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Thread: A Tri-tone Transitions Table

  1. #1

    A Tri-tone Transitions Table

    I'm big on making tables to express my music theory ideas. so I made this one. Its simple, just choose a starting chord, an ending chord than select a tri-tone that will facilitate such a transition. If you like this one, I have a few dozen other charts I can share for your enjoyment.


    p.s. its zipped...does anyone know how to set it so that one can see the spreadsheet in IE itself?
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Please elaborate

    I looked at your table, not sure I follow.. ? Can you elaborate on it? Thanks in advance, I love working with tritones so this is interesting.. Would like to see your other charts also..

    I am into making charts of this sort also, so I would find interesting. Thanks in advance.
    Joey D




  3. #3
    well, the first column in the starting chord in the progression you want to create (or a smaller progression within a larger progression). In this case, all the starting chords are C (*I usually begin all my charts by just doing C, then either start transposign them, or create an algorithm in excel for it to do it for me).

    Let say you wanted to move from C to G. Just find G on the "ending chord" column (column C), then look for the transitional chord (in column B) that goes between C and G.

    In this case you have two choices: the Gb-C tri-tone and the A-Eb tritone. (of course these are the two tri-tones whch form Cdim7). Experiment with both of these tri-tones to see which fits better in you progression.

    I prefer full, cluster-ish gospel voicings, so I don't mind some dirt, so, at least technically, you can continue to keep the C in your right hand while you drop the tri-tone in your right. Thus, this mini-progression, in gospel notation, would read like this:

    (LH / RH)

    C - G / G - C - E
    A - Eb / C
    G / G - B - D

    ( I chose to go with the second tri-tone available on the tri-tone. I'm not sure if that's the best sounding one, since I'm not at a board right now. )

    Furthermore, in the 4th column (D) marked Transitional Chord name, I tried to "name" this chord that contains a tri-tone in the left hand. I didn't fill them all in, but if you look at cell B23, we see the same tri-tone, which, two cells to the right, in cell D23, I name C6#9. I'm not sure if this is the right name, it is just an attempt at naming it.

    There are a few logical implications if you follow the thinking and the chart:

    1) each tri-tone (though in different inversions) appears four times in column B. which means from C, once you hit a tri-tone in your left hand, you can from here go four different places. Take the tri-tone we just used. We went from C to A-Eb. From here we could go to:

    Db
    E
    G
    Bb

    According to the table. Now, a little more observation will reveal that these are the components of Gdim7 chord. I other words, once you hit a component of the Cdim7 chord (which Eb-A is) you can then "travel" to any other chord which has one of the notes of the Gdim7 as its root.

    In other words, each of the chords you could "go to" from the Eb-A are 3 semitones apart, essentially dividing the octave into 4 quadrants.

    2) I didn't go this far into it in this chart, but it is known that from C to G, Gdim7 is a very nice sounding transition. The Gdim7 is composed of two tri-tones:

    G-Db
    Bb-E

    which means, strangely enough, that between C and G, there are (theoretically) four tri-tones that could be used

    C-Gb
    A-Eb
    G-Db
    Bb-E

    which is strange, because there are only 6 tri-tones, and four of them will work (theoretically) in a I - V change. The trick is finding the one that best fits what you're currently doing.

    3)The Big question is: what do the rest of the starting and ending chords sound like? I mean, if I am using this chart to move from C to Gb, and according to our above observations, there are four tri-tones that theoretically could do it, then which ones sound good for

    Cm to Gb
    C to Gbm
    C to Gbdim7
    etc
    ?

    I have yet to find a principle that governs this usage, though i do have another chart somewhere that expressed chord changes in a completely different way.

    anyway, those are my thoughts on this. thanks for reading
    Last edited by outstretchedarm; 11-08-2006 at 02:11 PM.

  4. #4
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outstretchedarm
    (LH / RH)

    C - G / G - C - E
    A - Eb / C
    G / G - B - D

    ( I chose to go with the second tri-tone available on the tri-tone. I'm not sure if that's the best sounding one, since I'm not at a board right now. )

    Furthermore, in the 4th column (D) marked Transitional Chord name, I tried to "name" this chord that contains a tri-tone in the left hand. I didn't fill them all in, but if you look at cell B23, we see the same tri-tone, which, two cells to the right, in cell D23, I name C6#9. I'm not sure if this is the right name, it is just an attempt at naming it.

    A, Eb, C is a partial F#dim7 chord. F#dim7 is a common chord to use when leading into a G chord. F#dim7 is also a partial D7(b9), so all this falls under the secondary dominant category.

    I think you're making all of those vastly more complicated than it needs to be. Tritones aren't the end all, be all to progressions. There are many times that a tritone is found within a chord but it doesn't pull to resolve to a different chord. For example, on Cmaj9(#11), there is a tritone between the root and the #11, but it doesn't have any strong pull to resolve to Gmaj. Am13 has a tritone between the 3rd and the 13th, but it doesn't have any strong pull to resolve to Gmaj.

    Secondary dominants (and by extention, leading-tone diminished 7th chords) are really what you're talking about here, and all this can be simplified to this. You can precede any chord by it's V chord, or by a dim7 chord a half step below, which is really just a V7(b9) without a root.

  5. #5
    thanks for responding. Noone is saying the tri-tone is the end-all be-all of progresions (I'm aware of other ways of creating progression), but they are helpful to know if you're trying to get a bluesy or gospel sound. I'm therefore going though a phase where I am exploring them in depth.

    I appreciate you tying to simplify it. i think this
    You can precede any chord by it's V chord, or by a dim7 chord a half step below,
    is a very useful way of expressing it.

    I like tables though because I like to see all the possibilities.

    by the way...do I sense a wee-bit of a tone in some of your posts? are you like the alpha-male around here roaming around your territory as theory guru? I make no claims at being a guru, myself, I'm just trying to understand better.

  6. #6
    Jazzman Poparad's Avatar
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    I just think you're overcomplicating things far beyond what they need to be. Can't I disagree with something without being accused of having some sort of agenda?


    From a purely logistical standpoint, if an approach yeilds as much unusuable results (i.e., chords that don't really work as you would have predicted they would) as usable ones, then the approach probably has too much going on.

    By using every single tritone as an approach chord, even through a tritone is not the most or only important aspect of an approach chord, you'll inevitably end up with some chords that do not work well as approach chords.
    Last edited by Poparad; 11-08-2006 at 04:50 PM.

  7. #7
    fair enough. thanks for the feedback.

  8. #8
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Two tritones-please explain

    Diminished 7 chords have two tritones.... C Eb Gb Bbb

    C to Gb is a tritone

    Eb to Bbb (A) is also a tritone.

    That always confuses me. I mean, I understand what a tritone is and that you can use either dominant 7 chord off of one tritone, hence, the b5 sub rule.

    Can anyone explain how I should approach the fact that a dim 7 chord has two completely different tritones in it. Does this mean that there are 4 different possible dominant 7 subs? PLease help, thanx in advance.
    Joey D




  9. #9
    Registered User SeattleRuss's Avatar
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    outstretchedarm wrote:
    thanks for responding. Noone is saying the tri-tone is the end-all be-all of progresions (I'm aware of other ways of creating progression), but they are helpful to know if you're trying to get a bluesy or gospel sound.
    With all due respect, I think it's always a great thing to investigate ideas and your following through with making this chart isn't a bad thing. I'm sure you had the best of intentions when you posted it. But -

    If the chart's purpose is to aid in getting a "bluesy or gospel sound", I think it's way overcomplicated and misses it's mark. These sorts of concepts are not what's going through the minds of experienced musicians. If a man wants directions to a streetcorner located a mile away, I wouldn't show him a route that goes to Cleveland first.

    Your comments to Mr. Poparad are not cool. He gave you good sound advice and you should consider yourself lucky. He is a world-class educator and gives much of his time selflessly in this forum and several other answering questions, often going extremely in depth.

    When new to a forum, it's a good idea to read through the archives, do a bit of lurking in order to get a feel for the place instead of barging in and putting your foot in your mouth.

  10. #10
    whatever dude. I'm not a second class citizen anywhere I go. What I said wasn't disrespectful. I thought I detected a tone, so I addressed it.

  11. #11
    Registered User SeattleRuss's Avatar
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    whatever dude.
    Like...uh...woaaah....totally....

    I'm not a second class citizen anywhere I go.
    ????? That's outta left field....

    What I said wasn't disrespectful.
    Yes it was. Refering to Poparad as a "roaming alpha-male" did sound exactly complimentary.

    I thought I detected a tone, so I addressed it.
    Perhaps you could point out the part of Poparad's post that contained a "tone". I re-read it and found only helpful, *polite* and right-on-the-money information.

    FWIW, this is about as "toneful" as you'll ever see me get in a public forum and I really like to be on the positive side of things but man - Poparad is probably the least deserving person on this forum of your attitude.

    I'm done.

  12. #12
    thank you

  13. #13
    Ibreathe Follower Kinoble's Avatar
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    Whooa. Lets all take a breather. Im finding this thread very interesting, if slightly futile .

    Like its been mentioned before, i think theyre are too many variables to consider when deeming a chord 'tense', with 'voicings' playing a major part. Yet i think if there could be some useful information to be pulled out.

    Keep posting up and see where it goes?

    Ben
    Last edited by Kinoble; 11-08-2006 at 08:29 PM.

  14. #14
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyd929
    Diminished 7 chords have two tritones.... C Eb Gb Bbb

    C to Gb is a tritone

    Eb to Bbb (A) is also a tritone.

    That always confuses me. I mean, I understand what a tritone is and that you can use either dominant 7 chord off of one tritone, hence, the b5 sub rule.

    Can anyone explain how I should approach the fact that a dim 7 chord has two completely different tritones in it. Does this mean that there are 4 different possible dominant 7 subs? PLease help, thanx in advance.
    One dim7 chord can stand for 4 different dom7 chords.

    Eg Cdim7 can sub for B7, D7, F7 and Ab7.
    So - seems to me - it would be logical for those 4 dom7s to be interchangeable (if this is what you're getting at). However it doesn't quite work like that.
    In practice, 2 of the dom7s are interchangeable - the tritone sub pairs.
    So if we want to resolve to (say) E (or Em), we can use either B7 or F7 - because each chord contains the same tritone (D#-A / Eb-A). But D7 and Ab7 don't - so they wouldn't be used to resolve to E.
    You do often see (at least in jazz) a D7 chord resolving to E(maj7). But it seems to act more like a sub for the minor iv (Am6) than for the V.

    In fact, the tritone sub chords aren't completely interchangeable. (Again I'm talking jazz usage here).
    E.g., B7 and F7 will both resolve either to E or Bb.
    But if we're going to E, then the B7 is likely to be an altered dominant, while the F7 will be lydian dominant (7#11). Going Bb, it will be vice versa.
    IOW, V = altered, bII = lydian dominant.

  15. #15
    Wordgirl: Jaded Musician jade_bodhi's Avatar
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    other thought

    Hi guys:

    I'm sorry about the misunderstandings here. It's easy to get the wrong idea in such a hurried medium for communicating. You guys are great, though. I thank outstretchedarm for taking the trouble to make the chart and post it. That was a nice thing to do. And Poparad, I must agree with Russ, is a knowledgeable musician who's advice is always good and clear. He's answered my amateurish questions without making me feel dumb for asking. So you both are okay with me.

    You all are beyond my knowledge of theory, so give a girl a break here. Here's my question: I've noticed that diminished chords on my guitar can be reproduced on every third fret WITHOUT HAVING TO MOVE MY FINGERS. Whoa! Why is that? That goes against what I thought I knew about transposing from one key to another. And is this phenomenon related to the info in outstretchedarm's chart? What is the nature of a diminished chord? If the I, IV, V chords are the primary colors of music, what color would a diminshed chord be?

    Please make your answer appropriate for me, a novice at theory. Thanks, guys.

    Jade.
    Nobody ever shared
    what we have known...

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