The Creative Power of Advanced Harmony

Move beyond cliché chord patterns by understanding how to apply more complex harmonic concepts to your music.

The best part about learning the rules of harmony is learning how to break them. Moving outside of predictable chord patterns is what gives D'Angelo his swagger, Grizzly Bear their sophistication, or Erykah Badu her sense of ethereal other-worldliness.

In this six week course, we're going to show you how to transcend tired harmonic clichés to build more nuanced, interesting chord progressions. We'll explore modal interchange, secondary dominants, dissonance, chromaticism, and other ways to bring a "jazzy" sense of harmony to modern music. You'll be challenged to write your own mood-setting music by creating tracks for topliners, TV ads, film trailers, and more. By the end, you'll feel comfortable crafting more sophisticated chord progressions to create more nuanced emotions in your music. 

If you're looking for an intro to harmony in modern music, check out Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords

Ethan Hein

Music Technologist & Theory Nerd

Ethan Hein is an adjunct professor of music technology at NYU and Montclair State University, and a founding member of the NYU Music Experience Design Lab, under the leadership of Alex Ruthmann. You can follow all his explorations of music theory, music education, and pop music at

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theory for producers
music theory

Work with an Expert Mentor for Six Weeks

Sign up for this course with six weeks of personal mentorship from an expert, and get unlimited access to the content, forever.

Price $649

Payment plans available. to find out more.

Subscribe for Access to All Our Courses

Get access to all our premium courses without mentorship for a low monthly price.

Price $39/month

Transcend tired clichés.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to extend your chordal knowledge and create more complex emotions and harmonies.

Create More Interesting Chords

We examine extended chords, such as 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, and more, to add more sounds to our repertoire.

Explore Complex Emotions

We explore how borrowing from different keys and harnessing dissonance can create more nuanced moods in our music.

Practice Turning Theory into Action

We give you realistic mock writing prompts to challenge you to translate your learning into your music right away.

Study Complex Chord Progressions in Use

We analyze popular songs from across genres and how they use non-diatonic chord progressions to create fresh sounds.
Are you an educator? If so, you can access educator discounts. !


Our expert mentors do whatever it takes to ensure that you achieve your musical goals for the course and leap forward in your learning.

Martin Fowler

Producer & Composer
  • Produced & composed works for TV, film, & podcasts
  • International touring & recording artist with over 15 years experience
  • Studied bass & music technology at Berklee College of Music

Andre Madatian

Film Scorer, Composer, Mentor
  • Degree in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music
  • Music has appeared Bravo, CBS, Oprah Winfrey Network, and more
  • Touring guitarist and performer

Joseph Capalbo

Producer, Songwriter, Educator
  • Electronic musician and producer
  • His original music has appeared on MTV, E!, NBC, and more
  • Has worked with dozens of students on theory, production, and songwriting


Course Outline

  1. Start
    Section 1

    Getting Your Bearings

  2. Start
    Section 2

    "Jazzy" Chords Demystified

  3. Start
    Section 3

    Using Seventh Chords

  4. Start
    Section 4

    Leaving Diatonicism Behind

  5. Start
    Section 5

    Chromaticism & Passing Chords

  6. Start
    Section 6

    Tricky Tritones

  7. Start
    Section 7

    Embracing Dissonance

  8. Start
    Section 8

    Stacking Beyond Sevenths

  9. Start
    Section 9


  10. Start
    Section 10


  11. Start
    Section 11


  12. Start
    Section 12

    Slash Chords

  13. Start
    Section 13

    Putting it All Together


Who is this course for?

This course is for producers, composers, and songwriters with experience writing and composing their own pieces and tracks, but not as much knowledge of more complex chords and chord progressions, including extended chords, non-diatonic chord progressions, and other more advanced harmonic topics.

What will I learn in this course?

You'll learn how using more complex chords and chord progressions can create more interesting and nuanced moods in your music. You'll also learn a ton of music theory concepts, including sevenths, extended chords, modal interchange, chromaticism, effectively using dissonance, and much more. You'll use all of this right away in a series of real-life writing and production challenges.

Are there any pre-reqs?

This course is the second of our series on harnessing the emotional power of chords. As such, while not required, it will definitely help to have a working knowledge of scales, notes, and basic diatonic harmony, or to have taken the preliminary Chords course. Additionally, you'll ideally want a working knowledge of a digital audio workstation (DAW), such as Ableton Live, Logic, FL Studio, or something comparable.

How does a Soundfly course work?

We offer two ways to experience our courses: with mentorship or with a subscription. Enrolling with mentorship involves in-depth weekly personalized support and feedback from an expert for the six week duration of the course.

Enrolling with a subscription does not include mentorship but gives you access to all of the courses on to go through at your own pace for as long as you're subscribed (and tons of extra perks — see below).

What do I get if I enroll as a subscriber?

As a subscriber, you'll get unlimited access to all the course content on, including this course and all our other premium courses, to go through at your own pace. This includes all the videos, tutorials, demos, quizzes, activities, downloads, and other materials within our courses. You're also entitled to discounts of up to 33% on our mentorship programs, you will be invited to join our exclusive community Slack group, and you'll have access to exclusive discount perks courtesy of our partner brands. You can cancel anytime.

You can find out more about subscribing here.

What do I get if I enroll with mentorship?

Our mentorship program is our science-backed learning model designed to help you learn more efficiently and effectively. When you sign up, we'll pair you with an expert who will tailor the course to your experience level, offer detailed weekly feedback on your work, answer any questions you have, help you blow past obstacles, and keep you on track to accomplish your musical goals.

You can find out more about mentorship and our expert mentors here.

You'll also get unlimited, lifetime access to all the course content and lifetime access to our tight-knit musician community group on Slack, where you'll find peer-to-peer feedback and support, lots of inspiration, and fun, musical conversations with fellow Soundfly students, mentors, and staff.

How does the pricing work?

A subscription costs $39/month or only $19/month if you enroll annually.

Enrolling with mentorship costs $649 for six weeks of intensive support from an expert, plus lifetime access to the specific course you're purchasing. Payment plans are available — reach out to [email protected] to find out more.

Is there a money-back guarantee?

Yes, if you enroll with mentorship. If you enroll with mentorship and the course isn't what you expected, we will give you a full refund as long as you tell us before the start of the second week, in order to honor the valuable time of our mentors.

We're also happy to move you to a subsequent session, if you end up not having as much time as you expected. Once again, let us know as soon as possible!

How long does this course last?

Our courses were designed to be taken in six weeks. If you enroll with a mentor, you will go through that six week curriculum. If you enroll with a subscription on the other hand, you can choose to use the six week structure, or you can ignore it and jump around as much as you want.

Will there be future sessions of the course?

Yes! Check back shortly for firm dates, or sign up for a Soundfly account to receive email updates about course dates and new course launches.