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Another favorite reharmonization idea

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I want to give you something today that I really, really like.  It
sounds amazing and is easy to do so pay careful attention.  We are going
to be playing with the song “Just As I Am.”   

Here is typical harmony for the second line.
just before.jpg

Now, here is a little reharmonization.
just after.jpg

Play both of these and enjoy the second.  The difference in sound is astounding, isn’t it?  I remember the first time I saw this (back in high school).  I fell in love immediately even though I had no clue how it worked.

Some of you might be confused because it looks like you have a minor V chord here (G is the V chord), and V chords are practically always dominants.  But in this context, G is not a V chord.  It is a ii chord for the F chord in bar 3.

Here is what is happening.  The F (IV) chord in bar 3 is being treated as a I chord and a ii-V progression is being inserted in front of it. Gmin7 is the ii chord and C7 is the V chord.  For those of you up on theory, the C7 is a secondary dominant (V/IV) that resolves down a fifth to F.

So, the full progression is Gmin7 – C7 – F.  Note that it is important to add the 7th to the C chord and it has to be the minor 7th instead of the more natural major 7th.  Once you do, you change the function of the chord so that it now needs to resolve down to F.

Any time you have a IV chord in a song, you can possibly insert the ii-V progression in front of it.  You have to have room for those two chords and they have to sound good with the melody.

Just for fun, here is one last version, and this time, I added some other reharmonization.  We can talk about it at another time.

just last.jpg

4 thoughts on “Another favorite reharmonization idea

  1. Janice Demaio says:

    Beautiful, Greg, especially the last example.

    I have an idea for you. Why don’t you post a little reharmonization tip every Wednesday? It can be very little. I would like to know about all of those chords you used there at the end, but I need them in bite-sized pieces so I can understand.

  2. Danny Gardner says:

    I also really like this reharmonization idea, Mr. Howlett. Great work.

    Janice, most of what was done in the last example has been covered in the blog before. Check out his prior reharmonization posts and the video lessons. Hope this helps.

  3. Jim says:

    Hi Greg, great job as always. As I played the last example, I was thinking “I sound like Greg Howlett.” But I notice you broke one of your own rules there at the end. Did you notice you doubled the F on the Gsus?

  4. Sammy says:

    Changing chord functions is quite a new idea to me. Your lessons begin to make sense as I read and practice them. Thanks, Greg!

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