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#1148467 - 08/20/07 12:09 AM Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
This is one for the boffins

I am familiar, but a little rusty on Geroge Russell's Lydian Chromatic concept and the way it can be seen as underpinning modal harmony.
I know that from the lydian scale, descending by fourths, one progressivly darkens the scale - Lydian, Ionian, Myx, Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian and finally Locrian.

I was wondering what would happen if you descended another fourth from the locrian?

Talking C major modes, the locrian is B and this has six flattened tones.
I may well l have this wrong, but as I see it going down a perfect fourth from B locrian (B with second,third, fouirth, fifth, sixth and seventh, you get F# locrian with a flat root and giving F major.

How come not F Lydian? where did this go?

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#1148468 - 08/20/07 02:00 AM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
Zero, you're describing a series of descending perfect 4ths from each root; but by the time you get to B locrian, you're out of perfect 4ths (there's no F# in B locrian). If you "force" another perfect 4th, then you do get F# as a root, but at that point you've got a different diatonic set (and since you arbitrarily chose the lydian scale to start with, it would be logical to go with F# lydian here to be consistent). Conversely, if you descend another diatonic 4th, then you'll get F (and thus F lydian).

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#1148469 - 08/20/07 07:27 AM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
Hi harmosis, I dont think the choice of the lydian is "arbitrary". Here are two reasons why the Lydian is the first scale.
1] If you build in perfect fifths, then you get the following C G D A E B F#
2] If you listen to the modes the Lydian is the brightest scale, the Ionian (or major scale) is the second brightest, the myx the next ,then dorian etc. Each scale descending in fourths flattens a tone in sequence.

Aside: I understand that GR has rewritten the text, but its £70. about $140 US

Anyways back to the question how come major instead of Lydian? Maybe I got my math wrong.

Pont 2: I see no reason to talk of diatonic fourths instead of perfect fourths - remain to be convinced

Superlocrian care to chip in?

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#1148470 - 08/20/07 01:56 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
It's arbitrary in the sense that there's nothing about a single pitch that would make the Lydian scale intrinsic to it. Which leads me to address your specific points about Lydian:

1] So what? There are many ways to construct a scale. The "stack of 5ths" model completely ignores the harmonic series, and you end up with a ditonic comma (pythagorean comma).
2] Again, so what? If Lydian really is the brightest scale, why would that make it more important than any other scale? We could say that major (or Ionian, if you like) is the most logical scale, and that makes IT the most important scale. We could say that Dorian is the most "serious" scale, and that makes IT the most important scale.

The modal scales are strictly diatonic. To think you can descend in perfect 4ths ad infinitum and remain in the same diatonic system is silly. What exactly do you need to be convinced of?

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#1148471 - 08/20/07 04:22 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
On point one: I take your point about the pythagorean comma. "The stack of fifths completely igores...." Why does it ignore?

"Why is the Lydian more important?" I did not say the Lydian was "the most important", depends on context, nor do I think Geroge Russell says this,if I remember, its just aurally the brightest. Its not arbitrary though, its arranging the modes from brightest to darkest.

I was not talkng of moving ad infinitum, but I guess your right to point out that I was talking in equal temprament, my orginal question was about one further step than the locrian.

Phrases like "so what" and "silly" are unecessary,
you seem angry. This is simply an intellectual question I have posed. We all have different philosophies

Have you read the book?

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#1148472 - 08/20/07 04:23 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
duplicate post

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#1148473 - 08/21/07 02:22 AM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
No, not angry at all \:\) One thing about writing instead of speaking, is that you can't get my tone. I used phrases like "So what?" and "silly" to get rhetorical points across, and, since it's my rhetoric, I'll decide if they're necessary or not. \:D You made statements to support your claim that Lydian is "the first scale," and I presented arguments against that stance. Please don't take it as personal attack.

I believe George Russell's theory promotes the idea that Lydian is the "Parent Scale" (and therefore, the most "important") because it is constructed of stacked 5ths, the building blocks of "tonal gravity." Unfortunately, I have not read the book, but I have spoken to my jazz friends about it.

In reference to my point about scale construction, the main points I want to get across are these:

1) Building a scale by stacking 5ths, gives us an augmented 4th (the interval that basically makes Lydian what it is) from the root. But the first interval in the harmonic series (11th harmonic) that we could call any kind of 4th, is actually what is called a "neutral 4th," a 1/4 tone sharp 4th - neither perfect nor augmented. But a solid case for the perfect 4th is that it is the inversion of the perfect 5th, the first non-octave interval in the harmonic series. And we actually do get a perfect 4th interval between the 3rd and 4th harmonics.

2) Building a scale from stacking 5ths, will (aside from the aforementioned ditonic comma) result in a major 3rd that is 21.5 cents wider than a just major third (a 12TET major 3rd is 13.7 cents wider than a just major 3rd). This makes for a fairly unstable interval that was (at the time that pythagorean tuning was in use) classified as a dissonance. As music became more chordal, this tuning proved to be unsatisfactory.

I'm not sure what you know about the harmonic series, but, in a nutshell, the intervals in the harmonic series are the most pleasing to the ear, the most "musical." This makes the harmonic series the "gold standard" of musical intervals. I hope that this clarifies somewhat what I meant by "ignoring" the harmonic series.

But, all this seems to be tangent to your original issue - there's no need for us to argue about "first" scales or what mode is the brightest (is there?).


I do find your original query interesting and would like help you come to an adequate conclusion. Perhaps you could go into further detail on what you're looking to find?

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#1148474 - 08/21/07 05:11 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
Thanks for this H,
A much more meaty reply. If you wish I will pm something I wrote which is not ready for publication because of this glitch in my thinking which I have now figured out.

To answer your question - my original question is

According to the Lydian concept the degree of brightness of a modal scale goes, from lydian, step wise down in fourths until you get to the locrian.

I posed the question as to where it will go from there, descending a further step by fourth, and I expected that the answer might be to the Lydian, but my calculations thought it goes to the Ionian which did not make sense. Add a further flat to the Locrian and you have to flatten the root.

Here is the sequence:

Start from Lydian:

First step: flatten the "Lydian fourth" now in Ionian mode

Second step: Flat 7 (now in myxolydian or dominant 7th mode)

Third step: Flat 3rd (Now in Dorian)

Fourth Step: Flat 6th (Natural minor or Aoelian)

Fifth step: Flat 2nd (Phrygian)

Sixth Step: Flatten 5th (locrian - tension)

Then if there WERE to be a seventh step what might that be?

Now at this point we have flattened all notes except the tonic - the last note we flattened was the 5th. The sequence has been

4 7
3 6
2 5


Where are we going........ well to 1 of course.

So every tone is now flattened meaning we have gone down a simitone and arrive back at .......

Is it the Lydian or is it the Ionian... (a semitone down)

Yes I think I have just figured it out, we go to the LYDIAN again because the Locrian has a natural Ionian 4 which if we move the root (in our descent from the Locrian) down a semitone now becomes a lydian sharp 4.

Whew!

In this way we descend through all twelve keys.

NB: I am talkng in principle in an equal temprement world.


thanks

Take your point about text not having tone

Zero

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#1148475 - 08/22/07 03:56 AM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
Ah! I love seeing the Socratic method at work (and it does work, doesn't it?)!

I think you were simultaneously working with two different methods: one, which took you where you expected, and one, which led to a Locrian singularity. ;\) If you move the actual root, you stay within a specific diatonic system until you get to that last, non-diatonic perfect 4th, which brings you to Locrian: F# G A B C D E. Descending another perfect 4th, while retaining the new accidental (F#), keeps you in Locrian: C# D E F# G A B. Then, Locrian again: G# A B C# D E F#; and again: D# E F# G# A B C#...etc.

However, if you keep the root the same, and add flats in descending 5ths, you will end up back in Lydian when the last flat is applied, changing the root. This process will chromatically lower the root at each occurrence of Lydian.



To make comparison easier, I spelled the scales tertially.

By all means, PM me with anything you like. \:\)

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#1148476 - 08/22/07 04:20 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
Yes that's it: I am thinkng of the second set

I shall pm you a piece about the Lydian concept I was going to post for beginners.

Concerning your earlier remarks about "arbitrarily" choosing a starting point - either ionian, or, lydian, or something else, here is a further observation:

If we elect that the Ionian is the parent of all so to speak then apart from the two arguments I have already raised
1] stacking of 5ths goes to f# ; and

2] heirarchy of brightness gradiant shows Lydian first;

here is another argument which you could call "the argument of elegence"

If the Ionian were to be the Parent of all then as you descend through the modes you end up with the Locrian and you have, in current western harmony speak, no flat 4th (the f In c major or B locrian). So one could say that in this language there are TWO notes that are still to be flattened when we arrive at the last mode the Locrian. The root and the fourth.
If however you enter a Lydian universe, where F# is considered to be the "natural tone" which is "flattened" by the first step from Lydian to Ionian, then when you reach the Locrian all tones except the root are flattened except the root - which is last to perish. This seems to me to be the elegent solution - using the term elegent in a mathematical sense.
There also seems to be a bipolar elegence in the list of flattened tones:

4 7
3 6
2 5
1

Last to perish - the root

If the system was ionian then it would be
7
3 6
2 5
1 4
last to perish 4th (inelegant by occam's razor)

I am increasingly of the leaning that western harmony seems one stop out being based around the ionian, (as are the black and white keys of the piano) and maybe our cultured ears

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#1148477 - 08/23/07 03:45 AM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
Well, yes, if you add flats in descending 5ths, to a scale that can be constructed by ascending 5ths, you do get this nice mathematical loop. But this does not support the concept of the Lydian scale having a natural basis as the "Parent scale." Aside from the harmonic series implications already mentioned, The concept is dependent on the equally tempered chromatic scale - itself, an artificially created compromise. LCCOTO appears to be an attempt to "reverse engineer" tonality, seemingly ignorant of the harmonic series (which is, quite literally, the physical basis of musical intervals), the historical use of modal scales, and of the history of tuning/temperament. I think LCCOTO is an interesting way to look at music and composition, but it just doesn't hold up as the "unified field theory" that it's touted by many to be.

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#1148478 - 08/23/07 06:58 AM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
Agreed there will always be arguments about equal temprament issues, but does not the harmonic series argument suffer the same consequences?

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#1148479 - 08/23/07 01:58 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
The problem with the harmonic series is that fixed-pitch instruments would not be able to modulate if tuned exactly to those intervals (i.e., the major 3rd of C would not be the same pitch as the perfect 5th of A, etc.) Of course, things like mean-tone tuning and split-key keyboards were invented to allow some degree of modulation/chromaticism while retaining some of the pure intervals of the harmonic series. However, instruments like violins and trombones do not have this problem because the players intonate their own pitches. Anyway, what I'm getting at, is that the harmonic series is the naturally occurring set of musical intervals - the baseline standard. Inventing a theory of music that attempts to "grasp the behavior of all musical activity" and "document observations within music’s 'genetic code'" (I'm getting this from http://www.lydianchromaticconcept.com/faq.html), while being ignorant of the actual, natural basis of musical intervals is really delusion. It's like inventing a model of the earth's wind patterns by observing tests in a wind tunnel. It cannot address the earth's natural processes. Russell's theory only works with music that is in the "wind tunnel." It cannot go any further. So, to answer your question, there are problems with the harmonic series in terms of practical application, but you have to understand that, in terms of musical intervals (at least in the context of functional harmony), all temperaments are compromises of the harmonic series, not the other way around.

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#1148480 - 08/23/07 05:00 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
I do see what your saying, and I understand the math which you put really clearly.

Here is my perspective - which is a guess I admit

Music is of the mind, though it is underpinned by the laws of physics as stated above, it is the neurons of the brain which make music what it is, how we develop ideas and then bring them to resoultion - theme and variation, tension and release.
In linguistics there is the concept of the phone and the allophone. A phone is a speech sound - a real world physical vibration. Then there is the unit of the Allophone here we are dealing with an abstract unit where the brain, in hearing a noise, says hey that is similar (note similar not exactly the same) as one of the allophones that represent speech sound X, it then makes a working hypothesis, that this is part of a word or morhpeme, the mind then best guesses from interepetation of a seris of these phones, a word. In this way we are able to interpret a wide range of different voices, accents, ewven though on an oscilloscope every utterence is unique
Why do I explain all this? My hypothesis that a similar process may be involved in our intepretation of music where the neural networks "even out" discrepencies in pitch and even timbre, creating automatic unconscious hypthesis that e.g. this is a concert A on a violin.
SO, whilst I agree with what you say, I guess I am saying wqe are talking of a mental phenomena, triggered by physical vibrations

Anyways thats my musings, the Lydian concept, whilst not accounting for the comma, still has validity in the mental musical universe in our nonconscious perception of the aural universe

You might be interested to check out http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~pawel-lewicki/


enjoying the debate

Zero

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#1148481 - 08/23/07 07:35 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
Harmosis Offline
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Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 308
Loc: California
Yes, I think that very phenomenon is what allows us to use tempered scales. Our current, equally tempered major 3rd is 13.7 cents too wide but it sounds close enough to the just major 3rd to classify both intervals as "major 3rds." But, we do get different psychoacoustic effects from different intervals, even if they are classified as generally the same. A good example is that some Middle Eastern music has what we call "medium" 3rds - in between major and minor. These 3rds give the music a different feel than either our major or minor 3rds.

I also think the Lydian concept has validity; just not to the extent that some of it's proponents claim.

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#1148482 - 08/23/07 09:47 PM Re: Lydian Chromatic concept - a question for the boffins
ZeroZero Offline
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Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 225
Loc: UK
I think we have agreement on this...

Best

Zero

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