Polychords and Polychordism

May 4, 2014

MangoldProject·60 videos

Supercharge your harmony and chord voicing with the simple yet powerful concept of polychordism – playing more than one chord simultaneously! The lesson itself will be given on a piano, but the concept is general and can be applied to any instrument. Polychords sound modern and sophisticated, and offer a creative way of re-using triads (and other chords) and a new way of looking at old concepts.

What is a Polychord?

Poly means “many”, so a polychord can be thought of as “many chords”: a chord voicing that consists of 2 or more chords played simultaneously. For example, play the C major chord in your left hand and the Bb major chord in your right hand: that’s a polychord right there! But there’s more: a C + Bb chord played together contain the notes C, E, G, Bb, D, F, which also make up the C11 chord. So, C11 = C + Bb. This simple observation opens up new ways of thinking about piano harmony and chord voicings.

What Can I Do with Polychords?

In this harmony lesson, applicable to both piano and guitar, I’ll show you how polychords can help you achieve a more mature and sophisticated sound, as well as substantially expand your chord vocabulary. In fact, not only will this lesson expand your vocabulary, but it will also simplify it, since now you’ll be breaking down complex chord voicings (e.g. C11) to simpler harmonic structures ones (C11 = C + Bb).

Additional Videos of Interest

My Youtube channel has many piano harmony lessons, many of which are also applicable to guitar. Please check them out for other cool ideas. Some examples are:

Piano harmony: Learn how to modulate between keys with the 2 5 1 progression