[Smt-talk] Gradus ab Parnasu

Michael Morse mwmorse at bell.net
Mon Jan 27 12:12:01 PST 2014

I thought it was the work of a jazz player with little exposure to pre-Brahms classical music. George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept theory in part codified and inpart encouraged jazz players from the 50s onward to think of all major triads as de facto major seventh chords, more or less regardless of their tonal position in the progression. The appeal of the flatted fifth interval, and/or the raised eleventh, was already in place from the forties practice of Parker, Gillespie, Monk, et. al.
  As someone who learned jazz harmony first, and only eventually (and imperfectly) classical approaches, I'm always awed by the ability of its students to learn triadically and intervallically first, and expand their vocabulary from there. That takes a heroic suspension of aural disbelief!
Michael MorseTrent UniversityPeterborough, Oshawa

OK, I lied, so you'll all be relieved to know that I'm not tutoring anyone. The attachment was an actual exercise, but no one will meet its author as a freshman in class next year. My imaginary "student" is Henry Cowell & the example is Exercise 1 from his Notebook. It was lifted from an excellent dissertation I happened to be reading last week, "Substituting a New Order": Dissonant Counterpoint, Henry Cowell, and the Network of Ultra-Modern Composers (2010) by John Spilker (available on-line: http://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/etd/1605/) -- hat-tip to John, wherever you are!
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