There's got to be more to harmolodics

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There's got to be more to harmolodics

Post  pinhedz on Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:07 am

pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat
Sat Jul 12, 2008 7:16 pm

There's got to be more to harmolodics ... than just griping about the way Western music is notated. But all I can find in this discussion is that harmolodics is about notation, and about refusing to transpose when you're supposed to, because you demand to be free, or something.

This is Ornette Coleman, allegedly explaining harmolodics:

"When you play the piano you’re playing in the G clef, that’s the treble clef, but the soprano, alto, tenor, and the bass clefs are independent of the treble clef. If you take the soprano C, which is on the E line, you take the bass C, which is on the second space, the alto C, which is on the third line, and the tenor C, which is on the fourth line, you’ll have A, B, D, and E. Now, the B natural that’s on the treble clef is totally independent from those four notes, therefore most people transposing those voices to the treble clef are not transposing the natural notes of the unison. That’s why you have harmony, changes, and improvising, because the treble clef doesn’t transpose, it’s only for range. If you have A, B, D, and E in the bass clef, you would be reading C, D, F, and G. In the treble clef, when you play A, B, D, and E, that A is C, the B is a C for alto, the a C for the tenor, and the E is the C for the soprano. So, it’s not really four different notes, it’s the same four notes. So, therefore it’s deceiving to believe that the piano is the transposed clef for all voices. What it really does is uses those four words to make harmonies, keys, and chords. The treble clef does not have a pure voice. If I asked you to play the soprano G natural on the piano, that’s C natural for the treble clef. C natural for the soprano would be E. You can’t hear those as voices, so you call them chords and keys. In harmolodics, those four voices are transposed into one voice. For instance, the A, B, D, and E would be B, C, E, and F on the alto clef, and G, A, C, and D on the tenor clef. The same notes. So, you have a different unison for the same notes. When the piano was invented it destroyed the natural concert C for every country and made the treble clef the range for those Cs to be transposed into keys and chords. What I’m trying to express is that everyone has used those keys and chords and everyone that plays a melody that uses a 2-5-1, even if it’s a new melody, it doesn’t sound like it has gone anywhere. It just sounds like a sequence. When I’m speaking to you about the caste system, it’s not just a racial point or a musical point, I’m really talking about a civilization concept. Let’s face it. There’s only been five men on the planet that weren’t looking for a job -- Buddha, Christ, Confucius, Mohammed, and Moses. They weren’t looking for a job because they were looking for a higher consciousness. If music and art has a consciousness, it shouldn’t be from a caste point of view."

Stan54
Uranus Member
Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:39 pm

"There’s only been five men on the planet that weren’t looking for a job -- Buddha, Christ, Confucius, Mohammed, and Moses."

What about Elvis?

pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat
Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:51 am

That must be why Elvis never recorded songs with names like "Working Man Blues;" it takes a guy with real blue-collar cred to pull that off.

But that begs another question--why is Coleman inserting BS like that into what is supposed to be a discussion of music theory?

Harmolodics seems to be just the practice of playing in multiple keys simultaneously in accordance with rules that are both arbitrary and flakey, and then calling it unison for some mystical reason, and saying other unrelated mystical stuff to show how very mystical it all is.

TinyMontgomery
Will Post For Food
Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:42 am

pinhedz wrote:Ornette Coleman expounds on "Harmolodics," while
George Russell "Lydian concept of tonal organization." To me,
"Harmolodics" seems like nearly unadulterated jibberish. In contrast,
the "Lydian concept of tonal organization" almost makes sense.
We're talking about two very different concepts from two very different
situations here. Russell had shaped his Lydian concept in the mid-50s
whereas Ornette developed his harmolodic approach in the 70s.

Both are pretty old-fashioned if you want to talk about 21st century jazz theories.

Regarding 'harmolodics':

Ornette may have not been entirely serious concerning harmolodics:

1)
Listen to track 10 (or 9?) of 'Tone Dialing'. Ornette answers the phone
saying "Harmolodic?", then a random sax line is played.
Tongue-in-cheek? I guess so.

2)
I had the pleasure to meet Ornette about one year ago and talked to him for a few minutes. He's a gentleman and a very tolerant guy. His approach to any form of
discussion seemed to be based on his tolerance - he seemed to be the
kind of person who can be completely serious and ironic about the same
thing at the same time.


Ornette may have been entirely serious concerning harmolodics:

1)
He invented his concept during a creative burn-out. Compare it to
Dylan's guitar-playing theory in 'Chronicles' - it sounds like bullshit
but probably helped him to find some new (if obscure) approach to music.

2)
He may have needed a justification for composing "classical" music -
'Skies of America' has nothing in common with neither 18th/19th century
harmonics nor melodics.

3)
There are few Coltrane tunes in which the concept of his 'sheets of sound' seems to be plausible and seems to be working ('Iris' is the best example, imo). Same with
Ornette: sometimes you can hear what he may be trying to achieve (try
the 'Body Meta' album - I got what he was talking about by listening to
that one). Not all of his playing can be explained with 'harmolodics'
but it's a technique he sometimes seems to use.

TinyMontgomery
Will Post For Food
Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:07 pm

Additional information:

The idea of harmolodics seems to be somewhat similar to the idea of superimposition, a technique that has become one of the many foundations of post-modern jazz (meaning no more than: it was stolen from the modernists of the 1960s) and M-Base theory. But superimposition is more limited or more accurately describable - it usually refers to the improvisation in the key of the 9th. Harmolodic improvisation can obviously start in any key the melody will suggest - but has to stick with it.

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Re: There's got to be more to harmolodics

Post  pinhedz on Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:30 am

powerpete
Protector of Fuzzy Bunnies
Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:55 pm

This is f***ing cool!! But is it harmolodics?


pinhedz
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Re: There's got to be more to harmolodics

Post  pinhedz on Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:35 am

TinyMontgomery
Will Post For Food
Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:05 pm

No, rather expanded harmony with a tiny bit of atonality thrown in for good measure.

powerpete
Protector of Fuzzy Bunnies
Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:15 pm

Thanks

pinhedz
Schrödinger's Hepcat
Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:02 pm

TinyMontgomery wrote:But superimposition is more limited or more
accurately describable - it usually refers to the improvisation in the
key of the 9th. Harmolodic improvisation can obviously start in any key
the melody will suggest - but has to stick with it.

Were I in the place of the composer, I don't think I'd see the common practice (improvising in the key of the 9th) as imposing a limitation.

But Coleman's discussion of clefs does seem to impose limitations.

TinyMontgomery
Will Post For Food
Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:48 pm

The harmonic limitations are determined by the melodic invention, yes.

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pinhedz
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Re: There's got to be more to harmolodics

Post  pinhedz on Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:40 am

President Harding
King of Pop
Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:55 pm

This video contains content from EMI, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.
Sorry about that.


John McLaughlin
Head Wankee
Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:46 am

Oh dear. The insertion of yet another trivial youtube video to divert serious discussion - the trademark of the second worst president in this century. But I just fell for the digression, didn't I?

Carry on, o musical experts.... Cool

Goat Smith
Thumble Snowglobe
Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:43 am

Just how many US of A presidents do you think have been president during this century?

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Re: There's got to be more to harmolodics

Post  pinhedz on Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:58 am

This is allegedly "harmolodic."

I am interested in what it is that makes this piece harmolodic.

discuss.




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Re: There's got to be more to harmolodics

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