The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization. George Russell’s book, The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, first published in , was. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Lydian Chromatic Concept. This page can be read either as one continuous article from . Lydian Chromatic Concept Theory basically asserts that the lydian scale is more [It] implies an evolution to higher levels of tonal organization.

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The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization is one of the most important books about the musical universe. It is also one of the most needlessly confusing books ever written. I was immediately taken lydiian it and have worked with it ever since, sometimes more than at other times, but continuously for over 40 years now. I have some hard-earned insights into what seemed to be a complex subject when I began. This series of articles is about those insights and about what the LCCTO is and what pf is not, lydain about how I have utilized it to help me to create the music I wanted to create.

As with any map, it is most useful when you know where you want to go. I also believe that George Russell himself is somewhat responsible for the fact that so many people have the sense that the LCCTO is a system, because Russell presents his Concept in that way, in my opinion.

But the point is not to debate this issue. The point is that when I discovered the map or the heart of the LCCTO, light was shed on many, many things that were hidden before.

So, let me begin with the map. The early editions of the LCCTO book included an insert, cooncept a pocket at the back of the book, not bound into the book but placed loosely in a pocket. Find it and copy it. The chart is rarely mentioned in the text of the early editions. Later editions of the book are completely different than the early editions.

The later editions, including the current one, are so different as to be a completely different book. Orgnization is a big loss, in my opinion, and here is why.

The name of that chart says a lot. Here, then is a complete chart of tonal gravity. But the rest of the title tells us something just as important, even if it seems obvious.


Of course, a Lydian chromatic scale is nothing more than a chromatic scale. But pydian other important word is the most over looked: But of course all chromatic scales are the same, so what does it matter?

It matters for this reason:. There are, of course 12 of them. You need to name that chromatic scale before the chart has any meaning at all. The map is featureless until the chromatic scale is named.

Everything of value in the chart is only revealed when the chromatic scale is named.

The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization

Now, we can use the chart as the map of tonal gravity that it is. However, there is more to being able to use a tool than merely possessing it. It is the key of the music perhaps. Everything we do now starts from cconcept F. Those headings name all the intervals possible in a chromatic scale. PRIME just indicates a unison, not exactly what we call an interval, but all the rest are known intervals that can occur.

Those columns under those titles are a map of the tonal gravity of that particular interval. In that organizationn, which is about dead center on the page, we see a series of Roman Numerals which proceed down the column to the bottom of the page. If you count those Roman Numerals in that column, you will find there are 12 of them. The same number of pitches in a chromatic scale.

The Roman Numerals signify this: In our example, major 3 rdwe look at the first Roman Numeral in that column. To make that Maj 3 rdwe go from F to A. Suffice it to say that it is the very soul of the LCCTO that the overtone series creates the basis for tonal gravity. If we continue down lydiab column, we get this:. In other words, the ones closer to the top have a stronger tonal gravity pull to F than the ones closer to the bottom. Make sure you understand that.

It is not complicated but it may be new to you. We know the top spot is held by the pair which is built on the I scale position. Now, do the same for each column. When you have completed all that, you have the entire map of the Tonal Gravity of the F Chromatic Scale.

It does not tell you how to use it. George Russell has, in early editions and in late editions, given examples of how it can be used. Those examples may be helpful or may be confusing. It is a map of a sound world; an F sound world.


So, I sat at a piano and listened to them. Using a F in the left hand, I then payed the intervals as named earlier, sometimes spelling each pitch individual, sometimes sounding them together against the F fundamental.

I did that for each interval, many time, until I could hear a lot of what was happening. I then took it to my saxophone and flute, and played them, wrote etudes for practice. I wrote them as described earlier: Off I did it bottom to top inward bound, toward the F tonal center.

Ljdian did that for each interval, again and again. Of course, that developed over time, but it has remained quite consistent as well.

It became my language and my vocabulary for my music. It is the raw material and it is worth its weight in gold. You must change scales conceot time, although you are still in the same tonal universe. In other words, you have to reorient lydiqn in order to pursue various degrees of consonance or, more accurately, tonal gravity. Is it more difficult to work within ONE scale of 12 tones The Lydian Chromatic Scale of the moment or within the 8 scales as shown on the chart?

For me, the answer is simple: It took me hours to put the above together. But everything that you need to know is in that chart already.

George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization

Find it and copy it The chart is rarely mentioned in the text of the early editions. Just one chromatic scale. It matters for this reason: However, there is more to being able to use a tool than merely possessing it But first, we need to grasp the tool and understand how it works. Look at the chart. If we continue down that column, we get this: Now, what good is that information? How is it useful? One scale per tonic, 12 tonics equals 12 scales.

You tell me which way is more complex. The Music of Joe Giardullo: