Half-Step Substitution

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Half-Step Substitution
Part VII


Inserting a chord a half step above or below another chord is referred to as a half-step substitution. A diminished seventh chord is frequently used as a passing chord between two other chords creating chromatic ascending or descending bass line progressions such as the first example below. The second and third examples create interesting walking bass lines by approaching each chord of the progression from a half step above. The last example approaches each chord from a half step below.

(1) Original Progression

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

Substitute Progression (Ascending Chromatic Bass Line)

C / / /C#o7 / / / Dm7 / / / D#o7 / / /

(2) Original Progression

Cmaj7 / / /Am7 / / / Dm7 / / / G7 / / /

Substitute Progression (Half Step From Above)

Cmaj7 / / Bbm7Am7 / / Ebm7 Dm7 / / Ab7 G7 / / Db7

(3) Original Progression

C7 / / /A7 / / / D7 / / / G7 / / /

Substitute Progression (Half Step from Above)

C7 / / Bb7A7 / / Eb7 D7 / / Ab7 G7 / / Db7

(4) Original Progression

Cmaj7 / / /A7 / / / Dm7 / / / G7 / / /

Substitute Progression (Half Step from Below)

Cmaj7 / / Ab7A7 / / Db7 Dm7 / / Gb7 G7 / / B7


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