The Creative Power of Advanced Harmony

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

Learn on Your Schedule.
Learn from anywhere, anytime, at your own pace.

Go Deep.
Get unlimited access to countless high-quality lessons.

Challenge Yourself.
Take on practice activities & exercises to help you improve.

Get Help & Feedback.
Join our Discord community where you can get support 24/7.

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

More About Ethan
Less About Ethan
the creative power of advanced harmony
ethan hein
song analysis
chord progressions
chord scales
seventh chords

Subscribe Now for Unlimited Access

Take this course for as low as $12/month with a Soundfly subscription, and get access to all the creative courses we offer, and much more. Cancel anytime.

Want to work on this course with 1-on-1 support from an expert mentor? Request a mentor through our
custom mentorship program here.

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.


Add a custom mentorship session on top of your course subscription to work through the material one-on-one with an expert mentor. Get a more personalized experience featuring weekly calls, feedback, additional resources, and more. Tell us about your goals below to learn more.

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. Preview
    Section 1

    Getting Your Bearings

  2. Section 2

    "Jazzy" Chords Demystified

  3. Section 3

    Using Seventh Chords

  4. Section 4

    Leaving Diatonicism Behind

  5. Section 5

    Chromaticism & Passing Chords

  6. Section 6

    Tricky Tritones

  7. Section 7

    Embracing Dissonance

  8. Section 8

    Stacking Beyond Sevenths

  9. Section 9


  10. Section 10


  11. Section 11


  12. Section 12

    Slash Chords

  13. 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 long does this course take?

This course was designed to be completed in roughly six weeks, assuming students would have a few hours a week to spend on it. Each "week" includes a certain section and challenge activity for you to take on. That said, that timeline is just a casual recommendation — you can choose to blow through it all in one sitting or take a year with it, if you'd like.

Is there a specific start date?

You can start the course anytime. If you'd like more accountability and guided feedback from a professional, you can request to work through the course and your own goals with a Soundfly Mentor for four or six weeks, and get a more personalized experience for a specific period of time.  

Learn more about custom mentorship here.

How many lessons are there?

This course includes 62 lessons, including videos, graphics, text, activities, demos, quizzes, and much more. 

What do I get if I enroll as a subscriber?

As a subscriber, you'll get unlimited access to all courses on, including this 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 full suite of courses.

You're also entitled to a 25% discount on our custom mentorship program, you will be invited to join our exclusive community Discord group, you'll be able join subscriber-only Study Groups, artist Q&As and workshops, annual contests and giveaways, and you'll have access to a growing list of exclusive discount perks courtesy of our partner brands. Cancel anytime.

You can find out more about subscribing here.

Can I take this course with a mentor?

Yes, absolutely. If you would like to go through the course with support, accountability, feedback, and guidance from an expert, you can request a mentor by filling out this form. A Soundfly staffperson will reach out within 48 hours to learn more about your goals, your music, and your skills level, and pair you with a mentor who can help you achieve your next musical milestone. Our mentorship program is our science-backed learning model designed to help you learn more efficiently and effectively. Your mentor will tailor the course to your experience and interests, 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 goals.

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