IIm-V Substitution

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IIm-V Substitution
Part VIII


Replacing a dominant seventh chord by the “IIm-V” progression is referred to as a “IIm-V” substitution. In jazz, there seems to be an unwritten rule that says that all dominant seventh chords must be replaced in this manner. The first example below shows a folk progression transformed into a jazz progression using this type of substitution.

Original Progression

C / / // / / / G7 / / / / / / /

Substitute Progression (IIm-V for V)

C / / // / / / Dm7 / / / G7 / / /

The “IIm-V” progression can also be inserted a half step above or below another “IIm-V” progression as shown in the examples below creating a chromatic “IIm-V” embellishment. This can also be looked at as a half step substitution with the additional “IIm-V” substitutions.

Original Progression

Dm7 / / // / / / G7 / / / / / / /

Substitute Progression (Half Step from Above #1)

Ebm7 / / /Ab7 / / / Dm7 / / / G7 / / /

Substitute Progression (Half Step from Below #2)

Dbm7 / / /Gb7 / / / Dm7 / / / G7 / / /

Similarly, replacing a dominant seventh chord by a “bVII-V” progression in this manner is common in country music. (Excerpt from Chord Progressions For Songwriters)


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