Watch course author and instructor Steve Rochinski discuss Reharmonization Techniques.
Reharmonization, or modifying the original harmonic content of a song, has been at the center of some of the most compelling and timeless versions of jazz standards ever recorded. For aspiring arrangers and film composers, it’s a fundamental requirement in how to apply your craft. For improvisers, it’s another level of mastery of the art of spontaneous expression that will deepen not only your sense of harmony but melody as well.
Reharmonization Techniques teaches where and how to approach changing the harmonic form, especially in the context of historical stylized treatments. You will learn to make a creative judgment about how much or how little to change a song and then make logical, creative choices to achieve that outcome. The course begins with an historical overview of reharmonization techniques and moves quickly into using basic substitution techniques (e.g., tonic for tonic, subdominant for subdominant, dominant for dominant, and so forth) in selected areas of the form. It then expands into bass line reharmonization and the various approach techniques covering larger sections of the song, techniques such as diatonic and dominant approaches relative to a target chord and chromatic and parallel approaches relative to a target chord.
The course concludes with expanded approach and substitution techniques, also known as phrase reharmonization, applied to an entire song form. Through learning these techniques, you will sharpen your understanding of the functional major key, minor key, and modal systems. The course will be taught with a variety of media, including sound and video clips from the great masters (Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk, Gene Puerling, Jeremy Lubbock, and others), written and recorded examples, workshops, quizzes, discussion activities, and guided weekly assignments that incorporate application and analysis of the techniques studied.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
increase or decrease tension and release through substitution and approach techniques
prolong expectations for resolution of non-tonic functions
create a more, or in some cases, less active harmonic stream
enhance the bass line
change the chord quality—converting a chord from minor to major, or major to minor, without changing the root's basic location
chromatically alter the original root with or without a change in the chord quality
convert diminished seventh chords into functional II-V patterns
use delayed cadences and deceptive resolution of V7 to create or reharmonize a turnaround
replace chords with other chords of the same or similar function
add chords that approach a target chord in a functional or other logical manner
create new bass lines as a foundation to generate new chords and consolidate various techniques
replace entire phrases or sections with a common chord pattern not associated with the song
use a chromatic line element to create motion on a static chord
convert a chromatic line element into a chord pattern
use modal systems as a way to reharmonize modal and non-modal tunes