Harmonic Minor

Discussions on the theoretical basis of the LCC

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Postby chespernevins » Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:58 pm

The LCC is so good at giving all the possible notes in a given vertical situation and categorizing them so well. Identifying m.1 as Bb 9-tone-order is powerful.

But now given that overview, how do we organize the choices within that 9-tone-order in a way that means something?

That was something that was interesting about looking at all those individual dim chords. Bach gives us the first E dim. chord, but no Db note until the Bb dim, and then no A note until the 4th beat, and certainly no D note until m.2 even though that D is available in the Bb 9TO. He started with giving us E, G, Bb, then added C#, then A, then resolved to D in m.2. (I don't have it in front of me at the moment - this is how i recall it anyway).

It's not handled in a measure wide blanket fashion - there's a progression of logic there within each measure. I tried improvising on that progression of dim. chords (very literally confining myself to the notes of each triad) being aware that they are all in the Bb 9TO. It gives a very specifc sound.
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harmonic minor

Postby chespernevins » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:25 am

So is it just me that is still unclear on this whole harmonic minor interpretation?

Here’s what I’m currently thinking – maybe you guys can point out what I’m missing.

First, remember how much confusion has been generated in the past when talking about horizontal scales?

For example, the C Major scale.

Is the C Major scale in F Lydian (F Vh 7-tone-order)?

Or is it in C Lydian (C Ih 11-tone-order)?

The answer is that it’s in both. So dealing with horizontal scales can be confusing.

We named that the “Escher-Sketchâ€
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Postby strachs » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:29 am

The important thing for you as a composer/improvisor/creator is to know which lydian tonic you are relating to. The discussion on pages 116-126, as well as the Martin Williams interview posted earlier in this thread suggest that your approach may only be obvious to you, and not heard/seen in the music you come up with. Especiallly relevant is this quote from page 123: "The aesthetic judgment of the musician must prevail in choosing which scales to relate to chords on the level of vertical tonal gravity; the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization simply shows the possibilities."

So, even though the same pitch inventories may be found in scales created from several tonal orders, that needn't confuse matters, since none is really "more correct" than the others. That being said, the most-ingoing tonal environment is preferred. Unless you have a reason to, there is nothing served in relating to another Lydian Tonic that puts your chord/scale in a more outgoing environment. In other words, having other possibilies at hand need not confuse us, as long as we know which of those possibilies best serves our purpose. Generally, this is the most ingoing option.

Any scale that has horizontal properties or tendencies will, of course, contain the fourth scale degree, which can also be regarded as the 11th tone of a vertical scale. Will you yeild to that horizontal tendency and "resolve" it, or simply consider that tone a colouring in the present moment? It's up to you.

I'm not sure if this addresses your question or not. In any case, hopefully mine or someone's response will get you the understanding you're looking for.


My original reason for this post was to get input from others as to how they were treating the V-ii cadence (or V7-ii, more specifically) in minor-key classical, baroque, or even romantic period music (pre-serial/atonal/modal).
The feedback I received provided far more than just the answers I was looking for (although it did that in spades), so thanks again to EVERYONE who has added their 2cents. It's worth far more than that.
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Postby chespernevins » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:47 am

Hey Strachs,

Thanks for your response.

I'm not sure if I phrased my question very well. I think what I'm asking is if we as a group have come to some kind of consensus as to the various ways that melodic minor is treated in the LCC.

I came a little late to this thread - but have re-read it a few times - and I'm just not clear what answer we came to.

You said:
My original reason for this post was to get input from others as to how they were treating the V-ii cadence (or V7-ii, more specifically) in minor-key classical, baroque, or even romantic period music (pre-serial/atonal/modal).


I'm really dumb here, can you write what chord progression you're talking about here? I'm sure it will be obvious when you spell it out, but I'm just not grasping it at the moment. :oops: You guys probably understood each other back on page one, but it went over my head.
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Postby strachs » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:45 pm

An example of the cadence we've been discussing is in A minor: E7-Am. In a major key, the V7-I cadence does not cause any problems, because all notes of the V7 chord are contained in the major scale/Ionian mode (eg in C major, G7 already has G B D F). In minor keys, the third of this "dominant" chord (excuse the term, folks) does not occur in the "natural minor scale" or Aeolian mode (E7 in key of A minor contains the G# note).

What I got from the responses was that the "dominant" chord is best treated as Modal Genre VII of the Lydian #2 scale because it "resolves" to that scale's IIIh degree, which is the most ingoing interpretation of a horizontally-treated minor tonic station chord.

If the final minor chord is, instead, treated as modal genre VI of a Lydian scale (assigning the chord it's PMG tonic), that's cool, too, because the overall lydian tonic movement will be the same as for a V-I cadence in a major key.

Major Key Perfect Cadence:
G7 - CM
modal tonic movement:
F L II - C L I
or viewed within horizontal scale:
F L IIh - F L Vh

Minor Key Perfect Cadence:
E7 - Am
modal tonic movement:
F L#2 VIIh - C L VI
or viewed within horizontal scale:
F L#2 VIIh - F L#2 IIIh

So, treating the E7 chord as mode VII of a 9-tone order, instead of it's usual mode II treatment, provides us with continuity between the perfect cadence in major keys and in minor keys.

That's how I see it. Have I misunderstood anyone?
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Postby dogbite » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:18 pm

strachs,

i think i understand what you're is saying here, but are we saying that the horizontal description of G7 C is F lydian or IIh Vh? that may be the CMG, but the prevailing LT is C, not F - i really think that the absence of book II is screwing me up here - maybe i don't have my ducks lined up regarding HTG?

substitute E7b9 Am, VIIh IIIh also...

can you straighten me out on this?

thanks,

db
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Postby strachs » Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:00 pm

I don't pretend to be an authority on this or anything, I'm just telling it like I see it. I don't think Russell did an especially great job of articulating all of this stuff related to horizontal scales and CMG's and the like, otherwise there would not be so much confusion over it on the Forum. In fairness, much has been promised on this front to be in book II. We'll see if it becomes clearer.

I do, however, think it's just too coincidental that the so-called "horizontal scales" (most notably Major, Major Flat Seventh, and Major Augmented Fifth) happen to be the same scales as the modes that are considered CMG's. The horizontal scales are said to possess an "active tendency to resolve" to the I and the VI modal tonics. CMG's are described as being tonic stations that the other MG's can resolve to. It's hard to imagine that Russell is describing two different concepts here.

Is there really a difference between calling the C-major scale (horizontal scale) Mode Vh of FL or Mode I of C11TO? In a way, it's Potato Patata.

On pages 205-207, Russell analyzes Bach's Prelude in C Major. He refers to the C major triad in measure 1 as mode Vh of FL. In measure 19, the exact same notes (an octave lower) are refered to as mode I of CL and again the final C triad is referred to as mode I of CL.

In this thread and in previous ones, I have referred to the section on pages 116 to 126 about CMG's. The wording strongly suggests that you can CHOOSE which Lydian Tonic you wish to relate to depending on "the aesthetic judgment of the musician". In other words, no one can state dogmatically what the "correct" lydian tonic is for a given chord, since there are several possibilites.

In measure 1 of the Prelude in C, the F lydian tonic is probably chosen because it is consistent with the surrounding material. But it would not have been wrong, either, to call C the lydian tonic at that moment.

For these reasons, I think that a minor tonic station can be regarded either as mode VI with a "horizontal scale" imposed on that tonic, or as mode IIIh (or even mode VIIh), a "conceptual modal genre". As for the "dominant" chord that resolves to it, the knee-jerk modal genre assigned might be II, but in music that is clearly of the "harmonic-minor" type, it seems more consistent to relate to it as mode VII of a 9TO, since the melodic material supported by the chord probably consists of the harmonic minor scale.

I certainly don't expect anyone to "come around" to my way of looking at it, since it's not the official version, but unless I'm mistaken, there are reasonable grounds to conclude as I do. That being said, I hope that I myself do not appear dogmatic on the issue. I could very well be proven wrong.....

(BTW - I think Sandy is with me on the modal genres - an earlier reply to this post showed me the the parallel between the two perfect cadences as far as Lydian Tonics are concerned - way to go Sandy!)
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Postby sandywilliams » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:14 pm

[quote="strachs"]

I do, however, think it's just too coincidental that the so-called "horizontal scales" (most notably Major, Major Flat Seventh, and Major Augmented Fifth) happen to be the same scales as the modes that are considered CMG's.
[/quote]

What a great observation! I'm going to have to ponder that.
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Postby dds1234 » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:14 pm

Minor/Major 7th

How do you all treat this chord?

I personally would put it on the position (I) for an ingoing habitat.
-Therefore it would be a chord in relation to 9-Tonal order.

Figured I would ask since it has a big relation to the harmonic minor scale.
I also didn't see any mention of it... Forgive me if I skimmed a tad much!
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Postby sandywilliams » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:41 pm

[quote="dds1234"]Minor/Major 7th

How do you all treat this chord?

I personally would put it on the position (I) for an ingoing habitat.
-Therefore it would be a chord in relation to 9-Tonal order.

Figured I would ask since it has a big relation to the harmonic minor scale.
I also didn't see any mention of it... Forgive me if I skimmed a tad much![/quote]
In a vertical sense I'd handle it as a VI with LA as parent scale. There is a min/maj7 on the I of a LD scale but I would view that as an alternate choice to the VI.
In the Concept you are free to treat horizontal scales vertically. Listen to Bill Evans 'Spring is Here' w/ Lafaro. At one point over an Emin7b5 he plays Gm/maj7, Amin7b5, Bbmaj7#5 all from G harmonic minor! It sounds so cool.
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Postby dogbite » Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:52 am

you might like this. root movement up in fourths, while the lydian tonic goes down in fourths:

B+7..........EØ..........A7b9..........D-..........G7..........CΔ
Eb lyd......Bb lyd......................F lyd.....................C lyd

which shows both

BØ..........E7b9..........A-
F lyd.......................C lyd

D-..........G7..........CΔ
F lyd....................C lyd

as relative major and minor cadences

and

DØ..........G7b9..........C-
Ab lyd.......................Eb lyd

D-..........G7..........CΔ
F lyd....................C lyd

as parallel major and minor cadences
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Postby chespernevins » Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:56 am

Strachs,

Thanks for the clarification.

I can see we’re all on pretty much the same page here, given room for questions due to the “book II factorâ€
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Postby strachs » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:23 am

Very good observation. I do find that in general, when two or more principles of music (natural phenomena of sound/perception) are combined, they make for powerful devices of communication/expression.

In your example, you are combining the MELODIC, horizontal tendency of a note to "gravitate" downward (in the FLAT direction) by a fifth (the root movement) and the HARMONIC, horizontal tendency of a LCS to "resolve" to the LCS a fifth in the SHARP direction.

In addition to combining these two forces, metric forces can be combined with these as well, exploiting the extra force felt by a downbeat with the notes/chords we want emphasized.

It's amazing how this kind of thing was obviously felt intuitively by musicians/composers for centuries, but can be articulated and exploited more objectively and intelligently with the insights offered by the Concept.

It's great that you discovered this powerful device!
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Postby strachs » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:25 am

Motherlode wrote:
[quote=Something needs to be said about rhythm at this point...give me a day or two I have have something I'd like to introduce.[/quote]

I can't wait to see what it is! Something tells me, too, that the Concept has something to offer on a metric analysis level, but I'm not sure yet what it is..... I'd love to hear what you have in mind!
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Spring is Here

Postby chespernevins » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:27 pm

In the Concept you are free to treat horizontal scales vertically. Listen to Bill Evans 'Spring is Here' w/ Lafaro. At one point over an Emin7b5 he plays Gm/maj7, Amin7b5, Bbmaj7#5 all from G harmonic minor! It sounds so cool.


Sandy - any chance you could post a little sound clip of this? Or maybe a few measures of transcription? :)
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