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Arranging and Composing Theory and Ear Training

Reharmonization Techniques

Whether you write film scores, direct a band or choir, or play solo piano or guitar, you will find simple and innovative techniques to update songs and develop exciting new arrangements.

Reharmonization is the musical equivalent of a new paint job on an old car.

When you reharmonize a tune, you give the melody new color by changing its underlying harmonics. Whether you write film scores, direct a band or choir, or play solo piano or guitar, you will find simple and innovative techniques to update songs and develop exciting new arrangements.

Learn reharmonization techniques such as:

  • Simple Substitution: substitute chords with others in the same harmonic family to vary tunes while maintaining their original color
  • Diatonic Approach: reharmonize with chords from a single key to create a harmonic change for most standard jazz and pop contexts
  • Adding Dominant and Subdominant Chords: use these chords, or their tritone substitutions, to create sophisticated harmonic sounds
  • Harmonic Displacement: relocate important cadential points in a phrase to create open space to fill with new chords
  • Modal Interchange: borrow chords from common minor keys to darken the harmonic color of phrases
  • Working with Bass Lines, Turnarounds, Extended Endings and Modulatory Interludes, Diminished Seventh Chords, Hybrid Chord Voidings, and other advanced patterns to give your music a unique sound

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