Chart A discrepancies.

Questions and answers on the basic structure of the LCC

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Chart A discrepancies.

Postby strachs » Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:16 pm

I originally was going to raise some concerns directly with the folks @ the main website, but the email address on the "Contact" page is not functional. So, I'm throwing some questions out there for those who are concerned with the concept and the book:

1. In Chart A, why is the Parent Lydian Tonic of the Major VB Primary Modal Genre listed as the fifth degree of the mode, and not the fourth? Going up a fifth from that modal tonic does not bring you to the lydian tonic, but going up a fourth does.

2. Why are there "7th b9" and related chords listed in the VII column of the Lydian Scale Chordmodes, when they actually are not possible in any mode of that Principal Scale? For example, if C is the Lydian tonic, then B is the root of the VII chordmode. B7b9 is spelled: B, D#, F#, A, C. So how does the D# fit into that chordmode at the Lydian Scale level?

3. Another thing that strikes me as odd: It seems to me that the whole impetus behind naming this system after the Lydian scale (rather than Major) is to be as objective and scientific as possible, thus yielding a broader system to work within, and be free of limitations imposed by historical bias, etc. Doesn't Russell's definition of the Lydian Chromatic Scale stray from this principle? Rather than starting with a tonic and stacking an unbroken series of fifths, the Lydian Chromatic Scale involves "bypassing" (page 232) certain fifths to better accommodate certain commonly used chords. Isn't this deviation motivated by biases similar to those that brought the Major scale into ascendancy (as opposed to the scientifically "purer" lydian scale)?

As we progress from the "ingoing" 7-tone order to more "outgoing" tonal orders, should not that progression follow in the order of perfect fifths? Can a tonal order really be said to be "more outgoing" if it is arrived at in an order other than a succession of perfect fifths?

This seems somewhat inconsistent with what the whole concept is getting at in the first place.

I'm otherwise hugely impressed with George Russell's unique take on harmony. I kind of have OCD on these kinds of points, so please help me understand these seeming inconsistencies/errors.

Thanks.
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Postby sandywilliams » Tue Mar 04, 2008 10:10 pm

In response to point 1..You are right..that is a typo.
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Thank You For Replies

Postby strachs » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:47 am

Thanks to both sandywilliams and motherlode for your replies!

Motherlode: you make a good point about the "essence" of a chord (not requiring all the voices to be represented in the voicing). I wonder, though, if that is the case here.

In the other columns, the chord names seem to express very specific sets of notes. None of the chord names in those colums require us to stray from the well-known spelling of the chords. In column VI, for example, the term "min 7" is used (a name hated by the those in the Classical school, but understood in the jazz an pop worlds to mean root, minor third, perfect fifth, minor seventh).

The term "7th", though, is (at least, in my experience) understood to mean a dominant-type chord, not a minor type. Though I am aware that minor-type scales can work well with this type of chord (the minor third functioning as a raised 9th in these cases, but not replacing the major third), I am not aware of any school of thought that goes so far as to say that the 7thb9 chord is anything other than a dominant-type chord. It actually has two tritones (3-b7 and 5-b9), which, to me, even more firmly places it in the camp of the dominant family.

I am, though, probably misunderstanding you, or else revealing my complete lack of formal musical education. Please "dumb it down" for me if you would. Imagine you're explaining it to a goldfish or something. Thanks.

BTW: any takers for point number 3 in my original tirade? It may be more philosophical than practical, but then again, Russell does not avoid that side of things in the slightest.
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Postby sandywilliams » Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:06 pm

On point #3:
The tonal order leaves the bII at the end of the train because of its lack of contribution to creating vertical structures. The #5 and b3 both create a wealth of interesting new chords.
The ‘unbroken cycle’ comes more into play in Horizontal Tonal Gravity.
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Postby strachs » Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:40 pm

You're right, those degrees do yield the greatest resources for useful chord types. That does make for a compelling reason to place those tones earlier in the "Lydian Chromatic Scale". I guess my only issue with that was treating the new degrees of that scale as a sort of grade from most ingoing to most outgoing. But from a practical point of view, the arrangement makes plenty of sense.

I am interested to hear further from you about the application of a pure stacked-fifth arrangement in Horizontal Tonal Gravity. Not much is said of that side of things in Volume I, and that's all we've got at the moment. So please, go on. (Or if you already have explored that issue in the forum, please direct me to the heading).
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Postby sandywilliams » Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:49 pm

There is an interesting nod to the symmetric division of the chromatic scale in the LC tonal order. The Lydian scale acknowledges the division of the octave in half with the #4. The LA acknowledges the division of the octave in 3 equal arts with the #5. The LD..division in 4 equal parts with b3. The AA division of 6 equal parts and last but not least the AD and AD Blues divide the octave in 12 equal parts with 4 and b2. It seems impossible to deal with the chromatic scale without running into symmetric structures.
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Postby strachs » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:06 am

That's true. I guess it's just a little dissapointing to my idealistic side that a system that starts to be more accurate and objective by stacking those fifths, cannot continue to do so until the circle is completed, without losing a lot along the way.

Becuase the next fifth after #4 is "#1" (or b2 if you will), it also seems to throw off one's ability to create a 7-note scale by "displacing" the natural scale degree with the altered one (as in the case of LA, whose raised fifth REPLACES the perfect fifth, and LD, whose lowered third REPLACES the major third). You can't OMIT the root, so you would have to name that note a lowered second, and omit the major second from your scale. Plus this would not yeild a scale that parents many useful chords.

Russell was right to tweak the order of stacked fifths. While this may not be as idealistic as an unbroken stack of fifths, but it prevents the system from being out of touch with real music.

I also find it interesting that even the Lydian scale is said to have a "raised" fourth. Raised in relation to what? The Major Scale.

We'll never really be free of the influence of the past. No matter how "unified" and "unbiased" a system we come up with, it will always have to be communicated in terms derived from the traditional Western music vocabulary.

That this is somewhat irritating even to Russell, is demonstrated by his lack of regard for the term "dominant". Whether he likes the implications of that word or not, it remains a useful word to communicate a chord of that type to the widest audience.

Others take issue with the notation system of Western music. But even if the entire musical notation system and vocabulary are rebuilt from the ground up, there would then be the immense task of reconciling it with the vast catalogue of historical works and the even more vast body of writings that analyse and explain these works.

I guess our best approach is to (as with anything) just learn as much as possible about the things we love (like music), and try to understand where people are coming from who may explain or describe it in a different way.

Wow. Time for a coffee. Sorry for wasting everybody's time :)......
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Postby Bob » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:28 am

strachs wrote:Wow. Time for a coffee. Sorry for wasting everybody's time :)......


Anything that generates consstructive dialogue on the LCC forum is not a waste of time. Thank you.
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Postby sandywilliams » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:01 am

“That this is somewhat irritating even to Russell is demonstrated by his lack of regard for the term "dominant". Whether he likes the implications of that word or not, it remains a useful word to communicate a chord of that type to the widest audience.â€
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Postby strachs » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:02 pm

Thanks, both of you for your replies.

Sandy: I totally get where you're coming from in asmuch as "dominant" only has it's true meaning in a Classical, horizontal, sort of situation. I agree that dominant is not the best term to use for this chord in a STRICT sense, since it implies horizontal resolution.

What I was getting at is just that sometimes (often) we must choose whether to express an idea ACCURATELY, or in a way that will be more easily assimmilated by the hearer (or reader).

Again, I refer to the "raised" fourth of the Lydian scale. If one firmly believes that the Lydian scale is a purer representation of the relationship of the tones than Major (Ionian) is, he/she should begin to refer to the major scale as having the "lowered fourth", since really, the fourth "should be" a tritone above the tonic. But we don't rename the system to accomodate the clearer understanding we now have of the tone's natural relation to each other. We just live with the existing terminology.

So, back to the term "dominant" - as innaccurate as the term may be in light of the LCC, its familiarity with a wider audience may justify it's use as an aid to communicating ideas.

(I can't believe I'm giving so much thought to semantics. I guess the reason why is because I'm hugely interested in the basic process of clear communication of ideas.)

I have spent time as a piano teacher (with children), and I've found that the more accurately you describe an idea to someone new to the idea, the more you seem to confuse and alienate that person (not only children, really). I have witnessed firsthand the value of making an idea more immediate, or "accessable" to the student, and then, once the concept (in the broad sense of the word) itself is firmly in mind, more accurate ways of expressing/describing it can be put into use.

To be frank, I wish that Russell's book had taken this approach. I found it quite wordy.

If we want (and I do) the LCC to be known and used and appreciated by the widest audience possible, it would be good for us to find ways to make it as simple as possible, and then find ways to lead the student from that simple comprehension to deeper, and yes, more accurate understanding of the concept and (more importantly) how it can be applied in our creative efforts with music.

I do feel that a "Cole's Notes" type of version would do more good than harm. I know there is a danger of people reading only the simplified version and thinking they are experts, and then proceeding to misrepresent the concept (and Russell himself). But I think the current situation is worse.

Any reference to the Concept that you read "out there" on the internet is along the lines of: "I can't afford that expensive book, and it doesn't seem very practical anyway. What difference does it make whether we consider C the tonal center or F? Sounds like a bunch of intellectual circular-reasoning nonsense to me."

What a shame! The only sort of "enlightened" dialogue on the subject seems to be "in here" on the forum. The future of the LCC's application in popular music and culture seems bleak indeed.

I understand that copyright protection is important, and intellectual property, and whatnot, but "the Concept" is just too big and universal and beautiful to be hampered by such a limited system of distribution. Put it in bookstores, at least. Get it out there.

Anyway, enouph out of me for now. I'm sure I'll be back for another rant on the subject. I'm much too upset about the effect of the commercial world on creativity not to.
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Postby strachs » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:20 pm

Hey motherlode: where have your replies gone? They are part of the fabric of this discussion!
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Postby strachs » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:10 pm

Bob's blog (called "from the ground up") is a very good summary of the Concept.

His desire to describe the Concept to his 13 year-old daughter is exactly what I'm talking about. Although explaining it in DETAIL to someone so young probably would not be good, I think it would definitely be good to introduce certain concepts to youngsters and others in a way that lends itself to using the Concept.

The Concept presupposes a good grasp of certain principles, without which it is impossible to understand, let alone use.

For example, the overtone series. Without going into the whole series and what the fractional relationships are, an important fundamental understanding (that is usually not even MENTIONED in traditional music education, exept perhaps in Universities) of this is necessary or at least desired, to grasp the Concept. At least to know that the overtone series exists, exerts its forces upon every note we play, and is at once compromised and harnessed by the "equal tempered system", is foundational to grasping the concept.

Secondly, the concept that every scale has "modes". In other words, the same pattern of whole and half steps can be "rooted" on any one of those scale degrees, to yeild a scale with certain intervals present, and therefore certain colours. That this has implications as to what chords can be used on each degree should also be introduced.

Also, the idea that a scale is simply the spelling of a set of notes in seconds, and that that same set of notes can be spelled in fifths, fourths, etc, and of course thirds. Too often, scales and chords are taught with little or no recognition that they are essentially the same thing (one spelled in seconds, the other usually in thirds).

The Concept kind of presupposes, or "sits on top" of these (and other) ideas, making the concept somewhat remote, or inaccessable, for a beginner. It would be good for music educators to (first of all learn the Concept, but then to) teach such fundamentals in a way that would make learning the Concept simpler to grasp, as just a way to organize and catalogue and understand the relationship of the fundamentals that the student has been learning all along.

Currently, in order to learn the Concept, one must be willing to explore something new, and at first seemingly contradictory to what he has learned all his/her life. The Classical approach to music is still taught as the "correct" approach to harmony, and any extensions to chords, or scales are treated as exceptions to "the rules", resulting from experimentation of a few individuals, but not yielding any principles that can be applied to one's own music.

Even pop music's lack of requirement for a "leading note" is treated as just an evidence of the ignorance of popular music writers. Such music is not taken seriously by the Classical elite.

As a result, for one to learn the Concept, we now have to kind of "un-learn" many things that are taken for granted as absolutes. Too bad for the Condept!

Again, I make a case for getting the Concept "out there", in the hands of educators, in the hands of theory enthusiasts, and yes, writers. Let's start teaching Classical as "one way to go about it". A system that came into existence for some good reasons, yeilded a wealth of beautiful results, but finally left creators desparately looking for more (sometimes leading to 12-tone "serial" stuff - eeewww!).

This stuff is starting to look out-of-place in a blog called "Chart A Discrepancies". I'll have to either stop ranting, or open a new Topic. Not likely I'm going to stop ranting. But maybe I should write musings about the inner workings of LCCTO, rather than it's extremely limited field of exposure.

Cheers y'all.
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Postby chespernevins » Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:24 am

2. Why are there "7th b9" and related chords listed in the VII column of the Lydian Scale Chordmodes, when they actually are not possible in any mode of that Principal Scale? For example, if C is the Lydian tonic, then B is the root of the VII chordmode. B7b9 is spelled: B, D#, F#, A, C. So how does the D# fit into that chordmode at the Lydian Scale level?


The term "7th", though, is (at least, in my experience) understood to mean a dominant-type chord, not a minor type.


Hey Strachs,

I missed some of ML’s earlier posts before they were edited out - so I’ll just respond to your quotes above…

I think the 7th b9 or 11 b9 chord on the VII of the Lydian scale can be thought of as a sus chord:

C
A
F#
E
B

That way, it’s in keeping with the 7th chord idea.

Then with a move to LD scale, you can have the more traditional 3rd degree:

C
A
F#
D#
B

I think of the triad B minor:

F#
D
B

as a CMG tonic station chord and more associated with D Lyd.

With this approach, the Eleventh b9 seems like a reasonable name for the VII degree chord family overall.

But I see your point that the VII PMG doesn’t seem to spell out the chord as literally as the other PMGs seem to. (But maybe the lesson should not be that the VII family is imperfect, but that we should have a much broader view of all the chord families than just root, third, fifth, etc…?)
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Bb9

Postby Bob » Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:45 am

Was the parent scale of the Bb9 completely answered. It first occurs as a VII genre on the Lydian, and II is listed on VII as an alternate choice; but in the text, for example Monk's Monku, 7b9 shows up as Lyd.Dim II. Personal aesthetics would dictate the choice, but re: theoretical precision, what's going on here?
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Re: Bb9

Postby dogbite » Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:26 pm

Bob:

"Was the parent scale of the Bb9 completely answered. It first occurs as a VII genre on the Lydian, and II is listed on VII as an alternate choice; but in the text, for example Monk's Monku, 7b9 shows up as Lyd.Dim II. Personal aesthetics would dictate the choice, but re: theoretical precision, what's going on here?"

dogbite:

Bb,

i remember during our sessions in new york, and perhaps rappleton can back me up on this, that andy explained how important it was to use the left side of Chart A before referring to the right side. he called the left side "the brain" of the concept. this is what led me to post that i believe (and i still do) that a seventh chord must initially be viewed of as II chordmode - regardless of the extensions [whether or not the b9 is present] the possible exception of seventh chords with augmented fifths being treated initially as +V, and that VII chordmode represents an alternate modal tonic of the seventh chord...

i asked a question about this in the class and GR said, frankly and to the point, "seventh chords are II chordmode" - he said it with such an authoritative tone that it left an impression on me. perhaps sandy, chesper, rappleton, nate, and motherlode can chime in with not only their viewpoints in this matter, but also their unique logic of what led them to their conclusions. like you Bb, i really want to know what everyone thinks of this...

Db
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