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Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:46 am
by chespernevins
I wanted to share something that's been making a difference in my intuitive grasp of tonal gravity.

It's simple, and I think that's what helps.

It's just major triads (major to start with) in tonal gravity, arranged in a similar way to how we have arranged intervals.

Simply put, find all major triads present in each of the levels of tonal gravity: 7 tone order, 9 tone, 10 tone. I won't even go outside of that at this point. I find that if I stray more outside of that, it is often done with other organizational principles in mind.

Then, find the tonic of the triad (of course for a major triad it is always the bottom note), and arrange the triads in ingoing to outgoing order based on those tonics.

So, in C Lydian:

7 tone order - C Maj, G Maj, D Major
9 tone order - E Major, B Major, Ab Major
10 tone order - Eb Major

One simple way to practice this is to recite it in all keys.

Re: Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:46 pm
by chespernevins

Happy New Year!

Thanks for your nice compliment. I save your work too!

I went back looking at my charts, and sure enough, there from early 2010 was a chart with all kinds of 3-note combinations, with the intention of finding them within Tonal Gravity.

The caveat is that I am pretty sure the interval chart is legit LCC, but charting a three note combination may cross the line, and may not always give the expected result. this is why I didn't post it at the time.

Therefore, this is more just a personal approach - and it's been useful.


The creation of the interval chart (which you attached) required finding all the intervals of a certain type that could be found in a given tonal order.

For example, in C Lydian 9 tone order, we have three min3rds, G#-B, Eb-Gb and C-Eb.

Now we want to rank these minor thirds from ingoing->outgoing. In the "new version of the LCC", to rank these intervals, we find the tonic of each of these intervals. Then, using the tonics as a guide, we order the intervals in the same order as the Order of Tonal Gravity (C G D A E B F# G# D# Bb F Db).

The tonic of a min3rd is the TOP note. So the tonic of G#-B=B, Eb-Gb=Gb, and C-Eb=Eb. If we place these tonics in order following the Order of TG, we get B, Gb, and Eb, so the ingoing to outgoing order of these intervals is G#-B, Eb-Gb and C-Eb.

Ok, I think you knew that anyway, but here's the new part.

I got to thinking at around that same time that if I wanted to rate the order of triads within Tonal Gravity, I would do the same thing. Find what triads were available in each of the tonal orders, figure out the tonic of that triad and then place the triads along the Order of TG.

With Major Triads, it seems pretty intuitive, as it seems to work pretty well. Minor Triads are ok, but might raise a question or too. Augmented triads are a little more confusing because they academically come out in a certain order but since augmented triads are of limited transposition we have identical triads rated at different places within the tonal order.

It was also clear that any group of any number of intervals will have a Lydian Tonic, if you look for it. So I thought you might be able to rank any tone cluster against the backdrop of a given key.

Anyway, I'll post a very brief chart here to give you a visual idea.

Re: Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:04 pm
by chespernevins
Again, I would like to stress that I don't posit this as a true axiom of the LCC.

I'll give you an example of a problem with minor triads:

Eb min: Eb Gb Bb
G min: G Bb D

Both are in the 10 tone order of C Lydian. Knowing this is very good information.

The problem comes with ranking these.

The tonics of these triads are the "middle note" of the triad, or the third.

So Eb Min tonic = Gb
G min tonic = Bb

Gb comes before Bb, so Eb min comes before G min.


But intuitively that seems a little strange to me. Maybe because the Eb min triad has two 9 and 10 tone order notes (Eb, Bb), while the G triad has only one 9 or 10 tone order notes (Bb).

If we break these down into the bottom two intervals of the triads, Eb-Gb IS more ingoing than G-Bb. If we compare the two top intervals of the triads, Gb-Bb IS more ingoing than Bb-D. The problem is that G-D is very much more ingoing than Eb-Bb.

So, maybe this system is not universal.

But it has been useful for me to know instantly the Major and Minor triads in a given key, as long as I'm not that particular about the exact order within a level of tonal gravity.

Re: Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:00 pm
by chespernevins

I appreciate all your comments. I was just playing Night Bloomer and enjoying it, and my 13 year old daughter came in and wanted me to keep playing it.

I think I get your thought process, on the first half anyway. It seems to me you started with -3rds in C Lyd as the melody (now that i know tonal gravity intervals, it is a little more obvious, lol), and the min2 from C Lyd. Then, after the fact, you dropped the triads into place - the first two fit in C Lyd, but the 3rd and 4th followed in sequence naturally taking us up to D Lyd, giving it a different sound, and making it sound more interesting over the repeated min2.

The triads are very tonal, giving a definite CLyd VI -> C LIIIh effect, and then DVI -> DIIIh. That's some "new LCC terminology" for you - the Conceptual Modal Genres (IIIh).

Thank you for the Night Bloomer picture. (Night blooming cereus?) Not only is it beautiful, and a special phenomenon, but my grandparents had one where they lived in Florida, and I remember them getting us up in the middle of the night to see it! It really touched home to hear about the flower.

I understood more about Night Bloomer this time around.

Re: Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:55 am
by chespernevins
Now, I differ with you on one point. In 'Night Bloomer', the last two (-3rds), b-d/f#-a are the last two (-3rds) in the C lydian scale.

Yes, that is what I thought - that you took A-C E-G B-D F#-A from C Lyd. Only after you chose the triads did D Lyd come into the picture.

Re: Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:35 am
by chespernevins
Off the cuff, I would say that it is all the same thing! Our notion and his notion of tonal gravity!

Except that he is trying to relate - just for example - an F Lydian scale to a tonic centered around C:

C <-

That's what the "new" LCC calls a Conceptual Modal Genre.

The C (in vertical gravity) (shown above) is really the 5th degree of an F chord. But in a Conceptual Modal Genre, we try to relate the F Lydian scale to an imposed tonic chord - a C Major chord (below).

E <-
G <-
C <-

The reason this has the functional harmony tension->release aspect is that we simulate the movement between a flat lying key (F lydian) and C Lyd (the C Major chord). It's a trick that works well, but we could also resolve other flat lying keys to C Major by the same principle (for example, Bb Lydian to a C Major chord).

The powerful thing about the Lydian arrangement is that it's a form that is most at rest, so it's much clearer to work with, rather than trying to relate everything back to a tension->resolution model.

So my immediate thought is that he is partially correct in calling it tonal gravity, but it's only one aspect of it.

Re: Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:23 am
by chespernevins
Lol, well excuse me for being far too verbose. What I should have said, maybe, is:

Yes, it IS tonal gravity. *Horizontal* Tonal Gravity!

A related idea: Take any of our Vertical Tonal Gravity as we have been thinking of it (say in F Lydian) and put it over a C Major chord or A minor. Voila!

Re: Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:29 am
by chespernevins
It's not a bad video, really. Some interesting music towards the middle and end.

Re: Triads in Tonal Gravity

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:35 am
by guitarjazz
[quote="motherlode"]Ummmmmm, OK. Thanks!
Excuse me for bringing in stuff from the outside.[/quote]
No pun intended!