GW Blog - posted on November 3, 2014 by

Nov. 15 at Tomi Jazz, NYC

11.15.2014

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GW Blog - posted on October 14, 2014 by

Oct. 22 at Union Hall with The King Sweater

Sweater 10.22

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Use Your Words - posted on September 21, 2014 by

Messiaen Mode 4

Along the same lines as my previous post on Messiaen Mode 3, Mode 4 possesses some tonal colors that are interesting and perhaps even a little more practical.

Whereas Mode 3 is a symmetrical arrangement of three identical trichords, Mode 4 is a symmetrical arrangement of two identical tetrachords, each made up of three half steps. The tetrachords are separated by the distance of a tritone:

Mode 4 examples

Parsed out into groups of four notes, the Mode 4 matrix looks like this:

Mode 4a

By establishing a pattern of steps and skips between notes, we can build the following trichords (among others):

Mode 4y

Note the similarities between Type 3 and Type 4 (think of them as inversions of each other). These two types also contain two major and two minor triads.

Like Mode 2 (octatonic scale), Mode 4 can have applications over dominant chords. The following lick can be heard by a number of modern jazz masters, including Michael Brecker, Donny McCaslin, and others:

Mode 4c

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GW Blog - posted on September 9, 2014 by

Oct. 13 at the Shrine with The King Sweater

oct13

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Use Your Words - posted on April 12, 2014 by

Messiaen Mode 3 – tetrachords

The following is an extension of my previous post. Whereas the last post looked at a series of trichords derived from Messiaen’s Mode 3, the grids below depict tetrachords derived from the same. The first grid is all possible combinations of any four pitches (pitch 1, pitch 2, pitch 3, and pitch 4). The second grid is a collection of tetrachords that occur when applying certain step/skip patterns to the Mode. In comparing these tetrachords to traditional harmony, you’ll see Major 7 chords in Type 5, Dominant 7 in Type 4, Minor 7 in Type 3, Major 6ths, Minor 6ths, and more.

TetrachordPermutations

Tetrachords2

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Use Your Words - posted on March 30, 2014 by

Messiaen Mode 3 – matrix & trichords

Continuing on from my last post about the subject, the following matrix depicts one transposition of Messiaen’s Mode 3:

Mode3x

In keeping with the last post’s concept of looking at the mode as a symmetrical collection of trichords, the matrix below charts all possible arrangements of three pitches (listed here as pitch 1, pitch 2, and pitch 3):

Mode3y

Much in the same way that triads are made from skipping notes within major scales, the following is a series of trichords that are made up of different combinations of skipping and stepping through the scale:

Mode3z

These trichords are selected and named arbitrarily, with the intention of displaying some of the vertical possibilities of Mode 3. For example, Type 4 contains a series of trichords that can be looked upon as major triads. Likewise, Type 3 contains trichords that are identical to minor triads, Type 2 contains diminished triads, and Type 5 contains augmented triads. There are other trichords within each of these grids that can suggest some other tonalities, or better yet, can be used as a means of combining tonalities.

Extended tonality, polytonality . . . however you choose to define it, Mode 3 provides a systematic way of combining three triads (such as Type 4’s C major, Eb major, E major, G major, Ab major, and B major) that would not be possible within the traditional major scale-based system.

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Use Your Words - posted on March 15, 2014 by

Messiaen Mode 3 – an introduction

In my last post, I mentioned a fondness for Messiaen’s knack for using symmetrical pitch sets as a means of generating melodic and harmonic material. This post will focus on introducing Messiaen’s Mode 3:

Messiaen3a

There are texts that refer to this collection of notes as the “nine-note augmented scale.” And while they’re not incorrect, I hesitate to use the term “augmented,” as it implies that the scale is only useful over augmented chords. If looked at vertically, we’ll find that there are many major, minor, and diminished triads, seventh chords, and plenty of other functional harmonic sets available within this collection of notes.

As a means of highlighting both the symmetry and melodic possibilities of the scale, I like to look at this mode as a series of three identical trichords. A trichord, plain and simple, is a collection of three pitches, arranged in any order. The pitches in question for this discussion are:

Messiaen3d

Messiaen’s Mode 3 consists of nine notes. These nine notes can be broken down into three trichords.

Messiaen3b

By starting on a different note within the mode, or by skipping notes, several trichords are possible. My choice of this one in particular is arbitrary, as is my use of numbers and shapes to differentiate one pitch from another, and one trichord from another.

The trichord used above consists of a whole step (C to D) followed by a half step (D to Eb). Since C is a major third from E, and E is a major third from G#, and G# is a major third from C, using each of these notes as a starting point will provide symmetrical relationships from trichord to trichord.

See next post for more.

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GW Blog - posted on March 12, 2014 by

April 7 at Shapeshifter Lab with Yes/And

image

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GW Blog - posted on March 11, 2014 by

March 29 at Bell House w/Reigning Monarchs

UM_temix

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GW Blog - posted on February 21, 2014 by

Feb. 27 at Slipper Room w/Aisha Eustache

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