Mother Of Tongues

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

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Re: Mother Of Tongues

Postby guitarjazz » Sun May 08, 2011 10:59 am

motherlode wrote:BACKGROUND:
Years ago I was part of an experimental ensemble at the Metropolitan Arts Complex in Detroit.
One member suggested that we do sound experiments based on George Russell's Tonal Gravity.
What I will be doing here is recreating one such sound experiment.

Given that tonal gravity is the spectrum of all 144 intervals, each type arranged in a graduated sequence from the most consonant to the most dissonance, the question was,
"What would it sound like to hear EVERYTHING moving at once?"

The first challenge was 'spacing'. How should the intervals be arranged to give them enough room to move and vibrate ie, minimal overlap? One member suggested the 'Mother Chord'.
This is a chord with ALL (12) chromatic tones -AND- (11) different intervals.

If you're unfamiliar with it, I'm providing it below. The intervals fall in this order:

ma7 +5 6th b7 5th +4 4th 2nd -3 3rd -2 (bottom to top). If you notice there's no octave! (making for (11) not (12) intervals)

When all the tones are played simultaneously and allowed to vibrate…this thing becomes alive!!

I don't know exactly what form this post might take so I'll be doing it in installments over the next couple of days.

http://www.4shared.com/audio/L7QD8pS2/Mother_Chord.html
http://www.4shared.com/photo/nBmJuKT8/Mother_Chord.html

Nice sounding chord. I hurt my fingers trying to play it on guitar!
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Postby guitarjazz » Sun May 08, 2011 7:32 pm

They (the other 11 notes) all relate to the A Lydian Chromatic Scale. And yet...
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Postby chespernevins » Wed May 11, 2011 10:04 am

Motherlode.

Finally got some time to sit at the piano and listen to this.

It's a huge chord that I found hard to hear all at once. This will take some time to hear the whole thing, I think.

So I started with the M7, A-G#.

I heard other tones generated when playing this interval. Mainly E, G#, A, B, C# and D#.

This interval in itself seems to sing out the next stated notes of the chord, (although maybe in different octaves):

a-g# = maj7 (bottom to top)
g#-e = +5
e- c# = maj6
c#-b = -7


I tried not to think about it very much and just listen. It did occur to me that these resultant notes seemed pretty in tune with the piano. The thing that occured to me the most was that the D# seemed to match the piano's D# pretty well.
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Postby chespernevins » Tue May 17, 2011 11:04 am

I've re-worked the TG chart to allow each block to be heard on the 'hard right edge'.

Looking at the Lydian block (red) the first thing that you notice is that the Mother Chord is a perfect example of mirror writing with the (+4) at it's center. (I prefer to call it a lydian chord these days).
However, none of this was obvious to me until TG was mapped across it's intervallic pattern.

The most interesting occurrence is in the Lyd Dim block (to this listener). When the reference tone is added the sound appears to bend (dissonance). This is what makes it exciting to me (psyche). It's what Bird calls the 'pretty notes'.


Motherlode,

Thanks for contributing this.

It's clear that you took the spacing of the Mother Chord as the organizing principle behind orchestrating your Mother of Tongues chart. I like how you used Lyd Aug, Lyd Dim, and then the 9 tone order as a whole, because there are different colors when taking all 9 tones together. Is this isolating of Lyd Aug and Lyd Dim, and then taking the full 9 TO, what you meant by the "hard right edge"?

Is there a reason you stopped with the 9 tone order?
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Postby chespernevins » Tue May 17, 2011 8:10 pm

No. I didn't stop at the 9 tone. There are two separate parts uploaded as a single unit.


Oh, I see it now! Thanks. And of course that is all there in your recording.
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Postby bobappleton » Wed May 18, 2011 9:22 am

ML:

Yes. Monk's emotional intelligence (something we're all born with) allowed him to recreate the ambient sounds he remembered as music (within a tonal system). This train from early childhood is one of many - there are all the citysounds like taxi horns, subway doors and chimes, etc. It's one reason why Monk been a major influence on new music - and acknowledged by people like Derek Bailey and others. You can also hear these influences in Bird, Ellington, Mingus and all the way back to the blues.

Beyond the notion of music as a mathematical progression of letters and symbols (which are argued over or over-argued here), the part of George Russell's music which is rarely discussed is the influence of ambient sound including electronics, radio frequency and waterfall - specifically the sound of Niagara, which was one of his childhood memories - an early metaphor for the enormous sound of Cubano Be Cubano Bop, or what would eventually become the LTO?

Ambient and non-scalar sounds sit outside the mathematical model of most tonal music. Yet for me they remain within the Concept (despite quotes by my friends Chesper and Dogbite to the contrary). They do this for the same reason that they remain within Monk's concept – because they are real, they represent important musical information of an emotional and intellectual nature and you can't have a theory of music which doesn't acknowledge them.

Within the LCC ambient and non-scalar sounds are clearly a part of Tonal Gravity.

Bob
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Postby bobappleton » Thu May 19, 2011 1:37 am

You too ML. As others have already said, you've made some great contributions to this Forum from your deep musical knowledge. There's so much more to hear and understand than has been said or seen to date. I hope that those of us with compatible philosophies will be posting about these ideas for a long time to come. "After all, what's a life for, but to explore."

b
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Postby strachs » Thu May 19, 2011 12:43 pm

I would agree that GR's music has a lot more to offer (and of course, that's totally subjective) than most other composers who, on the side, offer theories and methods for others to use.

At the end of the day, your music must ultimately stem from within you, and move you, if it's going to move others. There comes a time in every musician's life, though, when he/she gets in a rut, or maybe wish to understand what it is about someone else's music that they are drawn to; to isolate it, extract it, and immitate it in their own music. That's when we look for a theory.

Some of us get obsessed with the theory side, and perhaps to the detriment of the time we have left to spend gettin' real on our instrument. But hey, it's fascinating in it's own way.

The rhythmic aspect of music can also be over-analysed, but this doesn't make a case for leaving rhythm ENTIRELY to intuitilon. Knowledge of rhythmic heirarchy and polyrhythm can give you tools to create with, and offer insight into effective use of dynamics (choosing which beats to emphasize for what effect, and so on).

So, both harmony and rhythm can be over-analysed, it's true. But I don't see why, when discussing things like emotional intelligence, and collections of notes like the Monk train toot sound, LCC is somehow toted as a champion platform from which to view all these things. No one has actually made the connection, though. Exactly HOW is ambient and non-scalar sound still within the Concept?

With the need for "Chart A" , and also the '144 intervals of the "Tonal Gravity Chart"', am I to believe that the LCC is all about purely emotional responses to chords and scales? There's a lot of method and measureing and charting involved. You can take ANY musical theory and become natural and intuitive in your application of it, or remain locked in a an entirely cerebral approach, whether LCC, Schenker, Mathieu, Hindemith, or whoever. It's not the fault of the theory if you do the latter, nor the merit of the theory if you do the former. Nor does applying it over a swingin' rhythm in itself reflect the merits of a theory of harmony.

Anyway, I don't want to take away from the intent of this thread and become defensive. I do have something to offer, though, about the Monk train toot chord, in light of the methods I've begun sharing over in my own thread.

The chord, as I've seen it transcribed, is (bottom to top): Db Eb, F G Bb Eb Gb.
In interval terms, R M2 M3 #4 M6 M2 P4.

It's basically an example of Russell's 11-tone-order idea, where the P4 is added to an otherwise Lydian base. In Mathieu's terms, all of the intervals are overtonal except the P4, which is reciprocal. I have tried to decipher what is so "outgoing" about the 11TO and 12TO veiewed from the perspective of the P5/M3 lattice arrangement I'm into. I think it amounts to the following (and this is directly appliccable to the Monk chord):

M2 ... M6 ... M3 ... () ... #4
() ...... P4 .... T .... () .... M2 ... M6

If you've followed my thread at all, you'll know that for some intervals, there are two (or more) possible "versions" available in the overtone series, as is the case with the M2 and the M6, seen above. Normally, though, the P4 and #4 are never sounded at the same time. In the presence of the #4, the M2 and M6 would have an overtonal relationship to the tonic, represented by the M2 and M6 to the right of the tonic (I know you don't care, but the ratios would be 9:8 and 27:16). In the presence of the P4, the M6 and even M2 would have a more reciprocal relationship to the tonic, represented by the M2 and M6 to the left (ratios would be 10:9 and 5:3).

However, the 11TO and 12TO (I think they're essentially the same thing from two different vantage points, as chespernevins has also concluded) force two COMPETING contexts into being at the same time. There is a "dissonance" if you will, because both of the M2nd's "identities" are being invoked at the same time (10:9 and 9:8), and same with the M6th (5:3 and 27:16).

Anyway, whether you reckon this dissonance because of this viewpoint, or because it's "11TO", Monk found a very 'out' sound to evoke a very unmistakable image of a train toot. Obviously, he was using neither my approach nor Russell's, so a win for intuitive intelligence. Just thought I'd throw in my 2c.
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Postby strachs » Thu May 19, 2011 1:26 pm

Thank you for having so much confidence in me despite having differing views in some areas. I remember you suggesting one time that I should be a writer.

Interestingly, I had set out to write a book about all that I was discovering with this theory stuff. I keep journals that I write all my little thoughts in, and I had started assembling a diagram of dots, like I've been describing. It felt like I was disovering the periodic table of elements (I'm sure you can see the parallell), it was so exciting.

At that piont, I had ordered Mathieu's book (at the recommenation of sandywilliams, ironically). When I got it, I was stunned to see similar diagrams all through the book. I thought, on the one hand, "I'm really onto something". On the other hand, I thought, "now I don't need to write that book - it's already been discovered".

However, as joegold is pointing out, my perspective is not spoken in Russell or Mathieu. It is a unique perspective, as all perspectives ought to be. So, I may wriite that book yet. It won't hurt, though, to get some (hopefully) constructive feedback in here before I publish something that could ultimately have huge flaws that I just haven't seen yet. By all means chime in if you have any thoughts. I know you're not a 'theory-head' as such , but you obviously were drawn to LCC because you had insight into what it had to offer (not everyone has that, as you know). Maybe my views will open doors for you, too. Who knows..... future's not written yet (not all of it anyway).
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Postby bobappleton » Thu May 19, 2011 6:13 pm

ditto
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Postby chespernevins » Thu May 19, 2011 7:59 pm

Ah, ok, I finally see how in the Mother Chord the interval inversions are symmetrical around the +4! Took me a while.

How interesting that you melded this spacing with "melodic tonal gravity".

Should I be able to see or hear how you got from the Mother of Tongues chart to the way you applied this idea in Central Park West?
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Re: Mother Of Tongues

Postby chespernevins » Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:13 pm

Hi SalKur,

There have been a number of posts deleted from this thread and others, so it some threads may be hard to follow.

The Mother Chord can be found on p.243 of the Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns, by N. Slonimsky.

It contains 12 tones and 11 intervals.
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Re: Mother Of Tongues

Postby chespernevins » Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:23 am

It is somewhat of an advanced topic. It can give ideas on how to space intervals in composition.
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