Tritones

You are welcome to the tritones dedicated page.
Note: All examples given here are in the key of C
There are several ways in which you can use the tritone to "phaten" up your playing viz:

  • Passing Tone
  • Root of the Chord
  • Chord Substitutions


Passsing Tone
In order to be able to use tritones for your passing tones you must have mastered your tritones very well.
One very good way to slot in a tritone as a passing tone is to play half steps up or down, chromatically to the designated chord.
For example, in playing a 6 - 2 - 4 - 5 - 1 progression you could use this
LH - [A E] RH - [G B C E] - 6
LH - [C# G] RH - [C F A] , LH - [C F#] RH - [B E Ab] - (Passing Tone - Tritone) - 2
LH - [C E A] RH - [C E G] - 4
LH - [F A B E] RH - [Ab B E G] - 5
LH - [C E] RH - [A D G] - 1 (Ditone)


Notice that in the chord 2 progression I moved a half step down with the tritone.

Let me now explain the tritone.
The first tritone is the tritone substitution for either chord 6 or chord 3 flat and the second tritone substitution is the chord for either chord 2 or 6 flat. In the above example, it is substituted for chord 2. That is to let you know that in substituting a tritone for a chord 2 you would usually use that example.

Let me give you another example that involves chord 2.

LH - [D A] RH - [G A C E], LH - [C F#] RH - [B E Ab] (Tritone)

Another very good way to slot in tritones as passing tones is to play them keeping the melody in mind.
Now let me show you a good way to progress to chord 4 by using the tritone to play a simple melody. The melody is F M R D >>>> Chord 4

LH - [A Eb] RH - [Ab C# F] - 7
LH - [Ab D] RH - [G C E] - 3
LH - [Ab D] RH - [F Bb D] - 5
LH - [E Bb] RH - [E G C] - 1 >>>> [Chord 4]


For the above example, the bass line is - B E G C >>>> F


The example is also a little bit different to the other examples. You must have noticed that the left hand part of the 2nd and 3rd chords are the same. This is where I tell you that you can play a single tritone with your left hand while you move your major chords up or down chromatically. There is a particular one that you would hear regularly in gospel music. It is a passing tone to chord 6. Here it is:

LH - [Ab D] RH - [G C E G]
LH - [Ab D0 RH - [F Bb D F], *[G C E]
LH - [G B C E] RH - [G B D]


Another passing tone to chord 6:

LH - [G C#] RH - [F# B Eb] - 3
LH - [Ab D] RH - [G C E] - 3
LH - [G B C E] RH - [D G B D] - 6


The 3rd chord above might seem difficult to play at first but with time you'll master it and you'll be able to use it efficiently.


Root of the Chord
You can use a tritone as the root of a chord(i.e a chord 1, 2, 3, etc) in a couple of ways. This is a good way in which I use it. In this instance you can begin a song with this tritone. Here it is:

LH - [E Bb] RH - [E G C]

Let me now give you other tritones that you can use for a chord 1. In the example I'll be showing you now, you would use the chord 1 tritones as a turn around, for example or you can play it when playing passing tones. Here are the chords:

LH - [Bb E] RH - [A C# E]
LH - [C E Bb] RH - [E A C# E]
LH - [E Bb] RH - [Eb Ab C]

Nice chord 1s there...

Now I'll give you tritones as roots to other chords

Chord 2 >>>> LH - [C F#] RH - [B E Ab]

Chord 5 >>>> LH - [F B] RH - [E Ab B E]

Chord 6 >>>> LH - [C# G] RH - [C F A C] OR [C# E A]

Chord 7 >>>> LH - [A Eb] RH - [Ab C# F] OR [A C F]

Chord Substitutions

If you have seen all the pages of this blog then you have already seen several tritone substitutions but I will give you a list of them with their various chord numbers.
They are in the key of C

Chord No. Left Hand Right Hand
Chord 1 E Bb E G C
Bb E A C# E A
E Bb Eb Ab C
Chord 2 F# C E Ab B E
Chord 3 D Ab C# F# Bb, D F Bb
Ab D G C E or (*F Bb D F)
Chord 4 Eb A D G B D or (*C F A C
Chord 5 F B E Ab B E or (*Bb Eb G)
Chord 6 C# G C F A C or C# E A
Chord 7 A Eb Ab C# F or A C F

Common Tritone Progressions

Progression 1 on the key of C

D A E / F A C E - 2
Eb A / D G B D^ - 4 or 7
E B E / G B D G - 3
A E / G C E G - 6


Progression 2 on the key of C

G D - F A C E - 5
F B - E Ab B E - 5

C G D / E B E - 1