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Give your old songs a tune-up! 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. Reharmonization is a concept that may sound difficult, but can provide great musical results with relatively little effort.

Reharmonization Techniques, a new title from Berklee Press, is a complete guide to reharmonization in an easy-to-follow format. Whether you write film scores, direct a band or choir, or play solo piano or guitar, the simple and innovative techniques found in this guide will help you update songs and develop exciting new arrangements. Even beginners will be able to add new twists to old tunes.

Features 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

About the Author

Randy Felts has been a Professor of Jazz Harmony at Berklee College of Music for over twenty-five years. He performs regularly on saxophone, flute, and Synthophone in contexts ranging from classic 1960s rock to original jazz and pop music. He is the U.S. representative for Softwind Instruments.

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