Electronic Musician

Diatonic chord substitution

If you’ve ever wanted a phrase perfect for impressing people, you’d have to go pretty far to beat ‘diatonic chord substitution.’ In reality though, it’s not that tricky a concept to get around, so let’s break it down into its constituent parts to figure it out.

In a musical sense, the term ‘diatonic’ means ‘belonging to,’ so we’re dealing with chords made up of notes that belong to the parent scale of the key we’re working in. For a lot of musical styles, the diatonic system is a great way to organise melodies and harmonies into patterns that are pleasing to the ear, but with such a limited palette of chords

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