1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Tri To Help Me

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by footprints89, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Could anyone give an easy explanation of Tri-tones? I understand it means three whole steps, and I usually think of them in b5's. Could someone give an example in C, and breakdown how it's functioning? Big thanks in advance!
  2. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    From a chord standpoint, think of dominants; root, 3rd 7th

    C7: C - E - Bb

    The tri-tone/b5/#4 of C is F#

    F#7: F# - Bb - E

    The 3rd of the original chord becomes the 7th of the new chord
    The 7th of the original chord becomes the 3rd of the new chord

    You've added a very bluesy b5 to the original chord and moved the bass note, changing the root movement of the composition
  3. your question is not exactly clear. Are you looking for an explanation of the tritone interval, i.e. C to F#/Gb, or a tritone substitution, as explained above.
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Agree this he question isn't all that clear and I made an assumption. I could have made two other assumptions, one of which would have led to an explanation of George Russel's Lydian Chromatic theory, which I didn't have in me today. The other, might lead to a discussion on theology, which I'm pretty sure is against the board rules, but I'll post a link:

  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I love the tri-tone, hence the handle.

    The tri-tone is nothing more than a flat 5th, it is just another name for it. That is the interval.

    If your referring to a tri-tone sub, well it means you can sub a V for its tri-tone. Since my explanation sucks, basically if you were doing a II-V-I in G you could sub the D7 for for Ab/G# dim.

    Once I finish typing I realize I suck at explaining this... stick with Tonys explanation

    EDIT: Troy's explanation... sorry I was on the phone dealing with an Anthony all day.... :D
  6. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    The tri-tone is nothing more than a flat 5th, it is just another name for it. That is the interval.

    I can't help but think of Dixieland guitarist Eddie Condon's comment regarding bebop musicians: They flat their fifths; we drink them. :bag:
  7. Yeah. Tony knows his tri-tones. What a cool name. Little Tony and the Tritones.
  8. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, that Tony's a sweet kid with a good head on his shoulders.
  9. Basta....Basta....you know his mama made the best pasta fazool! Of course he has a good head on his shoulders. He comes from a good family. I just can't stand the fact he rides around the neighborhood on that little Piaggio.
  10. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Tritone? Eh, fuhgeddaboudit.
  11. I kind of understand where you're coming from, but not quite. Wouldn't the chord standpoint be D-, G7, Cmaj? One measure of D-, one of G7, and two of Cmaj. So once the Tri-tone is added what changes? could you explain measure-by-measure. Thanks for all the responses!
  12. 4/4|D- |Db7 |CMaj |

    or |D-9 |Db13 |CMaj.9 |
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It just means that instead of jumping up to the V, you make a smooth chromatic transition downwards - which as the bass player, you might be playing already without thinking about it in that way!
  14. IIRC back in the day regarding the music of the Renaissance I learned... which is diatonic and melody based...

    An interval of a tritone is really what the name implies, three-tones. That is an augmented fourth. ie. C (D) (E) up to F# . A diminished fifth is not a proper tri-tone as it has two whole tones, and two semi-tones. ie.C (Db)(Eb)(F) Gb. Of course the interval could sound the same but the filler notes in the scale means that diatonically, one must resolve it differently.

    Nowadays, not many people make or keep this distinction, and will use the tritone name for a diminished fifth interval. Music is not as diatonic as it was before. :-0
  15. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    A tritone substitution is the substitution of a dominant chord for the dominant chord a tritone away. So, as ChuckCorbisiero noted above, in your example, you would substitute a Db7 for the G7. The substitution works because the third and the seventh of the G7 chord are the same notes* as the seventh and the third of the Db7 chord.

    (*Strictly speaking, the seventh of the Db7 chord is a Cb, which is enharmonically equivalent to the third of the G7 chord.)
  16. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Granted, but this violates Tony's Rule of Notation #18, which clearly states that anyone who passes out a lead sheet with a Cb on it, must be punched in the stomach during the set break.

    No one wants that kind of trouble.
  17. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Show a little respect. Pasta fagioli.
  18. I got the concept with ChuckCorbisiero's explanation, but Febs helped me understand what was actually happening. Big thanks to everyone for the input; all questions answered!

Share This Page