Posts Tagged ‘major chord’

How to Add Chord Substitutions: Final Lesson

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Time to apply what was taught in lessons one through four on “How to Add Chord Substitutions”.

The following visual aid of the C Major scale and its chords will be helpful for this lesson!


Notice once again:  The Major chords above are indicated by an upper case Roman numeral.  The lower case Roman numeral indicates a minor chord.

Now for the fun part!…You’re about to learn how to find chord substitutions!

The bottom line:  The three major chords listed above in the key of C: I, IV and V can be substituted with a minor chord. How do do this?

Look for a minor chord that has at least two notes in common with a major chord.  For example:  A iii chord (EGB)  has two notes in common with the I chord (CEG).  That means….a iii chord can replace a I chord in the right setting.

Ok….can you find the other minor chord that has two notes in common with the C (I) chord?  Yes!  the vi (ACE)

Your Quiz:

1. Find the two minor chords that have two notes in common with the IV chord.

2. How about the two minor chords that are compatible with the V chord?


So…when to use the chord substitutions?  When a major chord lasts for two or more beats…there is time to use a minor chord substitution!  The melody note also dictates which substituted chord will sound right. (Hint: The left hand plays the chord substitution and the right hand may have to alter the alto note to match the substituted chord. (When playing from the hymnal)

*Special note:  (Observation from one of my readers)…Just go up or down two chords from a Major chord to find its minor chord substitutions.  (Thanks Victoria!)

I will provide visual examples in the next article!


How to Add Chord Substitutions: Lesson Four

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Answers to Lesson Three’s Assignment on Major and minor 3rds:

D flat to F  (Major 3rd)

C to E flat   (minor 3rd)

G# to B       (minor 3rd)

B to D#       (Major 3rd)

Now that you’ve learned Major and minor 3rds…you’re ready to apply this knowledge to the scale-based triads of any Major scale.

For ease of application, I’ll use the scale-based triads of the C Major scale listed below.


Notice that the triads either have an upper case or lower case roman numeral. Upper case indicates Major chord and lower case means minor chord. All Major scales have the same chord numbers.

For example, in G Major (which has one sharp)…the I chord would still be a Major chord and the ii chord would be minor, etc.

Now for applying your knowledge of major and minor 3rds…

1.  A Major chord consists of a Major 3rd plus a minor 3rd. For example: the 1st chord in the C scale (I) is a C chord (CEG).  From C to E is 4 half steps and from E to G is 3 half steps.

Remember: a minor 3rd consists of 3 half steps and a Major 3rd consists of 4 half steps.

So…from C to E is a Major 3rd and E to G is a minor 3rd.  A Major 3rd plus a minor 3rd = a Major chord!

2.  The minor chord ingredients are  just the opposite of a Major chord….a minor 3rd plus a Major 3rd = a minor chord!

  (See Lesson Three for more details)

With the knowledge learned in lessons one through four….you will be able to learn some VERY EASY chord substitutions! Can’t wait for the next lesson! The fun will begin 🙂  Review lessons one through four so you’ll be ready!  See links below for each lesson:

Lesson One

Lesson Two

Lesson Three


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