Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Discussions on the theoretical basis of the LCC

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Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby ThomGaetano » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:34 pm

Hello everybody!

I have read George Russell's LCCOTO from cover to cover multiple times, and I have to say-it is pure genius! It provides the improviser/composer with a systematic approach to playing "outside" of the harmonic changes...But, I have one primary concern with this approach; mainly from the compositional side of things. Where does chord "function" come into play? You see, I am currently a student at Berklee College of Music, where they primarily teach Chord Scale Theory. In Chord Scale Theory, chord function is the primary means of composing a harmonic progression. For example, let's take standard rhythm changes. In C, this would be Cmaj7, A-7, D-7, G7, and if one were to compose this progression originally (say, this is hypothetically the first time this progression has ever been composed), they would justify the composition in this general manner: Cmaj7 has a tonic function in the key of C because it is the Imaj7 chord. A-7 is a tonic substitute, so the second half of measure one is occupied by this chord. D-7 would be II-7, a sub-dominant function in the key of C, leading to the dominant of the key, G7, which resolves back to the tonic (Cmaj7). However, in George Russell's LCCOTO, chord function is seemingly ignored. The concept mostly concerns itself with the melodic properties of each chord. For example, the Parent Lydian Chromatic scale for a D7 chord would be C Lydian Chromatic. If you play a C Lydian scale over D7, you would get the equivalent of D Mixolydian in Chord Scale Theory, and if you played a C Lydian Augmented Scale over D7, you'd get the equivalent of a D Lydian b7 scale from Chord Scale Theory, and so on and such forth. Basically, if you use the 7 principle scales of the LCCOTO over any chord, you get some kind of equivalent in chord scale theory (for the most part). The real ingenuity of the LCCOTO begins with Secondary and Alternate Modal Genres. However, there seems to be no justification of harmonic composition in George Russell's concept-the entirety of it concerns melodic resources implied over harmony. My long-winded question is this: does the LCCOTO suggest some kind of systematic approach for composing harmonic progressions at all? Have I missed the point? Is there some vital information that I have misunderstood? In other words, is the creation of a I-VI-II-V justifiably explained in the LCCOTO, or is the composer who follows Russell's methods simply "left in the dark" as to come up with an original and harmonious progression? All input is much appreciated-thank you :)
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby guitarjazz » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:19 pm

It would be good to know which edition of the LCC the OP has been reading. Also, I thought that the Berklee Chord Scale method was essentially their method of dealing with vertical tonal gravity, more or less and didn't include functional harmony. Shows you what I know!
Any book on functional harmony will be instructive. I've enjoyed The Structural Functions of Harmony by Arnold Schoenberg.
The Concept will take you places you might not have thought of before. It will also give you a new perspective on things you already know.
Motherload's recipe can also be used to analyze tunes as well as come up new harmonic pathways.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby ThomGaetano » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:45 pm

Motherlode,

Thank you for your informative and timely reply to this thread. After reading your reply, I read your Hindemith thread and studied your analysis.
I see that what you have done is charted the Lydian Tonic for each chord in the first 11 bars of the piece, and then placed them accordingly on the "Close To Distant" chart. You used the Parent Lydian Tonic of Bb, since that is the key of the piece. One thing that I noticed, however, is that on the "Close To Distant" chart in Russell's book, he skips the interval of a perfect 5th that takes place after the +IV (In the book the starting note is F; once the chart reaches B, it skips F# and goes up a major second to C#. From C# onward, the pattern of perfect 5th's continues until it reaches Gb-the b2). But, in the "Close To Distant" chart that you used in your analysis, the pattern of vertically-stacked 5th's is never broken. After +IV, you proceed to the b2, then to the b6, etc. Why did you deviate? Also, I see how this approach of charting the Lydian Tonics for each chord as they move through the various Tonal Orders can provide the composer with an "intuitive" compositional approach, but, this approach isn't concrete. Based on this methodology, the composer is only equipped with a gauge of how "out" or tense each chordal relationship is with respect to the tonal center of the piece. However, one is still left without guidance as to how one chord resolves to another, how harmonic rhythm and cadence function, and how adjacent chordal relationships operate.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby guitarjazz » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:54 am

[quote="ThomGaetano"]Motherlode,

One thing that I noticed, however, is that on the "Close To Distant" chart in Russell's book, he skips the interval of a perfect 5th that takes place after the +IV (In the book the starting note is F; once the chart reaches B, it skips F# and goes up a major second to C#. From C# onward, the pattern of perfect 5th's continues until it reaches Gb-the b2). But, in the "Close To Distant" chart that you used in your analysis, the pattern of vertically-stacked 5th's is never broken. After +IV, you proceed to the b2, then to the b6, etc. Why did you deviate? [/quote]
He deviated because he is looking at a different chart than you. Which edition of the book to you have?
The Western Order of Tonal Gravity does skip the b2 but the Close to Distant doesn't skip. These two charts are for entirely different purposes.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby chespernevins » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:06 pm

The new book says that the Lydian scale resolves to chords built on its Conceptual Modal Tonics.

This gives a little extra structure to the Circle of Close to Distant Relationships.

| Cmaj7 | A-7 | D-7 | G7 | C |

| F CMG V | F CMG III | F VI | F II | F CMG V |
Last edited by chespernevins on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby chespernevins » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:45 pm

Motherlode - interesting thread. Every time I checked you had edited your post again! :lol:

I think we (You, me, the OP, the whole group, whomever...) should try out your 8 notes thing. Are you still game?
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby guitarjazz » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:33 pm

ML..you need to write a book! You have so many great stories.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby bebopple » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:31 am

must agree with guitarjazz. plus you already have many of the stories published here...
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby chespernevins » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:56 pm

Trying to figure out how to attach images and sound files...

F Lyd Mel-3-tweak-1.png


Hmm, can't figure out how to make it bigger. But if you click on it, it'll enlarge.

Sound file:
http://www.4shared.com/audio/7qd_8PIv/F_Lyd_Mel.html

Ok, so what I wanted to do here is create a 4 bar phrase/progression in 15 minutes or less. I decided to make it a bland rhythm - just 4/4 time and quarter notes. The melody is a combo of F Major and F Blues, which I considered to be horizontal scales in the F Lydian Chromatic Universe. I wrote the melody first. I decided that I would harmonize the melody with chords from flat-lying Lydian scales, because flat lying chords usually support the melody pretty well. This meant I chose chords from F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, or B Lyd.

I decided the harmonic rhythm would be:

| chord chord | resolve deepen | go flat chord | resolve |

Then I just chose chords from these criteria.

When I wrote out the notation, I messed around with the left hand voicings so that they can't easily be played on the piano as written. But I think they sound ok in the sound clip.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby chespernevins » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:14 pm

Nice job Motherlode! I really enjoyed that. I could definitely hear it played by a wind ensemble!

I like your C# Phrygian type (D Lyd VIIh) intro into the C7sus of the 1st beat of the melody.

Also love your voicing of the 3rd bar of A, from the D- to C- to C/D.

There's tons more I liked about it too -the playfulness of the 3/4 and the intro, and the clusters in m.27,28, etc. etc.

I keep hearing bar 15 as B Lyd. The I hear the F D C bass line in m.16 as bitonal. Nice!

========================

So yeah, I'm using that free MuseScore program still. Seems to do an awful lot for free!

========================
Last edited by chespernevins on Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby chespernevins » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:27 pm

Some more thoughts regarding chord function in the LCC - check out p. 47 of the old book.

GR uses the close to distant relationship idea with regards to each chord and its surrounding chords, but also in comparison to the overall key of the music.

However, because there is so much freedom and there are so many choices available, he chooses chords based on other criteria. He chooses chords that harmonize the melody (unwritten on this page, but obvious to all), and he also uses strong voice leading in the bass line: | Gb | F | E A | Ab |

Put that together with the melody:

| Ab | Db | G | C |
| Gb | F | E A | Ab|

and he comes up with:

| Gb7b5 | F7+5 | E-7b5 A7+5 | Ab |
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby chespernevins » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:54 pm

BTW, I should be getting GR's biography tomorrow. I bought it so my wife and daughter could give it to me for Father's Day! :lol:

Also BTW, since there has recently been a thread about Lydian melodies... I called this little phrase "F Lyd Mel". Obviously, the melody does not contain the notes of the F Lyd scale. I called it F Lydian because the melody is in the "F Lydian Universe". It could be called "Horizontal Melody in the F Lydian Universe".

I've been calling it "Flydomel" in my own mind. :)

I'll stop posting now.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby chespernevins » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:00 am

I didn't get my GR bio yet. :(

I opened up my gift and it was another book I had ordered that arrived last week. The family didn't know the difference. lol!

Ah well. Patience...
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby chespernevins » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:50 am

Autumn Leaves

1st A:
| A- | D7 | G | C |
| F#m7b5 | B7 | E- |

| CLVI | CLII | CLVh | CLI |
| CL#IV | ALb7II | GLVI (or CIIIh) |

2nd A:
| A- | D7 | G | C |
| F#m7b5 | B7 | E- |

| CLVI | CLII | CLVh | CLI |
| CL#IV | CLDVII | CIIIh |

ML, I did hear what you said before about traditional chord progressions. Let me continue down this "Conceptual Modal Genre" path for a minute, however.

The CMG idea is another way of looking at "Resolving Tendencies" and the "Close to Distant" chart.

The CMG nomenclature of "CLVh" can be a shorthand for saying that C Lyd resolves to G Lyd. It can also be a shorthand for saying we are putting the G Major scale on the first degree of G (GLIh).

The G major triad can be built on GLydI. Also on CLydV(h). Also on FLII(h or v). But NOT on BbLVI, or on any degree of Eb Lyd, Ab Lyd, etc (until you get into the 9 tone order). So there is a defining limit of 2 flat lying Lydian keys that can support this major triad.

This is an interesting delimiter in the Circle of Close to Distant Relationships.
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Re: Chord Function In The LCCOTO?

Postby Andrew » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:24 pm

Great question. You specifically mentioned diatonic chord functions, and I would actually like to talk about non-diatonic chord functions. For me the LCCOTO helps me a lot in understanding compositions whose chords don't fit in the same key. Here's the chords to "Fall" by Wayne Shorter:

F#sus7 B7b9 Esus7 EbMaj7
F#sus7 B7b9 Esus7 EbMaj7
DMaj7 D7b9 G-7 B-7 AbMaj7
F#sus7 B7b9 Esus7 A-/B

If we look at the Lydian Tonics, we get this:

E A D Eb
E A D Eb
D C Bb D Ab
E A D C

So these chords that would be shard to recognize now are a lot easier to analyze because we have categorized them and classified them based on their Lydian Tonic. So we see in the first two lines, it's relative consonant at first, because of the familiarity between E A D which goes down the circle of fifths. D to Eb goes down the circle of fifths five times, so that's a dissonant leap, but it seems less dissonant to us because the bass' E to Eb sounds like a very smooth transition.
"Life finds a way"- Wayne Shorter
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