All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Jazz and the Net

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


The Grand Unified Field Of Harmony Part 1

Catrina Daimon Lee By

Sign in to view read count
A Wordy Introduction

A "Grand Unification" type of harmonic theory, to be useful, has to be transportable over the entire terrain of authentic musical activity, covering as many stylizations and idioms as in existence. It must be diagnostic, generative and predictive.

All harmonic and melodic systems past and present are idiomatically bound to one or a very few stylistic areas, and are proven to be of limited usability, except within their stylistic purview.

I discovered and developed what I refer to as the Grand Unified Field Of Western Harmony, by extrapolating a new perspective on music that turned out to be holistic. I managed to do this entirely on my own from studying guitarist Pat Martino's Twelve Point Star Concept. If Martino has developed his 12-point star concept to include the ideas I will be sharing now, then it is simply my own ignorance of such a publication that has led me to believe that I have discovered this knowledge. To my knowledge, however he has publicly only intimated he would present new material based on that concept, but has not yet published anything. There was a mention of Martino developing what he termed Symmetrical Cycles back in 1982, but it was a first draft and not a published text.

Along with everyone else not intimate with Martino, or his personal drafting, I cannot know where his concept and mine overlap, to what degree—if it does—or if we have also reached the same overarching conclusions about inter-relational harmony in music. However, I need to mention this fact of my system having its roots in Martino's, for the sake of clarity and transparency.

I also believe that Ornette Coleman's harmonic and melodic system called Harmolodics is one and the same as my Grand Unified Field. But, of course, Coleman has never made clear what Harmolodics actually is, and this statement is borne of my own conjecture and intuition.

The system I am about to share, if it really is a unification of all Western harmonic practice—past, present and future—will have to be above all, absolutely practical in its application, and not weighed down by excess verbiage or nomenclature. It has to be complete. It has to be ironclad.

It has to be able to diagnose/explain/render understandable and accurate, any manner of harmonic movement, no matter how exotic or oblique, and thereby be made utterly useful to the composer or improvising musician, for in the field of improvisation in the Western jazz sense, it is well-known that musicians generate melodic-motivic material from the given harmony of their music.

It has to be generative of new musical ideas in the form of composition, arrangement, and melodic material. It has to be predictive, in a sense, of possible future developments in music. Then and only then we may call such a system or theory a great unification of what is all that exists in Occidental musical knowledge, vis-a-vis harmonic theory and its harmonic and melodic applications.

With the exception of 12-tone serialism and spectralism—which are, to me, not musical systems or theories of musical analytical and generational tools at all, but are actually mathematical models of mere note arrangements that are not based upon the natural laws of the natural world of musical sound and its physics at all—I feel that my system will explain every harmonic music practice available historically to the present, and also of music practice in potential form in the future, whether such practice is currently understood to be illogical, overly challenging, ambiguous, or merely disregarded as theoretically impregnable conventions of socio-cultural idiosyncrasies.

It is a system borne of music itself; I have been shown that it has always been inherent in music all along. It makes me an eternal student, a happy disciple of music, and I shall be studying with deep wonder and awe at the magic that is music, having found the Harmonic Unified Field.

Part 1a.

The System Is So Simple, It Is Based On This Known Insight In Jazz Theory:

Diminished chords are respelled Dominant chords extended to the flat 9th (dom7b9 chords) without roots, and it repeats in inversions of itself over intervals of a minor third.

To This We Add:

They resolve to key centers, either major or minor, a minor third from one another.

These key centers may be thought of as not only related, but symmetrical and interchangeable. They may be thought of constituting one single poly-key center.

(As a refresher or primer to what is to follow, please refer to on and ony)

By way of example, let's take G7 flat 9 (Ab<—flat 9, B, D, F, no root) which resolves to C major or C minor traditionally in a perfect cadence. We transpose it up a minor third to Bb7 flat 9 (B<—flat 9, D, F, Ab, no root) traditionally resolves into Eb major or minor. Transposed again up a minor third, we get C#7 b 9 (D<---b9, F, G#{or Ab}, B) resolving to F# major or minor key. Transposed again we obtain E7 flat 9 (F<---b9, G#, B, D), resolving into A major or minor.

Transposing up another minor 3rd returns us to G7 flat 9.

It it's true that the dominant chords , Bb, C# & E are the same chord when extended to include the b9 omitting the roots, then it could be that the key centers they resolve into (even though a minor third apart from one another)...are also...essentially...the same?


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Being Avant Garde: How to Pull Off the Creative Life Jazz and the Net
Being Avant Garde: How to Pull Off the Creative Life
by Jeff Winke
Published: June 21, 2014
Read The Grand Unified Field Of Harmony Part 1 Jazz and the Net
The Grand Unified Field Of Harmony Part 1
by Catrina Daimon Lee
Published: July 7, 2011
Read Sonny Rollins is My Rabbi Jazz and the Net
Sonny Rollins is My Rabbi
by Bret Primack
Published: September 20, 2005
Read Summer Heat from Bird/Diz, and Sonny Rollins Jazz and the Net
Summer Heat from Bird/Diz, and Sonny Rollins
by Bret Primack
Published: July 26, 2005
Read Internet Television Jazz and the Net
Internet Television
by Bret Primack
Published: April 20, 2005
Read All Saxophonists Will Be Shot On Sight Jazz and the Net
All Saxophonists Will Be Shot On Sight
by Bret Primack
Published: March 28, 2005
Read "At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight" Bailey's Bundles At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 7, 2018
Read "Lisa Bjorange at Bullret Jazz Club" Live Reviews Lisa Bjorange at Bullret Jazz Club
by Patrick Burnette
Published: February 2, 2018
Read "Roots In The Green Mountains" Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Bourbon, Neat" Genius Guide to the Good Life Bourbon, Neat
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: April 7, 2018
Read "SFJAZZ Collective: Remembering Miles" Interviews SFJAZZ Collective: Remembering Miles
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: May 18, 2017