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Steve Khan had a theory of triad superimposition and substitution he called Contemporary Chord Khancepts. How do you construct triad superimpositions in the style of Steve Khan?

closed as too broad by user45266, Shevliaskovic, Peter, guidot, Doktor Mayhem Jun 14 at 14:21

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Steve Kahn came up with a simple chord construction technique for jazz chords played on guitar that profoundly affected my guitar playing.

First, in any jazz group, the root notes of the chords are usually played by the keyboardist, the bassist, or both. So the guitar player doesn't have to play the root notes. They can, but they don't have to.

Second, almost all jazz chords contain notes that can be the triad of another chord. For example, the CMaj7 chord is C E G B. If you ignore the root, you have E G B, which is an Em triad. The C7 chord is C E G Bb. if you ignore the root you have E G Bb which is a Edim chord. Look for chord triads within jazz chords and play those triads.

Converting a diminished chord to a Dom7 chord is the subject of What is Pat Martino's Diminished Concept?

For a more complex example, think about C13: C E G B♭ D F A. Using triad superimposition you can be playing the C13 as Edim, Gm, Bb, Dm or a three note voicing of BbMaj7.

Triad superimpositions give the guitar player a big toolbox to use when soloing (especially when playing chord melodies) and when comping along with a bass player because they can move away from using "grips" (standard jazz chord voicings) to construct more fluid harmonic lines using simple triad constructions that every jazz guitar player should already have under their fingers.

  • I've heard this concept more commonly referred to as "Upper Structure Triads". Pretty standard in jazz educational materials, but apparently Khan has his own terminology. Had I known that this is what you were referring to, I would have answered. – user45266 Jun 11 at 4:14

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