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alan S. Offline OP
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I came across an interesting anecdote concerning the great alto sax player Ornette Coleman and his sideman tenor player Dewey Redman. Redman looked at of of Ornette's charts and asked why there were no chord symbols, and what was the overall key.

Ornette took the lead sheet away and put chords under every melody note! The chord was always the same as the note. If the note was G the chord was written simply as G and if the note was F# it was also merely an F# with no chord quality as such.

Redman just scratched his head in confusion none the wiser as often was the case in dealing with Ornette's methodology.

What interested me was the idea that a note could suggest it's own chord all on its own regardless of key.

Looking further afield I saw that in a discussion of Scriabin's music the mystic chord was the chord suggested by a note's overtone series. The chord was a dominant 13b5 I believe.
He was referring to the 'audible' overtone series which came to be referred to as the overtone scale or the Lydian Dominant scale 1, 2, 3, b5, 5, 6 b7.

Others believe the audible series to be only a plain dom 7 chord 1, 3, 5, b7,starting on the note's root which conforms to the overtone series order. while many consider only the root major third and 5th as the really strong overtones suggested by a note.

While I can't say I've heard that I've heard this psycho-acoustic phenomenon for myself I'm interested to know what others think of this as a possible source of melody reharmonization and if you've ever used it.

Could this be the origins of constant structure chords or harmonic planing you find so much today in post Bill Evans jazz?

Alan

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http://www.jazclass.aust.com/lessons/jt/jt09.htm

This is a nice chart on the overtone series. Ray


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Hello Alan,
I guess you've heard of George Russell's "Lydian Chromatic Concept", though I don't use all of his stuff, the idea of the Lydian being harmonically central (rather than Ionian) is one that I build all my thinking around because if you take the modal scales starting at the Lydian, they can be arranged from brighter to darker. I have never found a reason why the Ionian should be 'central' to Western music, except that our ears have been cultured to accept this. I have never found a 'theoretical' reason.

You probably know this but for others:

(important note: The keyboard and western notation is design skewed towards making the IONIAN scale the one with no alterations (the C Ionian Scale). In what follows the Lydian is central)

Lydian (try to see the augmented fourth as the 'real' or unflattened fourth) Brightest scale
Ionian ( as above and flattening this 'real' fourth) 1st alteration
Myxolydian (as above and flattening the seventh) 2nd Alteration
Dorian (as above and flattening the third) 3rd Alteration
Aeolian (as above and flattening the 6th) 4th Alteration
Phrygian (as above and flattening the 2nd) 5th Alteration
Locrian (as above and flattening the 5th) 6th Alteration. Darkest Scale

7th Alteration?

Next all notes flattened which means the whole original Lydian scale goes down a semitone. Perpetuating in this way(using equal temperament) eventually all the 84 diatonic modal scales are described.

Roots are a descending fourth/ascending P5th from each other, each step the sound of the scale is darker.

Z



Last edited by ZeroZero; 01/16/15 08:23 PM.

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alan S. Offline OP
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Ray

Thanks for that. Good introduction to the topic for anyone new to the subject.

Z

Yes it seems to vindicate (or validate) the Lydian thesis at a very fundamental level. If as the overtone series suggests, its true to say that every note suggests a dom7 chord, then every note has an implied Lydian Major tonic on the b7. This must be what Ornette is all about. Every note is potentially at least an implicit key centre. This would explain why Ornette's improvised melodies always modulate spontaneously, nearly always use third based major and blues scales, sometimes changing more frequently than others and therefore more obviously 'chromatic' sounding as a result. It was always mostly tonal, however free that tonality actually was. the difference lay in the melody always determining the harmony rather than vice versa.

His 'Harmolodic' theory was harder to pin down but it certainly involved treating the normal instrument clef transpositions as if they didn't exist. On his 'Skies of America' he had all the instruments in the orchestra reading from the C clef creating a clash of Bb C Eb Ab and whatever else there was!!

Alan

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Well, all this may well be true. I never really liked his sound (lol).
There are ways of thinking of music where you impose your pattern on the sound, regardless of what the laws of harmony (laws as in physical lwas) are. Yes you get a sound, and it can be effective as a kind of cultured dissonance, but a perfect fifth is still a perfect fifth and still sounds sonorous - even if you dont wat it too - therefore music is not purely subjective.

Schoenberg's serialism is a case in point, many thought at the time, that one could simply write new rules and the ears would adjust, like a Brave New World.
I don't think this is entirely true, but world music does show that there are other perspectives than traditional harmony.

Z


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