10/02 - Foreword to the book by Andy Wasserman           Back

As you will soon discover for yourself, the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization requires us to think in a new way. While it is inevitable that you will bring what you know to the Concept, you will soon realize the dramatic difference of this musical landscape where tones, scales, chords, and modes resonate within the Principle of Tonal Gravity. In order for this to begin to work within you and within your music, it is strongly suggested that you give these ideas your complete openness and attention, and, even for brief moments, let go of your preconceptions of the theoretical foundations of Western music. The knowledge that appears in the two volumes of the Lydian Chromatic Concept bas been distilled very carefully to allow students of the Concept to adapt their own musical perspectives to this one.

The unified core of ideas at the root of the Concept has the potential to transport music into a realm of deeper meaning. Opening up to those possibilities requires patience, concentrated thought, and dedicated study. Therefore it is important to realize that you cannot assimilate these ideas from too narrow a basis, either intellectually or emotionally. By making the effort to absorb the terminology and structure presented here, your musical foundation can be made stronger and the connections between you and your music more intelligent. Once the unity of the Concept begins to penetrate your practical understanding, everything in it becomes useful. It is then that its message challenges you to inquire musically and psychologically into the things you think and feel. For this reason, it is crucial to embrace the Concept from an emotionally receptive position of seeking something genuine for yourself in a world where most music is far removed from innovation and excellence. To do this requires a willingness to learn that emanates from self-motivation.

The Concept has a unique way of interpreting and translating the things of great value that music can tell us--something about the meaning of organization and gravity. Its purpose is to generate new pathways toward greater freedom in exercising aesthetic judgment and discernment that invoke a more objective fulfillment of musical statement. The focus, attention, and consciousness you put into the study of the Concept will uncover greater meaning and an expansion of your musical understanding, regardless of the stylistic genre of music to which you apply it.

Throughout this course of study you will notice that terms like vertical, horizontal, and the relationship to states of tonal gravity signal an eloquent departure from the major-minor consonant-dissonant system that is commonly taught to students. This specific language, when integrated into your thinking, can bring about personal advancement that will convey insight and innovation to your craft. The ideas are interrelated for a unity like that of a mandala, rather than the compartmentalized, noncontiguous elements that form commonly accepted notions of musical behavior. By its very nature, the Lydian Chromatic Concept will give you a fresh outlook that can aid in bringing life to your musical understanding. This requires you to master a sense of independence and self-awareness. Try to "visualize" the relationships presented in this book by "hearing" its knowledge with an inner ear that is capable of formulating your own singular musical ideas through the experience of an internal focus. This focal point can help you decipher between the superficial, mechanical associations you may be accustomed to making in your compositions or improvisations and the quality of consciousness that allows many levels of subtlety to come into play. Simply to imitate what others have played and composed is not enough. It may be beneficial for you to consider adopting a reciprocal attitude to digesting the Concept whereby the energy you give while implementing its ideas will fuel your passage through unexpected doors of discovery.

Having a specific aim while working with the Concept can he helpful. Whether you are a composer, instrumentalist, improviser, educator, arranger, or theoretician, and even if you come to this book from outside the profession of music, finding an aim as you work will allow you to put this knowledge into action and have it work for you. Use this book as a map to help you aim for that which extends beyond your customary approach. This will require you to examine some basic questions about the meaning behind an organization of musical tones and why you play or write music.

As you absorb this knowledge and become more intimate with its fundamental principles, such as the actuality of a passive "do" which yields to everything in scale that is higher that itself (Chapter II), you can begin to unearth a vision of your innate "response-abilities" within your musical discipline. At its essence, The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization creates a self-organized and infinite range of possibilities for us to master.

Andy Wasserman
Used by Permission, 2002