Minor 7 Tritone Subs?

Question by Anonymous

On the Chord Substitution page , you start with a chord progression, Em7-A7-Dm7-G7-Cmaj7, and you derive four other progressions via substitution.

I don’t understand how you get the progressions Bb7-A7-Ab7-G7-Cmaj7 and the next one after that. Both require changing a minor 7 chord into a dominant chord a tritone away.

What step or steps do you follow to do that? Thanks! Extremely clear site by the way. Very very helpful. I’m studying every page! This one item is the only thing I haven’t been able to follow.

M-A’s Answer:

A little further in the article, I talk about “changing the color” of the chords. That is, simply changing chord qualities to fit what you prefer. This is the “simple way” to see this …

Furthermore, in theory we get

from Em7-A7-Dm7-G7 take the first and third chords and make them dominants, so the series of chords is simply part of the circle of fourths like this :


Now, take the first and third chords again and use tritone sub to get this :



It looks odd because it’s strictly chromatically descending, but all the necessary “gravity” is respected. If you look at the image on the page again, you’ll see that there’s a red circle around the chords that were substituted for their tritone.

The word here, I think, is RESOLUTION : Em7 does go to A7 (it’s a simple II-V) but both E7 AND Bb7 also resolve to A7.

You can apply the same idea to get the next one :



all of this tritone subbed :


Isn’t that nice?! (-:

Please, let me know if you have any further questions by leaving a comment here on this page.

Marc-Andre Seguin
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