution is very easily understood if you sit at the piano and play a II V I. Dm to G7 To C for instance. If you then play the "tri-tone substitution" you will very quickly realise that all you are doing is going from Dm to Db7 to C. So you are taking the shortest/easiest route from D to C. That's all it is. As to why you would play it, that's the same answer as to why you would play anything, you like the sound.
Whether you think Db7 or G7b5b9 or whether you think at all (I prefer not to...) ultimately it's the sound. Practice is one thing, and understanding how "altered" tones work sonically in various contexts is a necessary part of understanding how music works. So you can think Db7 or G7b5b9 as you choose, it shouldn't make any difference to the outcome in terms of what you play. But performance is a different thing altogether and we should play by sound alone, in light of which the question doesn't arise.So can someone who "uses" tritone substitutes when improvising on a saxophone (as opposed to rhythm section accompanists or arranges who use them to substitute chords in the backing) please explain to me the point?
I'm not trying to be funny, I understand exactly what tritone substitutes are*, it's just that I don't see the relevance to improvising against an existing sequence.
ie, if the band is playing G7, how does it help to be thinking Db7, when you could just be thinking "use a b5 and a b9 with that G7?"
It seems to me that changing the chord in your brain is an unnecessary step on the path the to creativity.
* Derived form a classical German 6th, where the 5th is flattened and drooped to the root)
But then it’s just a altered chord. And yes that sounds good too.Whether or not it is a tritone substitute Db7 doesn't have a G. But when improvising, G makes perfect sense with Db7 as it would just be an alteration or what we sometimes call a blue note (b5)
When you say "you play Db7" this is what I don't get6. ie if you play the notes of Db7, that is Db F, Ab and Cb (B). So when you play a tritone substitute (when improvising) are saying it only applies if you play an arpeggio of the chord that is the tritone substitute?I think the fun of playing a tritone is that you switch the keycenter. So if the piano player is playing G7 to C, you can play Db7 (like if you are in the key of Gb) to C
I'm not so sure you've switched the key center when you resolve that Db7 chord to C. You're still playing in the key of C. And, along the lines of what Pete is saying, I really don't see any reason or advantage in suddenly deciding the key center has switched to Gb, when you are playing in C. Seems like an unnecessary complication.I think the fun of playing a tritone is that you switch the keycenter. So if the piano player is playing G7 to C, you can play Db7 (like if you are in the key of Gb) to C
+1. Maybe it's important to distinguish between playing an improvised line on the sax (or even guitar or piano) from playing actual chords, comping on a keyboard or guitar.There is so much more to improvising than just playing chord notes as arpeggios.