Giant Steps: Topsy Turvy

The main body of the LCC and its practical application, including all 4 published versions of Book 1 with their inserts: the 1959 tan cover; the 1959 light green cover Japanese edition; the 1970‘s white cover, which adds an illustrated River Trip to the 1959 edition, and the currently available Fourth Edition, 2001.

The authorization code is the first word on Page 198 of the Fourth Edition of the LCCTO.

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An open letter from Alice Russell. June 21, 2011, Brookline, Massachusetts. 1. DO NOT make insulting, mean spirited remarks about anyone or their work; there are a plethora of sites where you can rant unfettered. If you attack someone personally, your comments will be removed. You can post it, but I'm not paying for it. Go elsewhere, and let those artists who are actually interested in discussion and learning have the floor. 2. There will be NO posting of or links to copyrighted material without permission of the copyright owner. That's the law. And if you respect the work of people who make meaningful contributions, you should have no problem following this policy. 3. I appreciate many of the postings from so many of you. Please don't feel you have to spend your time "defending" the LCC to those who come here with the express purpose of disproving it. George worked for decades to disprove it himself; if you know his music, there's no question that it has gravity. And a final word: George was famous for his refusal to lower his standards in all areas of his life, no matter the cost. He twice refused concerts of his music at Lincoln Center Jazz because of their early position on what was authentically jazz. So save any speculation about the level of him as an artist and a man. The quotes on our websites were not written by George; they were written by critics/writers/scholars/fans over many years. Sincerely, Alice

Postby strachs » Tue May 05, 2009 3:00 pm

Yeah, sorry motherlode, for hijacking your thread! ALL of these threads are related to some degree or another....

It's just that the circle of fifths, so fundamental to the concept, and all the insight and perspective it affords us (especially in "out-there" stuff like Giant Steps) is universal, and it's usefulness can and should be harnessed right from the get-go.


As to teaching the concept to a musical virgin: You never want to alienate your student from the rest of the world. In a perfect world, we would call the sharp fourth in the Lydian scale just "4" and it would be "lowered fourth" in the major scale. (just to rid ourselves of the unwarranted bias toward the major scale)

Since modes (and especially modal genre) are an intermediate, rather than an entry-level concept, I think there are limits to how much a teacher can introduce the Concept to a beginning student. From a very purist point of view, you would want to completely eliminate any inaccurate terminology and biases, but there is still hundreds of years of musical literature available and useful, though written without LCCTO's insights.

In practical terms, most beginning music students just want to get some familiar music under their fingers, and to some degree have some lingo they can use to play/discuss this stuff with their friends in a jamming situation. That's what we ALL want, even as we advance.

The concept is really at the level of the artist, because artists (generally) understand some of the pure science at work in the physical world, and find ways to exploit it in order to express themselves through their instrument or their brush (or their pixels).

Nevertheless, I think that introducing such a powerful fundamental as the circle of fifths (even without an understanding of temperament and all of it's compromises) at an early stage, opens the door to both the basic and the advanced.

As to being a "harsh" teacher .... as long as you build genuine enthusiasm for the benefits, students can enjoy this stuff... really. (It's not like I stand there with a flame-thrower, threatening pain if they don't remember "father charles goes down...")
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