I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the tritone substitution. It takes an altered chord that should sound dissonant and way out, and puts it into a context where it blends seamlessly with the rest of a tune. The idea that changing just a single note of a chord can result in something so conceptually crazy, but at the same time so completely natural sounding that you wish you’d thought of it yourself is, well, really powerful. It wasn’t until many experiences later, and some time as an enlisted infantry Marine, that I realized why this musical phenomenon has always captivated me. Tritone substitutions, enharmonic reinterpretation, and tonal functional harmony are all great examples of that Moby Dick of a skill that is always being chased by the Captain Ahab of modern society: thinking outside of the box.
After all of my experiences and effort of study, I have come to the conclusion that musical ability is not a talent, but a life skill that can improve the quality of one’s communication, critical thinking, and intuition in many different contexts, not all of which involve artistic expression. This truism is what The Art of Reinterpretation has come to mean in my philosophy and what I will attempt to explore in this blog with my writing, snippets of my playing, and whatever else inspires me to post.