Thursday, November 18, 2004

multiple tonic systems (g. steps)

I think i finally understand what giant steps, and other multiple tonic tunes(such as central park west) are really meant to be and coltrane blows the way he does over them.

The basic premise:
The name multiple tonic means more than one home base, basically, and implies that these different home bases are completely equal to one another. Therefore, within a multiple tonic system, the equivalent cadence chords are also equal. For example: in a two tonic system of two maj chords a tritone apart such as CMaj7 - F#Maj7, the II chords and V chords are equivalent. So, D-7 = G#-7 and G7 = C#7. Because of this relative equallity, they are interchangeable. Check out the possibilities of cadences in a 2 tonic system.



Now, if we are going to use all these different possibilities, it becomes clear we cannot to much to the individual chords. This works because each cadence chord belongs directly and strongly to one of the two equivalent Maj tonalaties. So no sub Vs or altering of the dominant chords, and the clear each chord is spelled out, the stronger the overall tonality (both tonalities combined) is. This is where coltranes scale patterns of 1235 and 1b345 come in.
Think of it as a big intervallic house (maybe more like a yurt) made up of two tonalities and all the rooms made up of each little chord. The walls of each room is made up of the specific scale pattern intervals played over each chord. So you see, if we are not very accurate and intervallicaly precise, the walls distort, the rooms scatter and the house falls down. What a drag. So the reason Coltrane blows so 'stiffly' over the changes is because these aren't changes, this is a goddam house!
What all this comes down to is the possibility and persuit of a universal key. In just this two tonic system we already have all the notes in the twelve tone scale and eight different cadences we can play to get to each tonality. Think of how the possibilities multiply when we go to a three, four, or five tonic system. What comes out is basically ordered chaos, like cracking ice.
So. Giant Steps is an unmusical excercise-sounding tune if we play all our bop scales and substitutions over it, because that is not at all how it is meant to be played. If you put mashed potatoes in a nice big waffle cone instead of ice cream, it will probably taste like shit.
This happens to be just about the only thing i've ever learned in a class room that was worth jack shit. School is inherently anti-artistic and caters to homogenization of musicians and their music. So i'm getting the hell out and moving to Portland, OR. Does anybody live there or know of things happening on the scene? Let me know.