Getting Inside Harmony 2


Authored by Michael Rendish


Course Code: OHARM-211

Next semester
starts June 24

12 Weeks

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


A firm harmonic foundation and the ability to aurally recognize chord progressions is indispensable to writers and arrangers, and a necessity for musicians interested in understanding the art of improvisation. Getting Inside Harmony 2 takes you to the next step in your harmonic development: you'll move beyond the standard chord patterns and harmonic progressions typically found in popular music, and gain a solid footing in more advanced principles including melodic and harmonic tension, chord substitution, and chromatically altered chords. You'll examine secondary dominants, diminished seventh chords (and their substitutes), standard chord patterns and their variations, minor key harmony, and modulation. You'll study the inner workings of each progression to be sure it gets into the "inner ear," and equip yourself with the most appropriate chord scale for each chord. Through keyboard chord voicings and voice-leading exercises, you'll gain an understanding of the musical tools that go beyond the demands of a particular musical style, and develop a greater sense of control in your writing - by the end of the course you'll find you're in a position to actually contribute your personal touch to the development of any number of musical styles!

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By the end of the course, you will:

  • Identify all standard chord progression patterns 
  • Be able to suggest a vast number of musical re-harmonization possibilities for each of these patterns
  • Apply appropriate chord substitution to a song's progression
  • Use a wide range of non-diatonic, chromatically altered chords 
  • Derive their appropriate chord scales
  • Work within all forms of minor key tonality
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: Melodic and Harmonic Tensions

  • Introduction
  • Melodic and Harmonic Tensions
  • Some Terminology Shorthand: Mode Names
  • Available Tensions
  • Recap

Lesson 2: Using Tensions to Enhance Keyboard Voicings

  • Introduction
  • Chord Progression Transcription
  • Enhanced Keyboard Voicings
  • Recap

Lesson 3: Tonic vs. Non-Tonic Chord Functions

  • Introduction
  • Diatonic Chord Function
  • Recap

Lesson 4: Basic Diatonic Substitution

  • Introduction
  • Principles of Diatonic Substitution
  • Non-Tonic Chords
  • Recap

Lesson 5: Modal Chord Progression (1): Major Modes

  • Introduction
  • Modal Chord Progression
  • What's Tonal, What's Modal?
  • Recap

Lesson 6: How Modes are Used (1)

  • Introduction
  • How are Modes Used?
  • Modal Interchange
  • Recap

Lesson 7: Modal Chord Progression (2): Minor Modes; How Modes are Used (2)

  • Introduction
  • Distinguishing Among Aeolian, Phrygian, and Dorian Modalities
  • Cadence Chords for the Minor Modes
  • Modal Progressions
  • Recap

Lesson 8: Patterns in Progression (1)

  • Introduction
  • II-7 V7 Progression in All Keys
  • II-V Progressions
  • Recap

Lesson 9: Patterns in Progression (2)

  • Introduction
  • How Does Harmonic Rhythm Figure In?
  • How to Do It?
  • Recap

Lesson 10: Modal Interchange

  • Introduction
  • Substitution or Reharmonization?
  • Taking stock...Secondary Dominants
  • Consecutive Secondary Dominants
  • Recap

Lesson 11: Minor Key Harmony (1): Harmonic Minor

  • Introduction
  • Chord Pattern Variations
  • Harmonic Minor Scale
  • Recap

Lesson 12: Minor Key Harmony (2): Melodic Minor

  • Introduction
  • Harmonic minor form of I VI II V
  • Key Changes in Minor
  • Inversions
  • Melodic Minor
  • Melodic Minor Form of "I VI II V"
  • Dominant 7th Substitution by Common Tritone
  • Recap


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of the Berklee Online course Getting Inside Harmony 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.


  • No textbooks required


  • Students are required to record themselves and save the recording in MP3 format. You will have a tool to use for this purpose inside the learning environment. Alternatively, you can use software such as GarageBand (Mac), Audacity (PC), or any DAW.



Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Michael Rendish


Michael Rendish is the former Assistant Chair of Berklee College of Music's Film Scoring Department. A gifted performer and award-winning writer, he has composed, orchestrated, and conducted some thirty film scores, including Faces of Freedom, A Place of Dreams, and Yorktown, and the five-part PBS series America by Design. He was the composer for Academy Award nominee, The Klan: A Legacy of Hate in America, and arranger and guest conductor of the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra of the 50th Jubilee Concert in honor of the King of Thailand. In his more than thirty-five years at Berklee, he has been continually active in developing much of the world's finest talent in contemporary popular music. He was the founding chair of Berklee's Harmony Department, and has authored and taught courses at all levels of traditional, contemporary, and jazz arranging/composition. He was also the founding chair of the electronic music program, the major that introduced music synthesis to Berklee. Michael's passion for harmony in contemporary music is the driving force behind the course "Getting Inside Harmony."

Joseph Mulholland


Joe Mulholland is a professor in the Harmony department at Berklee College of Music. He teaches all the core Harmony classes, as well as the electives Harmony of Brazilian Song, Advanced Harmonic Concepts, Advanced Modal Harmony, and Reharmonization Techniques. He created and teaches the Jazz Composition course and the Music Foundations course for Berklee Online, and gives private Skype lessons in jazz songwriting to students around the world.

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In his capacity as chair of the Harmony department (2005-2015) at Berklee, Joe extensively revised the Harmony 2 and 3 workbooks and wrote the Music Application and Theory workbook for first-year students, as well as editing and contributing substantially to the Study Supplement for that course. With his colleague Tom Hojnacki, Joe wrote The Berklee Book of Jazz Harmony (Berklee Press), the new Harmony 2 workbook, and the Harmony 2 Study Supplement.

An accomplished pianist, recording artist, composer, and teacher, Joe has released five albums of original music and has composed electronic scores for Boston-area dance companies, including a Tango Suite commissioned by the Northeast Youth Ballet that received performances in Boston and New Jersey. Joe also performs as a vocal accompanist. In his role as music director for the Windhover Center for the Performing Arts, he composed and recorded sound design and songs for original productions of Peer Gynt and Dogtown Common. He also wrote 11 songs and three dance numbers for the original musical The Battle for Pigeon Cove Harbor, which received a three-week run in theaters on the North Shore of Boston.

Before coming to Berklee, Joe taught piano and ensemble at Brown University and Boston-area music schools, as well as serving as music director for Didi Stewart and Friends, an award-winning ensemble devoted to presenting full-length tributes to composers and performers in the American Songbook and classic R&B styles. Read Less


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