The Creative Power of Advanced Harmony

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

We're not your average online course.
Find out about our mentorship approach.

Starts April 7

Six Week Mentor-Guided Course

Money‑Back Guarantee

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, and get personalized weekly feedback on your work from an expert. 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

More About Ethan
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theory for producers
music theory

4 Days Left to Join the Next Session

Payment plans available. to find out more.

  • Unlimited access to interactive and video content
  • Weekly feedback and support from an expert Soundfly Mentor
  • Membership in our growing online Slack community of students and mentors

Price $649

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


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


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 this right away in a series of real-life writing and production challenges.

Is there a money-back guarantee? 

YES. If you sign up 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. The reason that the second week of the course is a cut-off for our guarantee is simply because if we go past that deadline, our mentors will have likely put in a lot of time, energy, and effort already. 

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! 

Are there any pre-reqs?

This course is really 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 want a working knowledge of a digital audio workstation (DAW), such as Ableton Live, Logic, FL Studio, or something else.

What do I get as a Mainstage student? 

The Mainstage experience is built on our science-backed active learning model, which helps you learn more efficiently and effectively than typical online courses. The key difference is our mentorship approach — one-on-one coaching with a trained Soundfly Mentor who has extensive experience in the subject. 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'll also get unlimited, lifetime access to all the course content — including in-depth lessons, activities with answer keys, quizzes, video tutorials, and downloadable resources — so you can review anytime and keep your skills sharp.

As an extra perk, you’ll get 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.

What does it mean that the course starts on a specific date?

As soon as you purchase a course, you can begin exploring the course material immediately. On the start date, the session begins, which means you'll begin the guided experience that includes weekly activities, feedback from Soundfly Mentors, and much more. This is intended to help you stay accountable and get the feedback you need to succeed. 

Can I take this course without a Soundfly Mentor?

We believe strongly that accountability, feedback, and support are critical to active learning — where you learn by putting your knowledge into practice and engaging thoughtfully with what you're learning. And we think that active learning is a more effective path to learning a new skill than passive learning — where you're simply watching videos and reading text.

However, if you don't need the mentorship component of our course, whether it's because you're working with a private instructor, or don't have the time, or maybe you are a private instructor and want to use the course content with a student, you can buy unlimited access to the course content for $129.80. Please email [email protected] for a code to purchase the course content at the discounted rate.

Will there be future sessions of the course?

Yes! We aim to start a new session on the first Tuesday of every month. Check back shortly for firm dates, or sign up for a Soundfly account to receive email updates about course dates and new course launches.