Reharmonization Techniques

Author: Steve Rochinski   •   Course Code: OHARM-412

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

Lesson 1: What Is Reharmonization?

  • Why Reharmonize?
  • The Performer's and Writer's Influence
  • Reharmonization Affects Harmonic Rhythm
  • Substitution by Converting the Chord Quality
  • Structural Conversion
  • Assignment 1: Using Conversion Technique

Lesson 2: Reharmonization of Diminished 7th Chords

  • Diminished 7ths with Diatonic Resolution
  • Reharmonizing Ascending Diminished Chords
  • Reharmonizing Descending Diminished Chords
  • Reharmonizing Auxiliary Diminished Chords
  • Diminished Chords with Nondiatonic Resolution
  • Assignment 2: Reharmonizing Using Various Techniques

Lesson 3: Reharmonizing Turnarounds

  • Delayed Cadence and Standard Deceptive Resolutions of V7
  • Using Deceptive Resolutions
  • Delayed Cadence
  • Creating a Turnaround
  • Assignment 3: Reharmonizing Turnarounds

Lesson 4: Substitution Techniques: Tonic for Tonic, Subdominant for Subdominant

  • Tonic and Subdominant
  • Substitution Axioms
  • Functional Identity
  • Assignment 4: Reharmonizing Using Tonic and Subdominant Substitutions

Lesson 5: Substitution Techniques: Dominant for Dominant and Axis System

  • Dominant
  • Tritone Substition
  • Symmetric Dominant Scale
  • The Axis System
  • Assignment 5: Reharmonizing Using Various Techniques

Lesson 6: Approach Techniques: Diatonic and Dominant Approaches Relative to a Target Chord

  • Adding Chords
  • Diatonic Approach
  • Dominant Approach
  • Progression, Retrogression, Displacement
  • Assignment 6: Midterm Project

Lesson 7: Approach Techniques: Chromatic and Parallel Approaches Relative to Target Chord

  • Chromatic Approach
  • Double Chromatic Approach
  • Parallel Approach
  • Assignment 7: Applying Chromatic and Parallel Approach Techniques

Lesson 8: Working from the Bottom Line: Bass Line Reharmonization

  • Descending Stepwise Bass Lines
  • Specific Descending Stepwise Bass Lines
  • Ascending Stepwise Bass Lines
  • Assignment 8: Bass Line Reharmonization

Lesson 9: Expanded Substitution, Approach, and Key Area Techniques

  • Expanded Substitution and Approach Techniques
  • Key Area Reharmonizations
  • Phrase Reharmonization
  • Assignment 9: Identifying the Reharmonization Techniques

Lesson 10: Tonicization and Line Cliché Reharmonization

  • Tonicizing Diatonic Regions
  • Tonicizing Nondiatonic Regions
  • Reharmonizing Descending Line Cliches
  • Ascending 5th Line Cliches
  • Assignment 10: Tonicization, Descending, and Ascending Line Cliches

Lesson 11: Blues Form Reharmonization

  • Review of Blues Characteristics
  • Reharmonization of 12-Bar Blues Form from Basic to Bop Changes
  • Reharmonization of 12-Bar Blues Form with Cycle Blues and Line Cliches
  • Reharmonization of 12-Bar Blues in Minor with Line Cliches and Modal Interchange
  • Assignment 11: Reharmonization of 12-Bar Blues

Lesson 12: The Moods of the Modes: Modal Reharmonization

  • Review of Modal Systems and Modal Cadence Chords
  • Using Modal Reharmonization in Blues Form
  • Using Modal Reharmonization in Major and Minor Key
  • Using Modal Reharmonization in Major and Minor Modal systems
  • Assignment 12: Modal Reharmonization

Steve Rochinski

Author & Instructor

Steve Rochinski is a Professor in the Harmony Department at Berklee College of Music. An accomplished guitarist, recording artist, and internationally known performer and clinician, Steve has received numerous grants and awards including a 1993 Jazz Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for private study with Tal Farlow.

Before coming to Berklee, Steve toured for many years, and in his travels has worked with the Candoli Brothers, Tal Farlow, Attila Zoller, Jimmy Raney, Tim Hagans, Pat Harbison, Gary Foster, Hank Marr, Brad Goode, Scott Lee, Joe Hunt, Chuck Redd, Richard Evans, and Tony Tillman. In 1995, Steve released his critically acclaimed debut CD Until Further Notice (LineOut Music/North Country Dist.). He currently records for Jardis Records, Germany's leading jazz guitar label. His releases include A Bird in the Hand (JRCD9922) and Otherwise (JRCD20033) (www.jardis.de).

He is the author of the award-winning The Jazz Style of Tal Farlow: The Elements of Bebop Guitar and The Motivic Basis for Jazz Guitar Improvisation (Hal Leonard Corp.). In November 2001, Steve's life and career was featured in the 7th anniversary issue of the internationally renowned magazine for jazz guitar fans, Just Jazz Guitar (No. 29, November 2001). Steve will be profiled in the next edition of the book The Jazz Guitar: Its Evolution, Players, and Personalities Since 1900 by Maurice Summerfield (Ashley Mark Publishing) and the 2005 Edition of Who's Who in America (Marquis Publishing).

Prerequisites

Completion of Music Theory 201 or Getting Inside Harmony 2, Basic Ear Training 1 and Guitar Chords 101 or Berklee Keyboard Method or equivalent knowledge and experience is required. An arranging course is also recommended but not required.  You should have a good working repertoire of various pop and jazz standards, along with some experience as an arranger and/or improvising soloist. You will benefit from an understanding of basic small form composition, such as AABA, ABAC, and blues forms. Arranging 1: Rhythm Sections is recommend.


Required Textbooks

None required


Software Requirements

  • Finale 2006 (full version) or Sibelius 4 or higher (full version). Note that you will need to submit scores as PDF files. Finale Notepad and PrintMusic are not sufficient for use in the course. You can also opt to hand write scores, scan them, and submit them as PDF files.
  • A basic audio recording tool that will allow you to record yourself 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 like Audacity (Windows) or GarageBand (Mac).

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed (http://www.speedtest.net to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)

Comments

Got a question? Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at advisors@online.berklee.edu. We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.




  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
    $1,479
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition
    $1,229

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