Now first and foremost ill admit most of the ideas ill tell you about here
relate to articles ive read in the british magazine guiatrist, before i
get accused of plagarism.

The basic idea behind reharmonization is taking a lead phrase and
modifying it slightly so that it fits in to a completely different
key and scale all together. In otherwords reharmonizaion is transposing
a lead based on one scale into another scale so that the same lead phrase
can be used (slightly modified) to achieve an entirely different tone.
To do this, let's briefly examine diatonic scales (scales with 7 notes)
and how lead phrases are constructed. Then we'll move on to reharmonizing
our favourite scale patterns.

Now as we all now scales are what we build our solos around. Most
scales contain 7 notes, and its the pattern in which we play these notes
which forms our solos. Reharmonisation involves taking a particular riff
or passage and applying the pattern used to a different scale, thus
creating a different sounding lead line. Now take a look at example 1

Ex 1


Thats a portion of the outro solo of sultans of swing by dire straits
and is in the key of D aeolian, or D natural minor (DEFGABbC), there
are 3 distinct licks there, the first uses the b3rd, root and 5th,
the second 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. Im gonna use D phrygian here just for an example
(DEbFGABbC), now phrygian is identical 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


Now first of all its obvious that this lick will sound awful over the
backing of the original lick, reharmonisation isnt about coming up with
new leads over similar backing. Ex 1 is played over a Dm, Bb and C sequence.
Reharmonising provides 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 struggle 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 original scale your using. The idea of this lesson is certainly
not to show you how to rehash old riffs so i dont wanna see any reharmonised
versions of Enter Sandman, Stairway or Layla.

The way i like to use reharmonisation is to help me solo over chords which
lie outside of the key centre of the song. 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 use of sharpening the b7th of
the minor key to provide a leading tone to resolve into the root chord.
To demonstrate 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 obviously 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.


Now the obvious scale to reharmonise to is E harmonic minor (EF#GABCEb),
so we retain the E minor tonality but include the leading Eb contained
within B7, heres the original phrase reharmonised to E harmonic minor.


A famous example of this is during the sweet child of mine solo, look
carefully at the notes Slash uses over the B7 and youll see what i mean.

The other songwriting trick is the 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 example as most of you will have heard it. During the
middle 8 Noel Gallagher uses the chord progression F Fm C, the major to
minor movement sounds really good and creates a melancholy mood. Now the F
minor contains a G# another note which is not inculded in the original 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
F Fminor C------------------------------

So over the F minor i reharmonised the original phrase in C ionian to C
aeolian. I think it sounds really good and really gives the impression
that you as a guitarist know your stuff. By reharmonising to C aeolian we
include the G# and as a bonus Eb, the bluesy flattened fifth of C major
so we get some serious mileage out of a simple phrase.

The final application is when soloing over less stringent backing, say
some very ambiguous bass playing which will allow you to intepret the
key in several different ways. You can take licks and just reharmonise
them to several scales to see which fits best.

Take this phrase in B aeolian


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


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


and finally B ionian(raise the 7th semitone)


From one phrase you now have 4 very usable lead lines. Obviously there
are still Lydian, phrygian and locrian scales so if you want some home
work try reharmonising the original 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 or PM me, but do persevere, the only way to progress as
a musician is to continually challenge yourself, until next time, Beat!

Note-Im sure ive made some errors in my theory in places so jay, essi, raj, rabi n others will hopefully straighten out any errors i've made.