How To Create Unlimited Original Chord Progressions Using Chord Substitutions

Technique "Half-Step Slide" Chord Substitution

The "half-step slide" technique is another of the best ways to create a fresh harmonization of a familiar melody. Here's how it works:

Slide into the target chord by playing the chord 1/2 step above or below it.

For example, the 2nd chord in Silent Night (if we play it in the key of C) is the G7 chord. So we play the chord 1/2 step above G7 -- which is Ab7 -- and "slide into" G7. The next chord after that is C, so we can play Db 7 right before C if you want to. Then the next chord -- the target chord -- is F, so 1/2 step above F is Gb7, and we can slide into F by playing that first. Could we slide up instead of slide down? Sure -- it just depends on the melody note -- sometimes a slide up sounds better with the melody, and sometimes a slide down sounds better with the melody. We have to do some trial and error to find out, but once we find what works, we can use it over and over. So by doing this we have just made the song a lot more interesting.

Get the idea?

So now we have learned 3 of the most powerful chord substitution techniques known to man (or women, for that matter):

1. The "Into what other chord will this melody note fit?" technique.

2. The "m7 down a 4th for 7th" technique.

3. The "half-step slide"technique.

This page updated on March 26, 2019.