Another Angle for this LCS topic

Work which evolves aspects of George Russell's theories such as Tonal Gravity.

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Another Angle for this LCS topic

Postby strachs » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:33 pm

Russell's argumentation about the Lydian Scale draws a lot from ancient Chinese (and other Asian) sources and theories. They were big on cycles of fifths and even found ways/systems to turn the spiral of fifths into a closed circle for purposes of modulation. Although they primarily used pentatonic scales rather than full-out Lydian scales, the point is their recognition of the fifth's importance.

However, an important but less-known source of insight into ancient Chinese theory/practice is a bell-set that was unearthed in 1977 or 1978.

http://web.telia.com/~u57011259/Zengbells.htm

The main insight given is that the bell-set's tuning (much like ET) compromises the fifths a little in order to achieve better thirds. This suggests, for one thing, that more than just monophonic music was practiced back then, and secondly, that although ladders/cycles of fifths were an important aspect of their theories, the limitations of only fifths were recognized.

Ironically, although this tuning system aligns with the 'parallel-OSI' theory/model that I have described earlier, it also could be seen to offer an alternate explanation for Russell's Lydian Chromatic Order.

The basic idea is, rather than a ladder of only fifths (third partial of OS), the system starts with a row of four tones spaced a fifth apart (although a somewhat tempered fifth):


C G D A


Then, rather than the next tone, E, being another fifth above A, resulting in a disagreeable major third, the E is tuned relative to the C (tuning to the 5th partial of C). In fact, ALL of the remaining tones in the 12-tone system are tuned to the 5th partial (major third) relative to the original four tones a fifth apart:

E...B...F#..C#
C...G...D...A
Ab..Eb.Bb..F

Although never intended to be a theory for 'larger-than-lydian' verticalities (it's unlikely their harmony exceeded triads), one could certainly find support for the order of the LCS from this tuning system and it's governing theory.

If all three tones related to the lowermost tone in the series of fifths (C) were sounded together with the four-tone ladder itself, you would have C D E G Ab A - similar to Lydian Augmented. If you derived your scale similarly from the four-tone ladder and both tones related to the second tone by thirds, you'd have C D Eb G A B - similar to Lydian Diminished. Similarly, deriving a scale from the mini-ladder plus the third tone's M3 relatives would give you C D F# G A Bb - similar to Lydian Flat Seventh. The "outgoingness" of each scale has to do with how far up the ladder the additional tones (tuned in thirds) are anchored in to the fifth-based structure. Logically, the m2 and P4 are anchored to the highest, or most 'outgoing' member of the four-tone ladder.

I don't know, maybe this is nuts, but the LCO seems to be in close agreement to this ancient tuning system, despite the fact that it was only designed (as far as we know) to produce natural triads within an otherwise 'circle-of-fifths' modulation model.

Despite all of my ongoing argumentation against the Lydian Chromatic Order, there seems to be indirect impirical support for it from certain angles.

My irritation with the LCS has always stemmed from it's seeming contradiction to the ladder-of-fifths model. I have explored first that it may be the ladder model that was wrong, then from the perspective that the ladder was right and the LCS wrong. I can't help but feel that they disagree with one another, but maybe this ancient tuning system suggests that the ladder itself is what must be compromised in order to vindicate the LCS/order after all.
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Postby chespernevins » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:31 am

Wow! Fascinating article! Thanks for your write up.

I lost you right here:

E...B...F#..C#
C...G...D...A <------
Ab..Eb.Bb..F

I followed the continuation of the fifths to E B F# C#, but why did you go back to C G D A? Would you mind doing a step by step walk through of this part?
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Postby strachs » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:55 am

The basis remains in the original four tones (C G D A). The E B F# and C# are related to the first four by THIRDS, not fifths. And the Ab Eb Bb and F are also related to the original four by thirds, not fifths.

This is how the bell-set was TUNED, so it may or may not have reflected an underlying theoretical model, but I thought it was an interesting approach to relating tones, that has some surprising parallels to the LCO, though not based on ET.

Hope that helps.
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Postby strachs » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:03 am

It's also interesting because Russell said that the perfect fifth was the 'strongest' tonical interval, which implies it's not the ONLY tonical interval.

That would mean that although tonal gravity flows down in fifths basically, there is also a tonal gravity force at work (weaker than that of the fifth) via the major third interval.

The tuning model layed out in the bell-set implies that the M3, M7, TT, and m2 are related first by a major third to one of the four-tone-foundation-ladder tones, then to what we would call the "lydian tonic" by the remaining fifths. Similarly with the m6, m3, m7 and P4.

The correspondencies could be completely coincidental, but it's terribly tempting to draw some sort of VTG conclusions from that system.
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Postby chespernevins » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:56 am

Ah...

A

D

G

C

================
A

D

G
...........E
C
...........Ab

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

A

D
...........B
G
...........Eb
C

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

A
...........F#
D
...........Bb
G

C

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

...........C#
A
...........F
D

G

C
Last edited by chespernevins on Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby strachs » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:05 pm

You got it, buddy. That's the visual.
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Postby chespernevins » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:29 pm

Just trying to keep up.... :roll:

Strange, this Major 3 connection...


F Db A

Bb Gb D

Eb B G

Ab E B


C# A F

F# D A#

B G D#

E C G#


A F C#

D Bb F#

G Eb B

C Ab E
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Postby chespernevins » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:06 pm

Have you noticed some similarity between this thread and the chart on the title page of the Fourth Edition (across from the picture of George Russell)?

I tried to post a link to the image, but couldn't get 4shared to serve up a JPG. There is a partial image of it here, though: http://www.georgerussell.com/

The triangle drawn to the Major thirds [ E, Ab ] above and below the Lydian Tonic [ C ] gives us a similar pattern to having major thirds above and below a primary tone as mentioned in this thread. Notice the first 4 fifths around the cycle being C G D A and then the triangle pointing to E and Ab.

Dividing the circle by a triangle gives us the divisions originally posted by Strachs:

E...B...F#..C#
C...G...D...A
Ab..Eb.Bb..F

The diagram has a dotted line from C to Gb, which is labeled "neutral pole", and also has dotted lines connecting all the tritones.

The primary tritone of the C LCS is C and Gb. Gb is the only note other than C that is present in all the scales. It’s as if C and Gb are anchor notes for all the other changing tones on Chart A.

Now draw the triangle from C to E and Ab. Notice the line from D to Ab bisects the triangle (there’s also an Ab written in the circle by the D). [ D, Ab ] gives us our first “secondary tritoneâ€
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Postby strachs » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:04 pm

I liked your 'movable triangle' thought experiment. I discussed something similar with Sandy a while back regarding the possibility that a similar diagram that John Coltrane came up with could form the basis of a slide-rule type of device for relating different tonal centers.

In discussing the Concept, I have always been struck by the term "Gravity" with reference to tonal phenomena, and how the concept of "top-heavy" and "bottom-heavy" that we speak of with physical structures could also apply to tonal structures.

If this is so, notice how anchoring a triangle (structure of major thirds, borne of the 5th partial of the Overtone Series) on the LOWEST of the tones on the limited, four-tone ladder of fifths, produces an ingoing/ stable/ bottom-heavy scale (?).

Anchoring the triangle (or intersecting it) with the second tone on the 'ladder' produces a slightly more outgoing/ top-heavy scale. Similarly on the next two ladder tones. Anchoring the triangle on the last tone in this ladder (the A, or relative minor) produces some of the most outgoing/ unstable/ top-heavy structures possible.

(Going even further, and perhaps beyond the intent of previous comments:) As I suggested in an earlier thread, the last case seems so unstable that it seems to me that avoiding this unstable state is actually the impetus behind horizontal movement in the flat or the sharp direction.

Anyway, cool to ponder for sure.
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Postby strachs » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:07 pm

It's also very cool to see how you have combined the idea of secondary tritone with the 'augmented triad triangles'. I have thought along both lines before, but never in connection with each other.

Similar to what's going on over in Bob's thread, it's very interesting to contemplate what insight might be gained in making visual representations of tonal concepts.
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