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Postby strachs » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:17 pm

I have searched the Forum for information/discussion on Polytonality/Polymodality (not sure if there is really a difference), and there's basically nothing here yet.

Does anyone have some thoughts on the "traditional" approach to polytonality in Jazz perhaps, and how the Concept has enlightened them on this aspect of tonality?

The concept seems to use SMG to describe manifestations of polytonality, where a melody is derived from a different Lydian scale than that which parents the underlying chords.

What I am especially interested in is the area where SMG comes back within the reach of normal tonal gravity and meets with those "special cases" of SMG termed AMG/CMG.

Has anyone given thought to a unified understanding of all of this?
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Postby strachs » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:30 am

Excellent quote.

Obviously I revealed that I didn't know the difference between polytonality and polymodality.

So if I understand the Bartok reference, polytonality would describe the multiple Lydian scale thing I was getting at.

But polymodality... I'm going to need more help.

I'm sure you're examples will be just what is needed. Looking forward to them!
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Postby strachs » Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:54 am

What a terribly cool sound! (The Mingus, I mean - but the Bartok is nice, too.)

As you pointed out, it's also interesting how key signatures are inescapably seen as misleading, if not completely irrelevant, once a composer ventures beyond the major/minor mentality.

Knowing, as we do, that the 'church modes' are modes, not of the major scale (which is itself Ionian mode), but of the Lydian scale, you could say that the Bartok (Phrygian on Lydian) approach (I think he referred to it as 'polymodal chromaticism') involves a marriage of two Lydian scales, five steps apart (in fifhs, of course).

So, C Lydian along with C Phrygian, is, in purely Lydian terms, C Lydian along with Db Lydian, but intersecting on a common Modal Tonic.

You're right about there being "special cases" of this kind of Polytonality. And if I'm getting you right, Polymodality is actually the same as Polytonality, except limited to those cases where a Modal Tonic can be shared by the two Lydian scales.

I'm educated, too, by Bartok's language, where he refers to "a Phrygian coloured C major". I am struck that he has very much the same "concept" as Russell articulated in LCC when discussing AMG's.

Russell indicates in several places that each MG has a distinctive "indigenous" flavor, or harmonic type that can be "superimposed" on another MG. The following quotes have lead me to see the AMG's/ CMG's as those 'special cases' of polytonality that can be termed polyMODality, and the SMG's as pure polytonality (by Bartok's definition):

pg51 "indigenous shade of that PMG's basic harmonic type"
pg109 "The seventh chords produced on AMT VII by these four scales posesses a b9 characteristic, a sound indigenous to the VII... Primary Modal Genre."
"the tonical quality of a G major triad is emphasized, because the G7 chord is placed into the I major/altered major PMG fo the G LC Scale where it sounds as a G (I) major b7th chord."
pg 135 "This brief Ab (Lyd Aug) Scale SMG sounding over the F7 chord creates a fleeting impression of an F minor (VI/Ab (LA) Scale Alliance which has the effect of expanding the tonal environment of the Eb LC Scale, the prevailing LC Scale in bar 1." "the II seventh chord treated as a VI minor chord is viewed as a SMG condition..."
pg 136 "an F major scale melody is sounded over the F7 chord... the genre of the F7 chord is transformed from a PMT II 7th chord to an AMT I F majb7 chord."
pg 163 "he (Coleman Hawkins) might have been experimenting with superimposing various scales... on a given chord. This would bring his thinking to the polymodal level (SMG, AMG, or CMG in LC Concept terms)."
pg 191 "The superimposition of Secondary Modal Genre on that prevailing gravity centering alliance (GCA) creates a polymodal texture"

So, to recap: Polytonality is the broad realm of of multiple coexisting Lydian scales, and fits with the Concepts term "SMG", and Polymodality is a more limited realm of polytonality, involving Lydian scales that can share a MT, one being used to expand or add color to the basic MG types of the other, and is handled in the concept by "outgoing vertical melody" and AMG/CMG.

Does that sound like a reasonable interpretation?

Also, could you expand a bit on how you have applied the "close to distant relationship" to this?
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Postby strachs » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:07 am

The reason I'm bringing all this up, is because although I'm pretty much a stranger to polytonality, I'm beginning to see it as an important element in an overall understanding of all things "Conceptual".

My desire is to find a way to unify all aspects of the Concept: the whole vertical/horizontal thing, as well as the ingoing-to-outgoing order, secondary modal genre, alternate modal genre, and horizontal movement.

As you know, I have my hang-ups with certain aspects of the underlying theory in the Concept, and especially the effect that this underlying theory has one one's ordering of the "tonal orders" of higher vertical expansion. Without going into "under-the-hood" Overtone Series theory for now, I'd like to at least relate the effect that a polymodal view has had upon my personal organization of all things Conceptual.

Since exploring polytonality and the subjects of AMG/CMG/SMG, I am beginning to view the higher 'tonal orders' as just limited manifestations of essentially polymodal considerations. If viewed this way, this would influence one's conception of the in-to-out order of these higher tonal orders.

The higher tonal orders, and the Primary Parent Scales that are typically used to embody them are used to expand, or colour, existing chordal/modal colours. They basically take an interval normally associated with a particular MG and kind of superimpose it upon the Lydian scale - influencing the colour of ALL modal genres of that scale.

The Lydian scale contains the intervals of M2, M3, #4, P5, M6, and M7. Each non-Lydian interval can be seen as one introduced by, and normally associated with, a mode of the Lydian scale. P4 by Ionian, m7 by Mixolydian, m3 by Dorian, m6 by Aeolian, and m2 by Phrygian. These are all 5 of the "higher tonal order" tones, but superimposed on the Lydian scale.

The above intervals are basically the Lydian Tonic Interval for the various Modal Genres (except, of course, +IV and +V). Since the 'indigenous' sound of any MG, embodied by that LT interval, can be superimposed upon another MG, one could view the chordmodes of the 'higher order' parent scales to be limited manifestations of polytonality (so, in the realm of polyMODality).

Lb7, for example, being a Lydian scale with the signature Mixolydian LTI, a m7, superimposed. In this scale, all PMG's are imbued with the characteristic sound of the MG two steps to the right (PMGI has a II quality, PMG II has a III qulaity, VI has a VII quality, and so on). To use Bartok's lingo again, you could call it a 'Mixolydian-coloured Lydian'.

LD, for another example, being a Lydian scale with the signature Dorian LTI, a m3, superimposed. In this scale, all PMG's are imbued with the characteristic sound of the MG three steps to the right (PMGI has a VI quality, PMG II has a VII quality, VI has a +IV quality, and so on). In Bartok's language, a 'Dorian-coloured Lydian'.

So, they are instances of polymodality in that MG is being derived by the Lydian scale that the ear is relating to directly, and the alteration is coming from a flat-lying Lydian scale. You could use ALL of the difference tones to colour the PMG, or just the essential one, the Lydian Tonic Interval, that defines the distance between the two Lydian scales.

The basic difference is just whether you completely COMBINE the two Lydian scales, or just kind of QUOTE the LT from the flat-lying Lydian scale. In either case, the ear will primarily identify with one (deriving PMG identities from it), and derive added colour from the other, whether multiple intervals, or just one.

If viewed this way, the ingoing-to-outgoing order of the parent scales would be seen as, not a matter of how many steps HIGHER a tone is on a ladder of fifths, but rather, a matter of how many steps away is the flat-lying Lydian scale from which you are borrowing intervals, and therefore colour.

This is a lot to chew on, so I'll expand upon this gradually. Stay tuned....
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Postby strachs » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:03 pm

It may be apparrent from the above example that in proposing a polymodal view of the "higher tonal orders", I conveniently skipped the case of quoting the LT from ONE mode over (or the LS one step in the flat direction), citing instead the cases of Lydian scales two and three steps away. This was just for clarity, since these are the simplest cases, requiring no further explanation.

The remaining cases require a little explanation, and they are:

Ionian-coloured Lydian (quoting the LT from flat-lying LS ONE step flat, in which prevailing LT is MGV).
Mixolydian-coloured Lydian (already discussed)
Dorian-coloured Lydian (already discussed)
Aeolian-coloured Lydian (quoting the LT from flat-lying LS FOUR steps flat, in which prevailing LT is MGIII)
Phrygian-coloured Lydian (quoting the LT from flat-lying LS FIVE steps flat, in which prevailing LT is MGVII)

The reason that a little explanation is required for these cases is: although the m2 interval is correctly placed at the fifth, "most outgoing" level of this arrangement, and the m7 and m3 are placed in a (to my ears) sensible 2nd and 3rd position, there is not a uniform, consistent experience of an indisputably audible "in-to-out" experience from the first level to the last.

The reason for that is: what is experienced at each level is the superimposing of a MG's essential quality, possessed by its Lydian Tonic Interval. The qualities of each MG do not develop in a neat, in-to-out manner as you traverse the MG's from I to V to II, and so on. So it is impossible that a uniform experience of in-to-out would be encountered when assimilating each mode's indigenous qualities into the primary Lydian scale. On the whole, there is an in-to-out grade to this approach, but since certain modes possess, not a vertical, but a horizontal quality (most notably MG's Vh and IIIh), these characteristic intervals must be expected to affect the modal sythesis in a manner reflecting their native MG identity.

So, special case number one: Ionian-coloured Lydian.

The obvious difference between MG I and MG V is that one is the most purely vertical, while the other is the most purely horizontal of the dual-nature CMG's of a major type. Thus, we should expect that a similar quality would be acquired when "quoting" the LT from the flat-lying Lydian scale in which the prevailing LT is MG V.

When quoting from any further away than this, the signature #4 interval is retained, so the MG-integrity is never compromised, just expanded. However when quoting the LT from the LS one step flat-lying, the tone that is replaced by the LTI is the #4. The result is a major scale. PMGI and VI now have the horizontal resolving quality that otherwise belongs to MGVh and IIIh.

As you can see, although this basically polymodal pairing is only one step away from a Lydian scale, the effect is far more drastic than that of superimposing the Mixolydian interval (m7) or the Dorian interval (m3). The horizontal character of the imitated mode makes this level seem more "outgoing" than the pairing of Lydian scales a little further away.

Something similar is encountered in special case number two: Aeolian-coloured Lydian.

In this case, not only is the fundamental tonal gravity level of MGIII horizontal again, but the quality of the chord is also opposite (minor). The LTI is a m6. This makes it a pretty unhappy union with the Lydian scale. However, this does provide an opportunity to graft in a chord type that is entirely foreign in nature to the Lydian scale - augmented. Augmented triads do exist in Just Intonation, but in ET we also have the luxury considering it an equal division of the octave in three directions, and of using the m6 interval as an enharmonic equivalent. So, the fourth level of polymodal overlap can be used to accommodate the augmented triad in an otherwise Lydian context.

This gives rise to the Lydian Augmented scale. In the Concept, this scale is said to occupy the 8-TO. Maybe my ears are swiss cheese, but I cannot help but hear that scale as more unnatural, more "outgoing" than the other Lydian-based scales (although not more 'dissonant' per se - just weirder). Using this fourth polymodal level as a home for this scale, to me, agrees more with my aural experiences with this scale.

Finally, the fifth level involves superimposing the m2 interval upon the Lydian scale (a Phrygian-coloured Lydian, as Bartok called the full polymodal pairing). Of course, no composer I know of ever used a "Lydian Flat Second" scale. However, at least this fifth level acknowledges and properly locates, the indisputably "most outgoing" interval available in the 12-tone chromatic universe.

Further, this idea offers a unique perspective of the African American Blues Scale (as defined by Russell on pg. 18). This could be viewed as simply as full-out polymodality carried to the third level. In C, the AABS is spelled C D Eb E F F# G A Bb B. It is lumped in with the horizontal scales because it contains the fourth, and because it has no necessity to fit with the MG's of any Lydian scale - it's kind of a chameleon.

However the fact that it has a fourth does not make it horizontal per se, since ALL of the modes of the Lydian scale also have the fourth, but are not horizontal because of it. It's easy assimilation over multiple chord types and modal tonics likely stems from the fact that, while primarily Lydian, contains tones from the next three flat-lying LS's, and could be seen as a "Dorian-coloured Lydian", borrowing any and all colours from these modes to colour virtually any chord type. This is probably why it fits in so many different situations, and makes no dogmatic claim to any MG, thereby gaining it's "horizontal" designation.

In conclusion (for now) - as motherlode pointed out, distance between key centres is the guiding factor in polytonality - so why not also in the "special cases" of polymodality? Taking it a little further, why not consider the "higher tonal orders" as themselves "special cases" of polymodality - where only the LT of the secondary Lydian scale is grafted onto the primary one?

In other words: Is the Lydian Chromatic Scale and it's "tonal orders" the most natural and unified way to relate to structures that transcend the lydian scale? Should not a single, unifed method be used to relate to all things post-lydian, one that can convey the parallels that exist between a full-out polymodal pairing and a mere "quote" from a flat-lying LT?

Rather than dealing with a LCS, I propose instead the use of Five Levels of Polymodal Overlap (the remaining six levels belonging to the realm of full-out Polytonality, or SMG).

This preserves the Lydian-centric disposition of the Concept, as well as the Modal Genre integrity (perhaps even more so) of chord-scale unity. It also fulfills the desire to measure how far one has ventured beyond the bounds of the Lydian scale when an expanded and evolved sound is desired that exploits more territory in the 12-tone ET universe. However, it conforms uniformly with polymodal pairings, and even the broader polytonal (SMG) realm could be mapped similarly in a way that dovetails with one's handling of the more limited (and far more commonly encountered) realm of polymodality and "harmonically evolved" lydian scales.

Also, there is no real need to have separate camps of "horizontal scales" and "vertical scales". All you need to do is access the first level of PMO (Poly Modal Overlap), where the Lydian Tonic Interval of the next flat-lying scale is used to transform the character of the natively vertical MG's into horizontally-oriented chordmodes. Modulation is thus acheived by simply reassigning MG (from MG Vh/IIIh to MG I/VI PMO level 1, or vice versa).

Again, a lot to chew on. I'll wait until there is some feedback before I post the underlying theory.
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Postby strachs » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:41 am

Of course I'll bear with you. I'm the one on thin ice here, and you're bearing with me, so thank you.

You're second guess was right: I think that in these pairings, one merely PERCEIVES the two to be one, when they are in fact, two.

You were concerned that the 'poly' is lost in my proposed method. I think your underlying concern is more that the 'not poly' of the LCS is lost in my method.

To me, the LCS does exactly what your coffee/cream analogy suggests. It makes things that are (I feel) actually separate appear as if they were not.

I think the jewel of Bartok's polymodal chromaticism is his identification of the non-Lydian tones as modal intervals. These 'outside' intervals treat the prevailing LT, not as a LT, but as a MT. MT of what? A second, flat-lying, Lydian scale. The fact that the scales intersect on a MT makes them a "special case" indeed, but does not remove the fact that they are still two Lydian scales.

One jewel of the Concept is it's clear identification of MG identities. Russell taught that the two sides of "Chart A" are kind of considered the "body" and the "brain". The brain part is based purely on the LT interval. That's because this interval is what identifies MG, the primary colour. To me, when two MG identities are BLENDED (Lydian, or MGI, with a LT interval superimposed on it), two LT's are involved, and therefore two Lydian scales.

When you say "I need to hear it", you suggest that the theoretical differences can be amply demonstrated by aural examples. What musical example can really "prove" or "disprove" whether a thick chord is a manifestation of polymodality, or a chordmode of some level of the LCS? Has any of the posted examples in this Forum, or even in the LCC book, really "proven" that outgoing tones are related to the LT by a ladder of fifths? The examples in the book demonstrate the CONCEPT of chord-scale unity and the behaviors of the levels of tonal gravity, they don't demonstrate a ladder. Neither can any example I may cite demonstrate that an 'out' tone comes from a second Lydian scale rather than a higher voice of a LCS.

My insistence that any development beyond the Lydian scale is actually the combination of multiple Lydian scales stems from my own theoretical understanding of the Lydian scale. I promise I'll post it soon. The problem is, it's hard to express concisely, and I need to whittle down my lengthy personal notes into something a little more forum-friendly. I'm working on it.

Thanks for bearing with me in the meantime.
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Postby strachs » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:54 am

Yes, Bartok's unique twist actually twisted the binoculars into focus for me. I'm glad I asked for input on polytonality BEFORE going on my tangent because your Bartok stuff actually propelled me ahead on this.

I tried playing some flat-lying pentatonic melodies in the RH while laying down pure Lydian VI-II-Vh stuff in the left, and although traditional theory calls this crap, and wrong, it was SOOO cool sounding. The pentatonic stuff served as horizontal (tying together separate chords) and vertical (supplying unexpected vertical colour) AT THE SAME TIME.

I'm almost ready for the OS theory, but at it's core, it's just this: the five intervals not found in the Lydian scale are identified by the ear as arising from their natural, modal home, a MG of the Lydian scale. Combining them with a Lydian scale does not change the ear's fundamental association of these intervals with a Lydian Tonic of which they are a modal interval.

More to come....
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Postby strachs » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:40 am

I promised to post my theoretical undercurrents to the above proposed ideas, so here it is:

Russell's concept starts by establishing that the Lydian scale has a purer, more objective vertical nature than does the Major scale. This is an objective, unassailable fact, demonstrated amply by a side-by-side arual comparison of the two, whether voiced in fifths, thirds, or seconds.

Russell attributes this vertical unity to the fact that in Equal Temperament (ET from here on), the Lydian scale is composed of a series of stacked fifths, a ladder of them. The overtone series was drawn upon to highlight the primacy and purity of the interval of a fifth (and later to provide support for the entire Lydian Chromatic Scale), and thus promote the fifth as the basis for an objective theory of music.

However, already there is a problem here. The overtone series (OS), already claimed to be the foundation for this theory, provides not only perfect fifths, but major thirds as well. Our entire sense of musical proportion has to do with what is provided naturally for us in the OS, including and especially the major triad. The traditional understanding of the Major scale is that it consists of three such major triads a fifth apart. The Lydian scale also belongs to this model (as Russell points out on page 231), except it is rooted on the first of these triads rather than the second. A stack of perfect fifths (whether Equal Tempered or Just) does not produce true OS-ratio triads when rearranged into a tertian order. Major thirds are just not related to perfect fifths in the sense of one being derived from multiples of the other.

Instead, if we take an arrangement of three instances of the overtone series (we'll call them OSI's from here on) spaced a fifth apart, :



we will find that the interval from the A to the E is not a perfect fifth, but something smaller (1.481... ratio rather than 1.5), a "comma" in mathematical terminology.

So, the intervals found in a natural, OS-based Lydian scale are not really a ladder of fiths. To form an objective theory, you here have to make a choice: Will I temper the thirds, so that they will equal mulitples of the fifth, so that I can use a Pythagorean ladder-of-fifths model - or - will I honor instead the major TRIAD and allow that one fifth to be tempered. For me, the model that is more faithful to the overtone series is the one that preserves the triads and abandons the ladder. Russell chose the ladder.

So my difference with his theory stems from what I percieve to be Overtone Series' own way of communicating to us the natural identity of the intervals, and I don't agree that that identity stems from a ladder of fifths.

I got very obsessed for a while with OS theory, particulary the implications of Combination Tones, as explained by Paul Hindemith in 'The Craft Of Musical Composition'. Most of you are familiar with this work.

Of particular interest was the discussion of the minor triad, about which there has been endless speculation and disagreement about it's origin and nature, all theories trying at least somewhat to find basis in the OS. What I find interesting in this is that the minor third INTERVAL has a way of communicating and INSISTING (via the combination tones, or CT's) that it's real identity is, not some super-distant, unrelated upper partial of the OS, but as the interval between the fifth and sixth partial of the OS (or between the major third and perfect fifth of the natural, OS-borne major triad).

Whenever a minor third interval is sounded on an instrument (or by voices, for that matter), subtly, almost silently, but undeniably, the FUNDAMENTAL of that OS "instance" of which it is the fifth and sixth partials, is also sounded - giving it's tesimony as to the real nature of this interval. It is NOT ROOTED ON THE FUNDAMENTAL of the OS, but is by nature a MODAL INTERVAL - that is, one that can only be produced by rooting a sound structure (whether triad or scale) on a tone other than it's rightful, gravity-annointed fundamental.

So, the minor triad, then (as I postulated in another thread) must be a composite of two instances of the OS, the minor third being derived from one, and the major third being derived from another, the two OSI's spaced a fifth apart.

The minor triad is to the major triad what modes are to the Lydian scale: a rooting of it on a tone other than the "lowest" one, the Fundamental that vertically supports the other tones in the most natural, purely vertical way. For the Major triad, there is an indisputable Fundamental. For the Lydian scale, which is just a combining of three major triads, there is also an indisputable Fundamental.

In addition, the intervals that occur above an OS fundamental (up to the sixth partial, beyond which there is a far weaker relation to the fundamental), because they communicate via CT's that the sounding root is indeded the rightful root, assert themselves as purely vertical intervals (the M3 and P5). Applying this to the Lydian scale, the purely vertical intervals are those which arrise from the three parallel fundamentals of the Lydian scale's OSI's: M3 and P5 from the first, M7 and M2 from the second, and #4 and M6 from the third. The CT's of these intervals assert their identity as purely vertical intervals arrising above an OS fundamental.

The remaining five intervals of 12-tone chromatic tonality do not occur in the Lydian scale as rooted on it's rightful Tonic. They are, however, available by rooting the Lydian scale on tones other than the LT, much the same as the m3 was obtained by rooting the OS-borne major triad on it's major third. Just as the minor third's natural arising, and the ear's unfailing identification of it, is as a modal byproduct of the OS, so the P4, m7, m6, and m2 identify themselves as modal byproducts of a natural, complete, and purely vertical scale.

The polymodal view of larger-than-lydian structures that I presented earlier, then, is an outgrowth of this basic theoretical understanding - that all intervals assert their harmonic identity as either lydian scale intervals or modal inversions of them. This identification is made by means of the Combination Tones of intervals. All five non-lydian intervals gravitationally identify themselves as such, and are inseparably linked to a mode of the Lydian scale which "parents" the interval.

Russell attempted to explain how/why these intervals can coexist in a Lydian scale context because he thought the vertical unity of the Lydian scale itself was attributable to the "ladder of fiths". Despite this, he correctly identifed the Lydian scale (on page 231) as being three instances of the OS a fifth apart, and sounded up to the first six partial. He apparently didn't consider this to be different than the intervals produced by a ladder of fifths.

He then explained (on pages 231-234) that the five non-lydian tones could be unified with a Lydian Tonic by considering the #5 and b3 to be themselves M3's of two additional OSI's, the m7 and P4 to be the 7th partial of the first two OSI's, and finally the m2 to be the twelfth tone in a non-tempered ladder of fifths. These assertions could only be true if the ear considered thirds and 7ths to be derived from multiples of fifths.

I personally feel that the ear does not make ONE aural association when an interval is encountered in isolation or in it's proper Lydian context (based on CT's), and ANOTHER (based in fifths) when the same interval is encountered in the context of a Lydian scale to which it doesn't "belong" (or in which it implies a "higher order").

That non-lydian intervals have an unalterable MG identity/association is, ironically, implied strongly by Russell himself, when he writes (on page 109, in connection with AMG): "The seventh chords produced on AMT VII by these four scales posesses a b9 characteristic, a sound indigenous to the VII... Primary Modal Genre." If the m2 interval (or b9 in tertian terms) is instantly identified by the ear as "indigenous" to a particular MG, why not the other non-lydian intervals, too?

So, in a nutshell, my theory is that the ear identifies with the Lydian scale very naturally, since it is derived in a very pure way from the OS itself. All intervals likewise are asocated with the MG of the mode (of the Lydian scale) which gives rise to the interval. Placing them in a different context does not alter this natural, primary association. The LCS, based on what I see as a incorrect theory (the ladder), does not, to me, objectively explain the larger-than-lydian constructs. Polymodality does, since it does not attempt to explain intervals in any other way than that which we naturally encounter them. There is no higher evolution of the Lydian scale, there are only multiple lydian sales. (In my opinion, of course - take it for what it's worth, it's all theory at this point.)

I have more to say on the subject, but for now, I'll save this for even later (along with other OS vs ET observations/arguments involving tritones, Symmetrical scales, and various ET artifacts that only mesh with Lydian in the ET world.)
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Postby strachs » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:06 pm

BTW, it is important to point out that the parallel- triad thing is pretty much universal, whereas the ladder thing comes historically from monophonic musical cultures. Only ET makes the ladder fit with polyphonic harmony, and the essential features of the Concept (chord/scale unity, parent scale/modal genre, and vertical/horizontal distinction) don't require a ladder. Only the LC scale and it's hierarchy of Tonal Orders do.
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Postby chespernevins » Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:49 pm

ML and Strachs, you guys are both incredible. I'm trying to keep up with your wonderful contributions in the short time I have to be online these days.

So Strachs, I read your post quickly, so forgive me if I do you a disservice, but I THINK I followed. Are you proposing a different "Western Order"?

If you are, what is it?

Are you proposing: C G D A E B F# F Bb Eb Ab Db ?

Or, are you proposing that our naming of anything past the 7 tone order be based on another LT?

I want to follow your argument, and I'm also looking for a summary of the end result, or a conclusion that you draw from all of this (at least as much as possible).

Again, forgive me for popping in so superficially. I'll hang up and listen to your reply...here on talk radio WLYD. :twisted: :roll: :D
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Postby strachs » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:08 am

Good questions Ches, and thanks for posing them.

Are you proposing a different "Western Order"?

Kind of. I'm not suggesting a different 12-note scale in some other order than the LCS. I'm suggesting simply sticking to the Lydian scale and considering any larger-than-lydian structures, whether scales or chords (indeed we Lydiots consider them to be virtually the same thing), to be an amalgam of two lydian scales, or at least one Lydian scale with the LT of another thrown in to expand the tonal palette available.

I think you can either have an "Order" that is purely and squarely based on some theoretical concept, and does not deviate from it, or you can derive it purely on subjective experience of what sounds more "in" to you, towards what sounds more "out" to you. I think perhaps everyone would come up with a slightly different order in the latter case, so that's fine, but does not lead to effective communication on the subject. Russell's LCS seemed to try to satisfy both approaches - on the one had basing itself on the ladder of fifths theory - on the other hand deviating from that order where the ear could not agree.

I think it is more universal and objective to order things strictly according to your theoretical model. The model itself should be one that "explains" why a m2 in the presence of a Lydian scale is unequivocally the most foreign, disparate, and "outgoing" tone that can be superimposed upon the MG's of the scale. It should, without rearranging, place this tone last in the chain of the five non-lydian tones. Further, if any of the remaining tones seem to audibly deny your model's ordering of them from 'in-to-out', a sound explanation should be offered.

In my proposed system, that explanation is offered - that along the way, the LT interval of each successive "out" tone that is encountered, imparts a quality indigenous to the mode being quoted, or imitated. As long as one is familiar with those qualities (MG V and III are horizontal, MG VI is minor, etc), their effect upon the prevailing Lydian scale should not pose a problem, even though they don't offer a neat "in-to-out" grade per se. My model denies that nature offers a neat in-to-out order.

Or, are you proposing that our naming of anything past the 7 tone order be based on another LT?

That's about the size of it, yes. I don't claim to have come up with a suitable naming convention for all of this yet, and it may be difficult or impossible to come up with one that meets everyone's needs. The aim, though, should not be primarily ease of assimilation by newcomers to the concept. Rejectors of the LCC often do so because they don't like having to learn new names for things (like the already-known scales now being called Lydian-this-or-that). It is their loss, and one needn't pander to those who are only interested in a minimum of effort. That being said, the naming should be simple and intuitive, but also accurately describe what is being named. Ultimately it should unify a venture from Lydian, through the five "tonal orders" of expanded scales, parallel that five-note range with the equivalent range of Polymodality, and dovetail neatly into the realm of out-and-out polytonality.

The "tonal order" approach forces us to consider A LD as a "9-tone order" structure, and a polymodal pairing of A Lydian with C Lydian as an "11-tone" structure. (Bartok would simply call the other a "Dorian-coloured Lydian") The close parallel between them is lost in this method.

I'm also looking for a summary of the end result

I think, and understandably, what you're looking for is similar to what people ask themselves when introduced to the LCC book: "If I go through the mental anguish of trying to understand all this, and risk having to throw aside some stuff that took me years to learn - what will be my Return On Investment?".

Maybe none. However, even the Concept itself does not guarantee to change the way you play or make you "sound better", or give you "more chops", or something like that. What draws people to the Concept, I think (because those looking only for the above usually don't invest much effort into learning the Concept), is the desire to view objectively and correctly what one is hearing, analyzing, playing, or composing, and to be able to understand and deliberately manipulate the natural forces that are at work upon sound, in order to create or at least appreciate musical art more fully.

What I have always been looking for, in the LCC and elsewhere, is an OBJECTIVE UNDERSTANDING of musical forces and how they manifest themselves. LCC provided me with much on this: the concept of chord/scale unity, an objective nomenclature (parent scale/modal genre) that reflects this understanding, appreciation for the distinction between horizontal behavior and vertical behavior, or levels of tonal gravity (and a little bit of supra-vertical), understanding of what tonal materials lend themselves most naturally to each of these types of behavor, and more. The ROI for me has been immense.

However, if I could find a satisfactory explanation for the few things that were troubling to me about the Concept, I would be lovin' it all the more. After many months of struggling, I think I've finally found it. If you, too found some things a little less than perfect, or hard to accept, maybe you'll find my approach more objective. Maybe not. I'm not saying I'm "right" and Russell was "wrong" (and the title of my last thread seemed so poorly timed when I heard of his passing). I'm just sharing with you what, for me, removes what I considered as unnecessary and inaccurate elements of what is an otherwise fantastic Concept. If that's worth something to you, I'm glad I could be of help. If not, forgive my unorthodoxy.
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Postby chespernevins » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:09 am

I'm also looking for a summary of the end result

I think, and understandably, what you're looking for is similar to what people ask themselves when introduced to the LCC book: "If I go through the mental anguish of trying to understand all this, and risk having to throw aside some stuff that took me years to learn - what will be my Return On Investment?".

Hey S,

Thanks for your reply. I think I can see where you're coming from. The one very fine point I would quibble with is the motivation you assigned to my question above.

I wanted to know an endpoint simply to try and follow your logic map more accurately - as a way to judge where you are going with this so I could more accurately trace your steps in getting there. Just a desire to understand is all. Not really a quest for technique.

Let me add my voice to Motherlode's, with only the best and most respectful of intentions. You are finding your own approach here. If you had some interesting sounds to share with us it would make your thought effort more dimensional to us and perhaps replenish your thought process as well. Maybe consider it a little bonus for those of us that have followed your in depth thought procesess!?!! :twisted: :idea: :wink: 8)
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Postby strachs » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:27 am


I am sorry to have misinterpreted what you were asking. I certainly did not mean to lump you, especially, in with those merely looking for a quick jump-start to their playing.

I appreciate your respect, as well as motherlode's. Being that many intertwine their musical and theoretical viewpoints with their sense of self and of spirituality, even, we all would do well to show such admirable consideration and respect. I hope I have not strayed from this myself. I certainly mean Mr. Russell no disrespect either.

I know I ought to give as much time and attention to providing examples in score or audio, as I do to struggling mentally with it all. I will. I acknowledge that I owe it to you if you are to come out on this limb with me.
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