Does anyone know of a "Function" symbol for a Dominant Tritone Substitution? I.e. in when you switch Db7 for a  G7? Normally when our Tonic is C Major, G7 would be described as a Dominant 7th Chord or a "D7" in Function Symbols (D stands here for "Dominant" and NOT the note: "D").  Does anyone have any idea if there is any term for Db7 as a replacement for G7?  (Not as a Neapolitan chord…)

One solution to the problem would be Đ7, 5>, b9.  The crossed out D means a Dominant 7th Chord without its root (again…"D" does not stand for the note "D", but rather the Function "Dominant".)  The "5>" means that the 5th is diminished, i.e. in our example of the G7 Chord, the 5th would become a Db.  And there is an additional b9 note added to the mix, in this case Ab.  This leaves us with Db, F, Ab, B (or Cb if you want to spell the Db7 chord properly in it's new form.)  

Seeing as that the Tritone Substitution is so prevalent in today's musical language, there must be a simpler symbol for this…  Does anyone know of one??  (I'm writing my Bachelor Dissertation here in Germany and am analysing Thomas Newman's music.)

Many thanks, I look forward to any useful tips you might be able to offer!


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  • Why can't you quotate the opening post? Ning is so stupid...

    Anyway I'm not aware of a symbol simpler than the one described by you that would actually make sense... BUT, since this system is effective pretty much till the end of 19th century and that's about it (excluding Wagner, heh), I wouldn't bother with symbols that are essentially useless. It's a Dominant substitute, ffs, noone needs to have its construction laid out every time.

    On the other hand, you're writing a thesis... maybe you could come up with your own symbol (Dsub comes to mind...) and then explain its usage as a replacement for mostly reduntant Dominant-with-50-alterations one. Meh. Best of luck to you, though, if you're forced to use strictly tonal terminology for not-exactly-Mozartish music... ;/

  • When it comes to analysing music i don't want to revert to absolute symbols (ie. C major or G major) but would prefer to continue to use Functions when i hear Functions.  Wagner and co. up until today continue to use Functions.  Yes…they are interspersed with generous Konstrukt's (don't know this in english…..Konstrukt = c, c#, eb, e, g, ab, b.) and Fifth Fields (ie. C,G,D,A,E etc.)  All music in our "european tradition" is related to Funktions and I feel frustrated with the lack of continuity in the Functional Analysis Language.  Tritone Subs have existed since Haydn.  Albeit in a more conservative form..  In Jazz it is used all the time…but to the best of my knowledge when Jazzers "analyze" their music they use the same terminology as i mentioned above.  A terminology which is yes…outdated.  Hm…I may have to invent my own term…

    thanks for the msg! :)

  • Oh, I use functions too. But a dominant is a dominant, while a dominant 5> 9> 4/3 3.141592 is pure idiocy coming from desperately trying to fit new ideas into a strict assesment system that's very outdated and thus useless.

    Anyway, Dsub sounds nice :)

  • A Substitute Dominate in Classical Harmony is: X+6; where X is a valid modifier of an augmented sixth chord --- misspelled or inverted or as expected it is what it is.

    A Substitute Dominate in Jazz Harmony is: SUB V/X; where X is a valid roman numeral.

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