In jazz music, a tritone inversion is a specific chord voicing technique. It involves rearranging the notes of a chord to create a new chord with the same root note, but a different bass note. This new chord has a different harmonic function than the original chord and can create a unique and interesting sound.
To understand tritone inversions, it’s essential to first understand the tritone interval. The tritone is an interval that spans three whole tones or six semitones, also known as an augmented fourth or diminished fifth. It is considered to be the most dissonant interval in Western music and has been historically associated with the devil, which is why it was referred to as “diabolus in musica” (the devil in music) during the medieval period.
In jazz music, the tritone interval is used to create tension and dissonance, which can then be resolved to create a sense of resolution and release. One common use of the tritone interval in jazz is in the dominant seventh chord, which contains a tritone between the third and seventh degrees of the chord.
To create a tritone inversion, the notes of a chord are rearranged so that the interval of a tritone is created between the root note and the bass note. For example, if we take a C major triad (C, E, G) and create a tritone inversion, we would rearrange the notes to create a new chord with the same root note of C but a different bass note. In this case, we could move the G up by an octave to create a C/G chord. The tritone interval is now between the C and the G, and the chord has a different harmonic function than the original C major triad.
Tritone inversions are commonly used in jazz music to create new chord voicings and add harmonic interest to a tune. They can be used in place of traditional chord progressions to create new and unique sounds, and they can also be used as a way to reharmonize a melody.
In conclusion, a tritone inversion is a chord voicing technique used in jazz music to create a new chord with the same root note but a different bass note, resulting in a unique and interesting sound. It involves rearranging the notes of a chord to create a tritone interval between the root note and the bass note. Tritone inversions are commonly used in jazz to add harmonic interest and create new chord voicings.