*Advanced Piano Chord Substitutions

If you have read *How to Harmonize a Melody and were looking for additional piano chords to harmonize the melody, then this is the right place. If you don’t want the standard major, minor, and seventh piano chords as the harmonizing chords, but would rather create a harmony with a different texture, then piano chords substitutions are your answer. Chords substitutions are related chords that substitute for the standard chords and are used to create more complex piano chord progressions.

Examples of Chord Substitutions

Generally, the piano chord that is substituting for the standard chord has at least two notes in common. For example, if you have a C major chord harmonizing the melody, then A minor and E minor make good chord substitutions for the C major chord because they have two related notes. A minor has the C and the E in common with the C major chord, and the E minor chord has the E and the G in common. When creating a composition, if you are constantly using the same chord progressions, try using some chord substitutions to mix up the harmony. Chord substitutions for minor chords are similar to the chord substitutions for major chords. 

  The purpose of substituted chord is to create an increase in tension while fulfilling the harmonic role of the original chord. 

To that end, the substituted chord is very similar to the standard chord, having at least two notes in common. For example, if we had an A minor chord and wanted to substituted that A minor chord with another chord, then we could either choose the F major chord or the C major chord, because these two chords have two notes in common.

Seventh Chords for Chord Substitutions

Occasionally seventh chords are also used. Seventh chords substitute for regular chords in the same fashion as minor and major chord substitutions. The replacing seventh chord is related by having two notes in common with the replaced chord. Substituting seventh chords create more tension than both the major and minor chord substitution, and consequently are occasionally used to rise towards the climax of a melodic phrase. The replacing seventh chord can be any of the three seventh chords; they can be minor, major or dominant seventh chords. To learn more about seventh chords please visit *How to use 7th Chords in Compositions.

Piano chords substitutions are an advanced technique not normally employed by popular artists today. They require expert craftsmen to seamlessly enter them into a piano composition. However, if they are used correctly, they can add new depth and complexity to your piano compositions. Have fun with piano chord substitutions.