..................

Reharmonisation - The Secret Weapon


 The main idea behind Reharmonizing is to take a lead phrase or pattern and modifying it a bit so that it fits into a completely new key or scale altogether. In otherwords reharmonizaion is transposing a lead based on single scale into another scale so that the same lead phrase can be used (slightly modified) to realize an entirely different tone. To do this, let's quickly examine diatonic scales (scales with 7 notes) and how lead phrases are constructed. Then we'll move on to reharmonizing our favourite scale patterns.


Every one knows that scales are in most cases to build a powerful solo. Most scales contain 7 notes, and its the pattern in which we play these notes which forms our solos. Reharmonisation involves taking a specific riff or passage and applying the pattern used to a altered scale, thus creating a altered sounding lead line. Now take a look at example 1

Ex 1

E-13-10---13-10---13-10---13-10---15-12---15-12---15-12----15-12----
B------10------10-------11-----11-------13-----13-------13-------13-
G-------------------------------------------------------------------
D-------------------------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------------------------




This is a small part of outro solo from Dire Strait's Sultans of swing and is in the key of D aeolian, or D natural minor (DEFGABbC), there are 3 distinct licks there, the main uses the b3rd, root and 5th, the succeeding uses the b3rd, root and b6th and the third uses the 4th, 2nd and b7th. Now to reharmonise we retain that pattern but apply it to another scale. I'm gonna use D phrygian here just for an example (DEbFGABbC), now phrygian is comparable to aeolian save for the flattened 2nd, so only the third lick in the lead phrase is affected, retaining our original pattern applied to this scale results in the riff seen in example 2

Ex 2

E-13-10---13-10----13-10---13-10---15-11---15-11---15-11----15-11---
B------10-------10------11-------11-----13------13-------13-------13
G-------------------------------------------------------------------
D-------------------------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------------------------




Now if you try this over the original backing track .. it's going to sound absolutely horrific, reharmonisation isnt about coming up with another leads over similar backing. Ex 1 is played over a Dm, Bb and C sequence. Reharmonising gives us with a phrase to play over a Dmin, Bb C min backing. So id say the first use of reharmonisation is where you have a sequence you fight to solo over, compare the chord sequence to ones you find easy, take some phrases you play over that sequence and then reharmonise them into the earliest scale your using. The idea of this lesson is certainly not to show you how to revise old riffs so I dont wanna see any reharmonised versions of Enter Sandman, Stairway or Layla.


Reharmonization helps me solo over te chords which lie outside the songs key. There are two common occurences of this, the substitution of the 5th chord in a minor key from a minor to a dominant seventh and the major to minor transition of the 6th chord in a minor key. Both of these are involved with exercise of sharpening the b7th of the minor key to provide a leading tone to resolve into the root chord. To display this play the following chord prgression Em Am C Bmin, and then play Em Am C B7, hold the end chord of each progression, the B7 will create the effect of wanting to resolve back to the Em, the B minor less so, this is because B7 contains Eb, a semitone below E, and so leads us back to E minor. Now observably E aeolian (natural minor) doesnt contain Eb so when soloing over the B7 it may be useful to reharmonise. We take a lick which would work over the Bminor and reharmonise it into a scale which contains Eb and no D. Heres a potential lick over B minor.

E--------------10--12------------------10----------------------------
B------10-12----------10-12~------------------10/12------------------
G-9/11-------------------------9/11----------------------------------
D--------------------------------------------------------------------
A--------------------------------------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------------------------




We now have to reharmonise E harmonic minor (EF#GABCEb), so we preserve the E minor tonality but add the leading Eb that is contained within B7, here'ss the original phrase reharmonised to E harmonic minor.

E------------------11--12---------------------11------------
B-----------10-12----------10-12~~-----------------10/12----
G-----9/11-------------------------------9/11---------------
D-----------------------------------------------------------
A-----------------------------------------------------------
E-----------------------------------------------------------


Sweet child of mine is a great example for this, look at the notes Slash uses over the B7 and you'll see what I;m talking about.

Some songwriters use the trick of major to minor transition of the 6th chord (or 4th in a major key). This is heard in such songs as dont look back in anger by oasis and in my life by the beatles. I will use the oasis song as an illustration as most of you will have heard it. During the middle 8 Noel Gallagher uses the chord sequence F Fm C, the major to minor movement sounds really good and creates a melancholy mood. Now the F minor contains a Ab another note which is not inculded in the fundamental key of C. So again when soloing here we can reharmonise to include that 'foreign note', heres the sort of phrase I might use over those chords.

B b b
E---------8-10^12-------8-10^11------8-------------------------
B------10-------------9-----------------8-10-8---10^13^10-8~~--
G---9---------------8------------7/9------------9--------------
D--------------------------------------------------------------
A--------------------------------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------------------
F Fminor C------------------------------


So in the F minor We reharmonised the original phrase in C ionian to C aeolian. I think it sounds kinda cool and really gives the impression that you as a guitar player know your stuff. By reharmonising to C aeolian we include the Ab and as a bonus Eb, the bluesy flattened fifth of C major so we get a number of serious mileage out of a down-to-earth phrase.


You can also try this over some strick backings , say some very confusing bass playing which will allow you to intepret the key in several altered ways. You can take licks and just reharmonise them to several scales to see which fits best.

Take this phrase in B aeolian

E-------------10---------------9^10^9----------------
B--------10^12>>>12^10--8--------------10^12^10^12---
G-----7---------------------9------------------------
D----------------------------------------------------
A----------------------------------------------------
E----------------------------------------------------

Re harmonised in B Dorian (raise the 6th by 1/2 a step)

E-------------10-----------------9^10^9---------------
B--------10^12>>>12^10--9---------------10^12^10^12---
G-----7------------------------9----------------------
D-----------------------------------------------------
A-----------------------------------------------------
E-----------------------------------------------------


And then B mixolydian (raise the third a 1/2 step)

E-------------11------------------9^11^9---------------
B--------10^12>>>12^10--9-----------------10^12^10^12--
G-----8------------------------9-----------------------
D------------------------------------------------------
A------------------------------------------------------
E------------------------------------------------------


And finally B ionian(raise the 7th semitone)

E-------------11------------------9^11^9----------------
B--------11^12>>>12^11--9-----------------11^12^11^12---
G-----8------------------------9------------------------
D-------------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------------

Just from 1 phrase .. you have 4 usable solo ideas. Obviously there are still Lydian, phrygian and locrian scales so if you're looking for some home work try reharmonising the first ionian phrase into those modes. Thats all for now, I hope you find it useful and not too hard to understand, I tried to make it as easy as possible, if you are struggling feel free to post queries here as comments, but do persevere, the only way to progress as a musician is to continually challenge yourself, until next time, Beat!

Hope this made sense .. Try and drop in some comments if you liked this article or if you have any doubts 



THIS IS A GUEST POST SUBMITTED TO US THROUGH OUR SUBMIT A ARTICLE SECTION


By : Ricky Mendosa


Click here to see our Comlete List of Articles


1 comment:

Your comment keeps us alive!

Shredthisway's Deal of the Day!

ShareThis