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The six-week mentored course shows students how to transcend tired harmonic clichés to build more nuanced, interesting chord progressions, how to use concepts like modal interchange, secondary dominants, dissonance, and chromaticism, and how to bring a “jazzy” sense of harmony to one’s music. By the end, participants overwhelmingly feel more comfortable crafting sophisticated chord progressions to imbue more nuanced emotions in their music.

You see, “Sorry” is written in E♭ major (a key that boasts the same number of flats as C minor, more on this later). This means E♭ major is the tonic or “home” chord, thus all of the melodic and harmonic content is being created from the E♭ Ionian (major) scale.

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Music is the beautiful communication of vibrations in space, as perceived by our ears and interpreted by our brains, and the ultimate aural expression of our existential experience of life. In the words of E.T.A. Hoffman, “Music discloses to man an unknown realm, a world in which he leaves behind him all definite feelings to surrender himself to an inexpressible longing.”

Ethan Hein is a Doctoral Fellow in Music Education at New York University. He teaches music technology, production and education at NYU and Montclair State University. With the NYU Music Experience Design Lab, Ethan has taken a leadership role in the creation of new technologies for learning and expression, most notably the Groove Pizza. He is the instructor of the free Soundfly course series called Theory for Producers. He maintains a widely-followed and influential blog, and has written for various publications, including Slate, Quartz, and NewMusicBox.