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How to Reharmonize a Melody in REAL TIME

Today I'm covering one of the most sought-after skills an aspiring jazz pianist can have: how to reharmonize any melody on the spot. The ability to do so can completely open up your sound and expand your creativity over any tune you find yourself playing.

This exercise should help you to really hear alternate harmony at a more advanced level; I am also going to show you how to take a single melody note and find nearly endless harmonic options to play underneath. In other words, you'll leave today's video having the tools to create a unique chord progression under just one note.

To begin this exercise, you're going to want to choose one single melody note which is going to become the top note for all of our voicings. I've chosen F here, but I encourage you to try many different notes in your practice. Underneath this top melody note, we are simply going to move our bass note up chromatically, trying different options to harmonize with the melody. Once you have these two outer voices covered, we will fill in the space between with different chords. Continue moving the bass note up, and test your knowledge of what chords work with the two outer notes that you have playing together. As you go on, you'll being to see how our top melody note begins to take on different roles in each of the chords you create - from the root note, to the major seventh, a minor third, a sharp eleven, and so on.

The exercise doesn't have to stop there! Try some variations in the left hand changes - can you complete the same exercise, but moving up in whole steps instead of half steps? What about moving the bass note up in major thirds? These are all great ways to continue challenging yourself to come up with new chords and progressions beneath the same melody note.


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