How To Create Unlimited Original Chord Progressions Using Chord Substitutions

Technique #2: The "m7 down a 4th for 7th" Chord Substitution

The "m7 down a 4th for 7th" technique is another of the best ways to create a fresh harmonization of a familiar melody.

Here's the deal:

For any 7th chord,
substitute a minor 7th chord a perfect 4th lower,
if the melody will tolerate it.

For example, the 2nd chord in Silent Night (if we play it in the key of C) is the G7 chord. So we simply go down a perfect 4th from G -- which is D -- and we build a minor 7th chord. The melody at that point is "D", so there's no conflict between the melody and the chord. So it works. After playing Dm7, we can go back to G7. We have just made the song more interesting.

If you're not sure what chord is a perfect 4th below a 7th, here's a chord substitution chart that will help you. You might want to print it out and keep it on your music rack on your piano:

7thChord: C7 F7 G7 D7 A7 E7 B7 Db7 Eb7 Ab7 Gb7 Bb7
m7chord sub: Gm7 Cm7 Dm7 Am7 Em7 Bm7 F#m7 Abm7 Bbm7 Ebm7 Dbm7 Fm7


Get the idea?

This page updated on March 26, 2019.