Harmonic Minor

Discussions on the theoretical basis of the LCC

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Harmonic Minor

Postby strachs » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:20 am

Does anyone have any thoughts as to how Classical music in minor keys is to be treated in LCC terminology/concepts? Somehow it seems like the "harmonic minor" scale is not quite at home in the LCC world.

Should it be considered an "official scale" that we superimpose over mode VI of a parent Lydian scale, or is it in fact an ineffective/obsolete description of what is actually TWO DIFFERENT parent scales, one resolving to the other?

Obviously, classical music all revolves around the resolving tendency of V7 to I in major keys (not at odds with Ionian mode). In minor keys, the Classical composers/theorists decided to leave the "leading note" in place, to allow them to use this strong resolving tendency in the minor keys as well. However, the leading note does not fit with the Ionian mode's actual relative, the Aeolian mode. I just wonder how you folks are treating this time-honored tradition in LCC terms.

There must be a simple explanation that I'm overlooking. Help......
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Postby dogbite » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:46 pm

my unofficial take on this is:

lydian tonic is b3 (Am tonality would be C lydian tonic)

member scales would emphasize the "horizontal" major and major augmented fifth scales:

Am tonality

C major scale
C D E F G A B C

C augmented fifth scale
C D E F G# A B C
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Postby dds1234 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:57 pm

The way I consider it would be as follows. I think that classical music in Lydian terms would be following the state of resolution from the VI to the V and eventually ending on the III as a minor tonic. I would also agree that the +V and/or bIII would be a passing tone. I consider the Lydian VI and III as both tonic stations, the III being the stronger one.

I hope I didn't stray further away from the topic, or have a terrible misconception of it.
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Postby sandywilliams » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:51 pm

There is an analogy between G7(Modal Genre II, F LT)to C ( Modal Genre I ,C LT) and E7 (Modal Genre VII, F LT) to Ami (Modal Genre VI, C LT). Another way to look at it is that F lydian and C major share the same notes and F lydian #2 and C major scale with a raised 5/ A harmonic minor share the same notes.
Harmonic minor is a horizontal scale in the way that the major scale and blues scale are. From personal experience I know the harmonic minor always sounds good going toward a minor tonic station but once I get there I usually go for something different unless I’m going for a Hora dance or Django vibe.
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Postby strachs » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:27 am

Sandy:

The point you make about Harmonic Minor being a horizontal scale is a good one. That's probably why it does not receive attention in Volume I (although I think it should have been at least MENTIONED in the book).

It's interesting that whether you consider the minor tonic station to be modal genre VI, III, or VII, the "leading note" falls on a +5, -3, or -7 respectively, all of which are the most outgoing note in the 8-, 9-, and 10-tone orders.

I have a strong suspicion that somehow LCC will offer a satisfying insight into the V7-im cadence of Classical music. I have an equally strong feeling that Russell is overly biased against the practices/traditions of the Classical school. I appreciate very much that LCC offers a larger view of tonality, in which traditional horizontal approaches can be placed in context. But IMO, omitting mention of the Harmonic Minor scale seems like a snub to that whole world of music.

What I'm looking for in LCC (among other things) is an all-inclusive perspective and insight into the harmonic practices that I've heared/studied/loved since I got into music. Volume I was a good introduction to the Concept, and for vertically-inclined musicians/music lovers, may be enouph. For me, I'm waiting patiently for Volume II (when, oh when, will it arrive?).


DDS1234:

Could you expand on what you meant by "the state of resolution from the VI to the V"?
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Postby sandywilliams » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:32 am

[quote="strachs"]

I have an equally strong feeling that Russell is overly biased against the practices/traditions of the Classical school. For me, I'm waiting patiently for Volume II (when, oh when, will it arrive?).
[/quote]
He's certainly not biased against the music...maybe the theory. And yes, Vol. II would be nice to see.
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Postby dds1234 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:09 am

I was actually talking about resolution to the Lydian V, with it being a common practice in classical music to resolve to the Lydian VI, temporarily of course. Eventually ending on the Lydian III or V. Nice "platforms" for a wholesome ending. I meant earlier to bring up the higher tonal orders... But that has been touched on!
-My overuse of the Lydian scale terms is my manner of thinking. Nothing else.

--On another note I had just woken up, I recommend that my previous statement be somewhat ignored for lack of clarity.
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Postby strachs » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:33 am

Sandy:

I guess that IS an important distinction - thanks. Also, I was doing some reading further back in the forum and found (in the B7b9 thread) mention of a "Cb lydian #2" horizontal scale (posted by you). Do you know where in the book that is? Or is it in a previous edition?

Amazing what you find when you go back and read what came before. The forum's getting a bit big for a thorough reading. Too bad there's not a "cole's notes" summary of all this material!

dds1234:

Rigggghhhhtt. Temporary modulation to the subdominant key of a peice in a minor key. Of Couuuurrrsse! I thought you were talking about final resolution. Sorry.
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Postby dds1234 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:50 pm

This is fairly obvious but, I have noticed that basically every western scale can be created just by using the nine or ten tone order. Reason being is that you have in your hands 4/5 of all of the notes... at your creative disposal. (in the ten tone order of course) For example one of my favorites the Byzantine scale. Even many eastern scales are easily in this category. For example the Japanese Koto standard tuning/scale. I have noticed, if I am not incorrect, that it is just a mode of the Lydian Diminished scale.
-I wish I knew the name of that scale.
--Update, it is the Hira Joshi tuning. It has the following tones D A D# A# G. However the scale I play and heard had an F in it so... It would have to be at least ten tone order to be put into use, I'm fairly positive.

Wow this forum is fuggin' active. :shock:
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Postby sandywilliams » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:52 pm

[quote="strachs"]Sandy:

I guess that IS an important distinction - thanks. Also, I was doing some reading further back in the forum and found (in the B7b9 thread) mention of a "Cb lydian #2" horizontal scale (posted by you). Do you know where in the book that is? Or is it in a previous edition?

[/quote]
Top of page 18 ..'Major Augmented Fifth'. Note the underlined VI.(remove the 'c' and you have D harmonic minor.)
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Postby strachs » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:57 am

Good find, Thx.
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Postby strachs » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:39 am

In your opinion, would V7 chords in Classical repertoire generally be treated as representing mode III of the Major Augmented Fifth scale, or as mode II of a LC scale one step in the flat direction of the circle of fifths?

EG:
A minor key. (Mode VI of C LC scale)
"Dominant" chord=E7
Possible interpretations:
Mode III of C Major Augmented Fifth scale
Mode II of D LC.

In other words, when resolving from V7 to i, do we gain anything by treating these as one LC scale resolving to another? Or does the "horizontal" nature of the Major Augmented Fifth scale imply resolution to the I and/or VI tonic stations, without having to move from one LC scale to another?
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Postby strachs » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:49 am

In this interview http://www.robertappleton.com/gr_interview1960.pdf posted by bobappleton in another thread, Russell says something to the effect that it doesn't matter ( to the music itself and to the listener) whether the musician is relating to the music horizontally or vertically. It only matters to the musician, and the music itself will not (if it's done with sufficient artistry) reveal the musician's thinking on this.

Maybe (to answer my own question, I guess) it doesn't matter which of the LC scales you THINK you're relating to. It only matters to YOU, and therefore there is no one "correct" way of relating to the two chords of a cadence.

Probably that's about the size of it.
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Postby sandywilliams » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:03 pm

[quote="strachs"]In your opinion, would V7 chords in Classical repertoire generally be treated as representing mode III of the Major Augmented Fifth scale, or as mode II of a LC scale one step in the flat direction of the circle of fifths?

EG:
A minor key. (Mode VI of C LC scale)
"Dominant" chord=E7
Possible interpretations:
Mode III of C Major Augmented Fifth scale
Mode II of D LC.

In other words, when resolving from V7 to i, do we gain anything by treating these as one LC scale resolving to another? Or does the "horizontal" nature of the Major Augmented Fifth scale imply resolution to the I and/or VI tonic stations, without having to move from one LC scale to another?[/quote]
Mode III C Maj. Augmented
Mode VII F Lydian #2 (compare this to F Lydian dim..very close)
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Postby strachs » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:48 pm

Yes, F Lydian #2 contains those very same notes. I guess, since any all LC scales contain all twelve notes, you could, if you wanted to, consider ANY chord as belonging to ANY LC scale, and just relate to your chosen lydian tonic as a close or a distant relationship.

The scale you suggested would be essentially an official scale based on the same tonal order (9-tone) as Lydian Diminished. It contains the same notes as the Horizontal scale that Russell defines as Major Augmented Fifth. The only difference, then, would be which LC scale you as a musician feel that you are relating to. Again, as Russel notes in the above quoted interview, there will be no audible difference.

In general, though, one usually will relate a chord/scale to it's "most ingoing" tonal environment. In which case Lydian #2 is a more ingoing tonal environment than even the Major Augmented Fifth scale (since the latter's fourth degree is more outgoing than the former's #2).

Cool, however, to see the various possibilites. Since we're dealing in this context with already-written music (from the Classical period, I mean), it is superfluous to consider what the composer was thinking (although they obviously were not thinking in terms of LC scales/tonics). The only reason to examine such music in LCC terms would be to unify our understanding of that music with our post-LCC approach to jazz and/or our own compositions.
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