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Gypsy Chord Substitutions

stuckinkansasstuckinkansas KansasNew
edited February 2005 in Welcome Posts: 55
First of all, I would like to say thank you to everyone involved in making this forum happen. It seems as if being interested in studying this style of music makes a person a rarity. I think it's great that a the "gypsy community" has a place to go to ask questions. Being a "gadjo" I was not born into this style of music, but I have been playing, or trying to play I should say, it for 2 years now. My question is this....
I notice ever time I see a video of gypsy players, i.e. Bireli, Romane, Tchavolo, they are doing a ton of chord substitutions. Are there common chord substitutions for certain progressions? Like if the progression is i,vi, ii, v or whatever. This could be a really dumb question, as I don't have any formal musical training. I know very little theory, can't read music, etc. You know the story. As my username suggest I am stuck in the middle of Kansas, and it can be a very lonely place when it comes to gypsy jazz.
Any replies are greatly appreciated.
Thanks guys!

"Tchavolo Rules!"


  • musicofanaticmusicofanatic Swingville✭✭✭
    Posts: 38
    to answer your question : "Are there common chord substitutions for certain progressions? Like if the progression is i,vi, ii, v". A common one would be "IIIm7, bIIIm7,IIm7,V7", but there are any number of other possibilities. You state that:"...I don't have any formal musical training. I know very little theory..." Sounds like you oughta get you some! Dunno specifically where to direct you, but in lieu of any community college classes in basic music theory or private lessons you might have access to in Kansas, there is a lot of info on the web. Most of my theory is of the "backyard" variety, thus I may not have the correct terminology ("tritone substitutions", etc.), but I know what it sounds like. Maybe someone else here can direct you to some music ed sites. Good luck.
    chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp...
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    I think the first thing is to differentiate between substitutions (generally containing at least some different notes) and inversions (generally containing the same notes, but in a different order). So when you look at a video, you might be seeing a lot of inversions being played, connected with passing chords. Of course, you could be seeing subs, too.

    Here's something about an easy and fairly common sub: ... 3502#13502

    Another easy/common sub would be:

    For Dm7 | G7 | C |
    Play Dm | Db9 |C |

    It's an endless topic, really, but so much fun...just don't get so carried away that a soloist has nothing to work with. I think you wrote elsewhere that you've got some of Colin Cosimini's material; if you look in the front he shows a couple of common 'chord walks' for the style that may help.

    Good luck,
  • MontereyJacquesMontereyJacques ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2011 Posts: 81
  • ramsezazramsezaz Paris, FranceNew
    Posts: 90
    Except that you should get an iriver or an archos, with some recording capabilities instead of the ipod :) So you can record gigs jams, and even your practice session to highlight your weak points and correct them, and still have 20 to 40 Go of gypsy jazz in it :)

    ramsezaz, active member of the No-iPod comitee
    my lutherie blog : http://ramsezaz/
  • stuckinkansasstuckinkansas KansasNew
    Posts: 55
    Thank you everyone who replied. I have the gypsy chord voicings down pretty well. I guess my question was this...
    For each tune I play, should I work up different chordal arrangements (i.e. inversions)? I'm thinking it would probably be a good idea to know like 3 different arrangements, that way I can master the fretboard a little more.
    Is this something most players do?
    Thanks for your advise.
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    I don't know if you need to actually work out arrangements beforehand-it's more knowing you have the ability to do it on the fly to both keep a progression from being too static chorus after chorus and to complement what a soloist is doing. Then, too, if you've got more than one rhythm guitar, one can play a 'straight' voicing while the other throws in some rhythmic backup-the tremelo playing, chord stabs, etc. that you'll often hear Django use while Steph is soloing. I should have mentioned this with regard to your first post-often on videos you're shown what the lead player is doing when backing someone, but you don't see the other rhythm player, who's probably just hitting the changes straight on. If two guitarists are both throwing in subs at the same time, you'll likely have a real mess on your hands.

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