The more I learn music and harmony theory the more I understand that I don't know anything yet .

As for jazz I was listening for a fly me to the moon performance on the piano : the song is in Am and in the video the talented player plays it in Dm scale and he did a harmonic move toward the tonic (first degree) in the scale .

I'm aware that this is a jazzy move and want to know what is it ? sure it is not 5->1 but I felt like it is an altered 5->1 and I don't think that this is a three tone substitution because it does not sound for me like it is(maybe I'm wrong) so can you tell me what is the harmonic move here ? here you go minute 2:28:


  • Dm key rather than scale. He's using a lot more than just the scale notes (and chords). – Tim Jan 5 '15 at 13:55
  • I know that is the power of jazz :) the basic key is Dm but as you know you can go out to another keys and use voices out of the current scale it is an art. So I'm trying to understand what are the exact harmonic measurements and moves he used to achieve the music soundings way to the tonic. – Was.Francis Jan 5 '15 at 14:01
  • I haven't listened to this, but in general if you want to learn about these things, pick up a book on Jazz Reharmonization. A couple good ones are: The Jazz Harmony Book, by David Berckman; and Reharmonization Techniques by Randy Felts. – Michael Martinez Jan 12 '15 at 18:48
  • Building my work on your recommendation I have just bought David's book. I hope it will expand my harmony and chords voicing view, making me able to add new colors to music thanks for your recommendation :) – Was.Francis Jan 13 '15 at 8:02

It is a bII maj13(#11) (i.e. Gbmaj13(#11)) chord, which is borrowed from phrygian, and which resolves to I (i.e. F). Note that this is no tritone substitution, otherwise it should be Gb7 (9,#11,13), with a minor seventh in it. This chord has a major seventh. The way it is played here it has no fifth, but a 9th and a 13th, and a #11, I believe. The voicing I hear is (from low to high):

Gb - F - Ab - Bb - C - Eb
1 - maj7 - 9 - 3 - #11 - 13
  • Though I think it is not exactly the same voicing order but I think that you found the chord (And its voicings) Thank You for your help! – Was.Francis Jan 13 '15 at 9:39
  • @Was.Francis: Yes, I'm sure it's the right chord, but I'm no pianist, so he could use a slightly different voicing. You can also skip the #11 and see if you like it better. – Matt L. Jan 13 '15 at 9:42
  • Yes I agree :) just being curios,talking about harmony I bet you are a guitarist ? – Was.Francis Jan 13 '15 at 9:48
  • @Was.Francis: Yep, if you like check out my site (you find the link in my profile). – Matt L. Jan 13 '15 at 9:52

Sticking my neck out! Sounds like tts to me - it's in Dm/F at this point, so the chord could be Db7. It doesn't modulate to its original (written) key till way after that.


Okay after digging and exploring the piano I found the answer: the mystery chord that the player used here before getting back to the tonic (F) -looking at the piece as a major scale piece- was F#min7 this routine is called (as I doubted) three tone substitution done by altering the 5 chord with a chord higher three tons from it. in our example we altered the C tonic of the chord with F# tonic of the chord.

this behavior as you see is used mostly in jazz.

I hope I helped you with the info I found cheers :)

Edit and Update:

thanks for the people that reviewed my answer. apparently it is not exactly a tritone sub because tritone sub has a major third in it (sorry for misconception). it is a chord its similar to the tritone sub chord but not the same maybe we can call it an "altered" tritone sub chord. *in F major scale the tritone sub is Gb7

  • 3
    First, it's called tritone substitution (not three tone sub), and second, if the chord really is an F#min7 chord, then it is no tritone sub, because a tritone sub must be a dominant 7th chord, i.e. in this case a Gb7 (which has a major third in it). – Matt L. Jan 11 '15 at 13:34
  • tts always uses the dominant 7th chord 3 tones (tritone) above/below the chord which could have been used. As in F, instead of using the dominant C7 to get there, it uses Gb/F#7.It must have a maj.3 and b7, which juxtapose. – Tim Jan 11 '15 at 13:37
  • To expand, tritone refers to an augmented fourth, not to some three tones. Why this is called tritone, I always found crazy, it's about as logical as numbering intervals starting from one (instead of, as would be correct, zero). – leftaroundabout Jan 11 '15 at 13:38
  • @leftaroundabout - there is a space of 3 tones between. Whether it's an augmented fourth or a diminished fifth, will it make a difference? Logic? The root note of any key is labelled one, rather than zero. – Tim Jan 11 '15 at 13:43
  • @Tim: labelling from one is crazy, because it makes adding intervals a complete mess... but oh well, as long as we're being consistent about it. But no, for the tritone we cook up a completely different ratification. WTH. – leftaroundabout Jan 11 '15 at 13:51

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