~ John Coltrane ~
 

 

               
   

 

     
     

'American composer, tenor saxophonist, artistic evolutionist and loving Father to so many ...'

 

 

 

"I think I was first awakened to musical exploration by Dizzy Gillespie and Bird. It was through their work that I began to learn about musical structures and the more theoretical aspects of music." John Coltrane

The epic American harmonic evolutions. Depending on the pathway you took to arrive here, for many there will be no surprise that American jazz saxophonist John Coltrane is the central evolutionary theory figure for this theory book of American music.

Coltrane's legacy ranges to all known places. My work here centers on the advances he championed with the harmony. For through the study of his work we find a gadually additive, 'organic from within' series of harmonic evolutions authored into his compositions. So in theory we've a step by step guide to the necessary shedding, for those artistically inclined in a similar directions.

Coltrane's legacy ranges far and wide, this work centers on the advances he championed with the harmony. An additive, 'organic from within' series of evolutions he developed and authored into compositions.

great harmonic evolutions

John Coltrane. Depending on the pathway you took to arrive here, for some there will be no surprise that American jazz saxophonist John Coltrane is a central evolutionary theory figure for American music. While Coltrane's legacy ranges to all known extents, my ideas here center on the advances he championed with the harmony. For in his work we as theorists find a gadually additive, 'organic from within' series of harmonic evolutions authored into his compositions. So in theory we've a step by step guide to the necessary shedding, for those artistically inclined in a similar directions.

For in Mr. Coltrane's body of work, we can find the entire theoretical evolution of our tonality from diatonic inside to 12 tone out.

That Now available to artists globally, those who choose to follow in the now ancient traditions of using our 12 tone organizational scheme to emulate the natural musical sounds and combinations in our music. In perhaps more visual terms of artists working with light, color and dimension, everything from the cave paintings of Altamira through Michelangelo, van Gogh to Rothko.

So as music theorists, our pathway to 'parnassum' is solid, clear and filled with music to enjoy along the way. For at each of the basic theory steps of our theoretical musical evolution, Coltrane has captured its essence in stunning compositions, which magically retain the core Americana bluesy, gospel ascending sense of struggle to free the spirit in the land of time that always swings.

time
swings

Coltrane's search. F

simply describe the exhausting of the harmonic resource into sheets of sound then beyond. Get from Eli's later train albulm nanes.

 

modes

The evolution of American harmony. That Mr. Gillespie was the master trumpeter of his day.

modes
intervals

The evolution of 3 6 2 5 . That Mr. Gillespie was the master trumpeter of his day.

modes
intervals

V of V becomes V of anything.

. That Mr. Gillespie was the master trumpeter of his day.

modes
intervals

Everything is V7.

. That Mr. Gillespie was the master trumpeter of his day.

modes
intervals

Why? Mostly in that it seems as if Mr. Coltrane successively shedded, wrote and performed a gradually evolving level of harmonic complexity into his compositions. Necessitated by needing a greater intellectual and artistic challenge. I hope there are original charts to back my idea up somewhere because if we follow along with the recording dates spanning a decade, the path through to Giant Steps and beyond is quite clearly a theoretical exhausting of our 12 tone resource.

John Coltrane

anything from anywhere

Trane's harmonic evolution

chord substitution

Coltrane loved the chords. Not really too hard to project into his composing that he loved chords. As a saxophist the chords he loved, he could not play on his horn. But he could play arpeggios. ostly in that it seems as if Mr. Coltrane successively shedded, wrote and performed a gradually evolving level of harmonic complexity into his compositions. Necessitated by needing a greater intellectual and artistic challenge. I hope there are original charts to back my idea up somewhere because if we follow along with the recording dates spanning a decade, the path through to Giant Steps and beyond is quite clearly a theoretical exhausting of our 12 tone resource.

. Iperthrough diligent study simply exhausted it possible that by the simple neccesity of new varieties, Mr. Coltrane evolved our resources based on his own need to simply create greater and greater musical challenges for himself throughout his career. He brought forth his discoveries and evolutions in writing music that demanded a gradually increasing level of theoretical and artistic knowledge, coupled of course with strengthening the technical and physical aspects needed for its performance.

John Coltrane

anything from anywhere

Trane's harmonic evolution

chord substitution

 

Interesting to note here perhaps that while most of our evolutions within Essentials have been a gradual increasing of the pitches in a numerical sense, in the following case, while we'll initially follow this pathway we'll end up on a downhill trend, a somewhat of a decrease in the numbers of pitches while the challenge of the thought process necessary to hang at this new level is really a bit off the charts. So in a sense we've charted the triangle of knowledge or, Mr. Coltrane has, we've just come along after in his footsteps.

triangle of knowledge

Author's note: Might this creative and intellectual urge, in all fields of endeavor, simply be programmed into our DNA us as human beings? Could very well be. So a very special thanks and prayers to cats like Mr. Coltrane for showing us this most organic of human potential within the timeless artform we all love and simply call music :)

DNA

Relieving the tedium. So did Mr. Coltrane's mastering of the music he was performing simply necessitate his evolution of increasingly difficult levels of musical challenges? Was his searching in part to relieve the tedium and boredom that so many artitst commonly share about their own sound and playing? (There's a great story about artistic energy from recording engineer Tom Dowd's biography "The Language Of Music" about his work while engineering Mr. Coltrane's 'Giant Steps' recording.)

By examining his original compositions in historical order, as based on their recording and release dates, we can sense, with the benefit of hindsight of course, what becomes a theoretically rather simple evolutionary path of increasing difficulty and challenge.

bored with my own playing
evolution of Coltrane compositions

As we delve into the analysis of Mr. Coltrane's art, what emerges is a pathway of evolutionary complexity, created mainly through basic chord substitution principles coupled with increasingly rapid tempos. While faster tempos will in and of themselves ramp up the intellectual, physical and artistic challenge of performance, that Mr. Coltrane's improvised art in his advanced compositions is oftentimes so astoundingly beautiful, torrential in its execution yet graceful and full of the core Americana, makes for really rather stunning, natural and organic combination and evolution of all things considered.

Evolution of the harmony / "Giant Steps." From a purely theoretical sense, Mr. Coltrane's composition 'Giant Steps' is viewed here in Essentials as the most organically evolved of our American harmonic cycles. For there was nothing quite like it before and even today, no such harmonic structures have emerged in the popular literature that goes the next step beyond this core cycle. So while players have subbed on top of subs, made every chord in a progression a dominant V7 type chord and created all sort of chromatic buzzing, no one musical composition has had the impact or compares to the logical mathematical balance and artistic brilliance of Giant Steps. Someday another evolution will come along. Cats today are working every day just like Mr. Coltrane, sifting through the pitches looking for the new way forward in melody, harmony and swing. In a couple of instances in our historical development, the one in between melody and chords, the arpeggios, have provided the stimulus for players to evolve and point the way to a next level. Maybe it will again be the arpeggios that will point the new way forward. Follow the arrows up.

bored with my own playing
evolution of Coltrane compositions

Coltrane's motiv. The main melodic motiv that Mr. Coltrane used in 'Giant Steps' is ...

bored with my own playing
evolution of Coltrane compositions

Coltrane's choice lick. 1235, 1235, 1235 ...

a purely theoretical sense, Mr. Coltrane's composition 'Giant Steps' is viewed here in Essentials as the most organically evolved of our American harmonic cycles. For there was nothing quite like it before and even today, no such harmonic structures have emerged in the popular literature that goes the next step beyond its core cycle. So while players have subbed on top of subs, made evry chord in a progression a dominant V7 type chord and created all sort of chromatic buzzing, no one musical composition has had the impact or compares to the logical mathematical balance and artistic brilliance of Giant Steps. Someday another evolution will come along. Cats today work every day just like Mr. Coltrane, sifting through the pitches looking for the new way forward in melody, harmony and swing. In a couple of instances in our historical development, the one in between melody and chords, the arpeggios, have provided the stimulus for cats to evolve. Maybe it will again be the arpeggios and their magic that will point the new way forward.

bored with my own playing
evolution of Coltrane compositions

Sheets of sound. From a purely theoretical sense, Mr. Coltrane's composition 'Giant Steps' is viewed here in Essentials as the most organically evolved of our American harmonic cycles. For there was nothing quite like it before and even today, no such harmonic structures have emerged in the popular literature that goes the next step beyond its core cycle. So while players have subbed on top of subs, made evry chord in a progression a dominant V7 type chord and created all sort of chromatic buzzing, no one musical composition has had the impact or compares to the logical mathematical balance and artistic brilliance of Giant Steps. Someday another evolution will come along. Cats today work every day just like Mr. Coltrane, sifting through the pitches looking for the new way forward in melody, harmony and swing. In a couple of instances in our historical development, the one in between melody and chords, the arpeggios, have provided the stimulus for cats to evolve. Maybe it will again be the arpeggios and their magic that will point the new way forward.

Ira Giltner
wiki sheets of sound

Run it down. In the following discussions we'll examine the basic evolution of the harmony that leads up to Giant Steps.' This turns out to be a very simple, organic process that only works because I puzzled the pieces together in the following manner. For while I've tried to talk about this with musicians who knew Mr. Coltrane personally or deeply studied his music, or look at original scores or charts that might still exist that give a dating to when a composition was first penned or it's harmonic scheme first sketched out, I've had very little success. So luckily we can go to his recordings. Which while give the date of the sessions and the included compositions, unfortuneately I really don't know the date sequence that they were penned. So ... I simply must do the best with what I do have and create assumptions that hopefully a next generation of theorists will truly get to the bottom of. And in the meantime just be thankful for what Mr. Coltrane created for us, enjoy the music and keep searching for new and individually meanigful ways forward :)

bored with my own playing
evolution of Coltrane compositions

'Moments Notice'. I remember one time, after a college big band clinic rehearsal, asking tenor saxophonist Frank Foster if he would like to come out and sit in with our band as we had a gig that night. I was the financial / booking cat for the quintet and I promised him some loot, which he gracefully declined, and a steak dinner, which he gratefully accepted. What really sealed the deal was that the band I was in was named 'Moments Notice.' And when I was asking Mr. Foster to come out he asked me quite directly ... whether we actually knew and played this song. In probably one of my proudest moments of my then brand new career as a working jazz guitarist I confidently resonded 'absolutely Sir.' I then added that Sam White, our own tenor player, knew Mr. Coltrane's entire part from the recording by heart. So with a rather curious glance and then a rather profound clearing of the throat from Mr Foster, the look he gave me was surely his 'this had better all be on the level kid' look. And with that look I just knew he was coming out to hear Sam play his Coltrane, our wonderful altoist Dave Grippo chime in with his Bird like Cannonball lines and our hard driving and swinging rhythm section of Tim Paree bass, Jim Crawford drums and moi on guitar.

hopefully sit in and ell ... that as they say sealed the deal :) Long story short here was that when Mr. Foster showed to our gig that night and got ready to playgigte his steak dinner,

learning tunes

How it works. One helpful way to employ this concept is when learning tunes. As part of the learning process, go through the melodic and harmonic components of the song and find them all of this in a localized position on the fretboard. Physically understanding the close proximity of the components should aid us in learning the tune and creating theme's and variations in our solos.

learning tunes

John Coltrane. The central evolutionary theory figure for this Essentials work is of course saxophonist John Coltrane. And central to this text is the idea that I firmly believe that Mr. Coltrane's pursuit of "anything from anywhere" exhausted, and thus consequently by neccesity, evolved our resources based on his own needs to simply create greater and greater musical challenges for himself throughout his career. He achieved this evolution by writing music that demanded a gradually increasing level of theoretical and artistic knowledge, coupled of course with strengthening the technical and physical aspects needed for its performance.

John Coltrane

Trane's harmonic evolution

chord substitution

Might this creative and intellectual urge, in all fields of endeavor, simply be programmed into our DNA us as human beings? Could very well be. So a very special thanks and prayers to Cats like Mr. Coltrane for showing us this most organic of human potential within the timeless artform we all love and simply call music :)

DNA

Relieving the tedium. So did Trane's mastering of the music he was performing simply necessitate his evolution of increasingly difficult levels of musical challenges? By examining his original compositions in historical order, as based on their recording and release dates, we can sense, with the benefit of hindsight of course, what becomes a theoretically rather simple evolutionary path of increasing difficulty and challenge.

bored with my own playing
evolution of Coltrane compositions

As we delve into the analysis of Mr. Coltrane's art, what emerges is a pathway of evolutionary complexity, created mainly through basic chord substitution principles coupled with increasingly rapid tempos. While faster tempos will in and of themselves ramp up the intellectual, physical and artistic challenge of performance, that Mr. Coltrane's improvised art in his advanced compositions is oftentimes so astoundingly beautiful, torrential in its execution yet graceful and full of the core Americanan, makes for really rather stunning, natural and organic combination and evolution of all things considered.

Valences of tonal gravity. V7 before every chord and every chord becomes V7.

bored with my own playing
evolution of Coltrane compositions

The gist of it. The core of this concept is to simply work towards the ability to sound any of our scale, arpeggio and chordal resources from each pitch on our instruments. And while this might sound unrealistic, once the process gets started, due to the linear nature of our guitars, it quickly starts to overlap upon itself, creating layers and cycles of shapes that in time can become second nature. Eventually it all blends together, potentially opening up new vistas for the evolving guitarist.

scales
arpeggios
chords

Two basic parts to this concept. The first part of this concept is to strengthen our ability to sound our various resources from one pitch. This one pitch becomes the root or starting pitch of each component. This is the essential core shedding we can use to learn our ax. The second part is a wee bit more complicated. In this process we have to make any given pitch any part of the component we are working on.

core shedding
arpeggios
chords

1st pass. With C as our root pitch, things may proceed in an orderly fashion as we've a consistent back stopping to our thought process. Again, our first shedding pass of the resources puts this view of the resources under our fingers.

first shedding pass

2nd pass. In our next pass we begin to realize that the pitch C is also the second scale degree of the diatonic Bb major and minor scales, the third degree of Ab major's scale, arpeggio and chord and so forth. In these exercise, we're looking to .

scale degree

Localized position. Don't these theoretical permutations simply represent our various modes, segements of arpeggios and chordal inversions? They sure do. So where's the benefit? Simply a deeper understanding of how the same pitches become different components within just a span of a few frets. And as the complexity of the music evolves as described above and the tempos get faster, our knowledge of our "localized resources" can surely help us win the day.

Getting started / melodic resources. The following musical ideas center around the pitch C, in fifth position on the third string G. This first grouping is of our melodic resources. In the musical examples, the rhythms used are simply 8th notes, the lingua franco of most Jazzers. Surely do evolve the rhythms and time aspects as your abilities and creative energies permit. Here is a listing of our core melodic resources. Example 1.

diatonic
key center
C pentatonic major scale
C major scale
C Dorian
C Phrygian
C Lydian
C Mixolydian
C Aeolian
C Locrain
C whole tone scale
C pentatonic minor scale
C Blues
C natural minor
C harmonic minor
C melodic minor
C diminished
C altered
C Klezmer minor
C chromatic scale

Second grouping / arpeggios. The following musical ideas center around the pitch C, in fifth position on the third string G. This first grouping is of our melodic resources. In the musical examples, the rhythms used are simply 8th notes, the lingua franco of most Jazzers. Surely do evolve the rhythms and time as your abilities and creative energies permit. Here is a listing of our core melodic resources. Example 1.

diatonic
key center

With the increased modulation found in Jazz, coupled with the vastness of its improvisational / substitution qualities, the numerical thinking almost seems a necessity these days. It's hard to imagine deciphering the modern Jazz music of today without an understanding of the theory but it is of course very possible. Being cool with the numbers can facilitate the entire learning process dramatically.

modulation
improv / substitution

What we gain with this perspective. What we gain is the ability to project any theory and the musical sounds it creates from any of the pitches of the chromatic scale. In this essentials text I often term this ability "anything from anywhere."

anything from anywhere

The concept in a nutshell. Examine the following chart and relationship between the pitches of C major and the numbers one through eight. Example 1.

 
C major scale
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Able to follow the logic? The pitch C is the 1st scale degree of the C major scale thus termed One throughout Essentials. D is Two, or the second scale degree of the C major scale. The pitch E is Three of the C major scale etc. Easy do huh? Note how I've capitalized the numbers? This is to simply designate scale degree and is consistent throughout this text.

scale degree

Capitalized written numbers. Note how I've capitalized the numbers? This is to simply designate scale degree and is consistent throughout this entire text. Whenever a written number appears and its first letter is capitalized, where simply talking that scale degree.

 

We'll follow the exact same numerical logic in this next idea, although we're now thinking relative minor to C major, same pitches just starting from a different root pitch to create the A natural minor grouping of pitches. Example 1a.

natural minor
groups of pitches
A minor scale
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
A
scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

The octave interval. So in each of the above charts, One and Eight are the same letter name pitch. These pitches are an octave apart. We use the two numbers to create this distinction in registration but in our day to day theory, Eight rarely if ever appears. The idea of a closed loop of pitches is potentially essential for the emerging theorist. For once the limits and perimeter are defined, all lives within the loop.

octave
registration

Always One / applies to all / a numbers game. So the first scale degree of any of our scale configurations is always One? Yep that's the idea. It's the same for arpeggios and chords, although we theorists will often also use and see the term "root" to describe the first pitch of these components.

root
arpeggios
chords

We're really just looking for something consistent to measure from. And once we're cool with the numbers, any of the theory we discover we can numerically project equally to all key centers and their component parts. The numbers can become a sort of shorthand to facilitate our learning.

musical measuring
key centers

Roman numerals. In thinking of chords, we theorists often use a second set of numbers are often used in analysis of written scores. These are the Roman numerals. We use upper case for major triads and their extensions, the lower case Roman numerals for the minor chords and their extensions. Examine the following chart including both sets of numbers. Example 3.

Roman numerals
key centers
scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
C major scale pitches
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
arpeggio degrees
1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
arpeggio pitches
C
E
G
B
D
F
A
C
chord degrees / Roman numerals
I
ii
iii
IV
V
vi
vii
VIII / I
chord names
C maj
D min
E min
F maj
G maj
A min
B min
C maj
triad pitches
C E G
D F A
E G B
F A C
G B D
A C E
B D F
C E G

Look familiar? OK with how this last chart is presented? See the evolution of the pitches as we diatonically reconfigure the C major scale pitch resource into its arpeggio? Then break the arpeggio down into three pitch triads in creating our diatonic chords?

arpeggios
triads

A G, C D'er. Years ago, jamming with friends, I learned the changes to a Country tune by having the song described to me by the fiddle player as a "G, C, D'er." That was simply a quick description of the chord progression in the song. After a couple of times through the tune, my ear told me the when and where the chords belonged.

chord progression
key centers

In G major, these chords numerically become One, Four and Five, as G, C and D are the One, Four and Five pitches of the G major scale. Examine the pitches and their numerical equivalents. Example 3.

 
G major scale
G
A
B
C
D
E
F#
G
scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Here are the chords in action. Example 3a.

 

Becoming cool with the numbers. Using this last chord progression as our basis, becoming cool with the numbers is simply a matter of locating the key of the music, writing out our pitches if necessary, then locating our starting points to recreate the chord progression in the chosen key. Those guitarists armed with a capo or barre chords know the value of this transpositional ability. Examine the following chart organized by perfect 5th's. Example 4.

capo
barre chords
12 major keys
transposition
perfect 5th's
major scale key
One
Four
Five
C
C
F
G
G
G
C
D
D
D
G
A
A
A
D
E
E
E
A
B
B
B
E
F#
Gb
Gb
Cb
Db
Db
Db
Gb
Ab
Ab
Ab
Db
Eb
Eb
Eb
Ab
Bb
Bb
Bb
Eb
F
F
F
Bb
C

Minor keys too? Will our numerical magic of theoretical projections apply equally as well to the minor keys? Absolutely. Actually, everything in our theory applies.

12 minor keys

Two octave madness. Along the way through this Essentials text you might have bumped into the following chart that presents each of our chromatic scale degrees, for two full octaves, exploring the theory in this numbers perspective. So depending on your musical style today and artistic goals of tomorrow, being cool with the numbers just might be a happening thing :) Is this next chart representative of the divinely "anything from anywhere" chromatically enhanced extravaganza?

evolution of the artist
anything from anywhere

"Knowledge is the most precious treasure of all things because it can never be given away, stolen or consumed."

Sanskrit proverb

~ the diminished colors ~

'1930's discovery energizes Bird then Trane ...'

In a nutshell. The diminished color just seems to be able to find its way into every knook of the American chromatic. Each of the styles has probably at least one spot where we might hear something of this doubly even or tripley minor stack'o pitches.

Into the wayback to the mid 30's to Charlie Christian and his "Air Mail Special", the bridge of which is but also chromatic ...?

can be something diffcan be lots of unique things to lots of different players. .

the American chromatic
the wayback machine

In today's music, while it's near impossible to hear any difference in pitches or tunings, the duality of our pitches enables the blue melodic magic weave over stable, closely tuned chord pitches. Just how central this relationship might be is more about one's own art directions but surely lives at the stylistic heart of Americana guitar. The bend-able string / pitch ability over precisely tuned chords is the basis of our guitar arts.

blue notes
a wide array of chords

The explosive potenetial of the diminished color. As tempos accelerated in bop andits post incarnates, the diminished colors becomes the great accelerator of American jazz. Thanks to its symmetrically sequenced DNA of minor 3rds, two solid theories emerge.

First, simply that the diminished color can slip between two of any diatonic motions at the drop of a hat. Surely some are more awkward, but jazz cats often dig on the challenge of finding the balance and proper presentation based on style, tempo and feel.

The second theory helps creates the various double Two / Five motions. Based mostly on the b9 in V7b9, the fully diminshed 7th chord in this dominant's V7 trnsion encourages chord motion moved around by the minor third interval. We can find this motion in three very lovely jazz classics.

"Satin Doll." The essential wedding gig lovesong, this Strayhorn / Ellington / Mercer 1953 classic number is really built around the Two / Five motion. There's seven different pairings in the song. Bar's five and six of the eight bar A section have what we're looking for here; a double Two / Five a half step apart. Sort of like this. Example 1.

Two / Five
'A' section
half step motions

Strollin'. The idea of a 'silent architecture of music' refers to the structural nuts and bolts of the pitches we use to create our American musical sounds. Part art, part science and surely part magic of nature, understanding this architectural theory helps us project and filter any idea through a wider range of options. Knowing the basis empowers us to sort things out as each new pitch comes along. The idea is to build an intellectual theory structure within, so as the new ideas come along we have a framework to store, organize and recall our ideas.

"Moment'sNotice.". The idea of a 'silent architecture of music' refers to the structural nuts and bolts of the pitches we use to create our American musical sounds. Part art, part science and surely part magic of nature, understanding this architectural theory helps us project and filter any idea through a wider range of options. Knowing the basis empowers us to sort things out as each new pitch comes along. The idea is to build an intellectual theory structure within, so as the new ideas come along we have a framework to store, organize and recall our ideas.

Along the way of this discover process we need to explore some of the history and by necessity, the basics of natural sound, i.e., acoustics, and how we are thought to physically hear sound. This is our first topic of a few where music and math will meet. We combine these to create the precursor for understanding why we tune our instruments of today the way we do and what we gain by tuning the pitches in this manner.

And even though our story includes thousands of years of creative output, creating the rich and varied collection of music we enjoy today, this silent architectural structuring of our pitches has yet to vary very far from its origins. Founded on earthly natural sounds and as we'll soon see, its scientifically measurable acoustical properties, we've simply tweaked our tuning of this core a time or two over the millenia to arrive at today's pitch resource for the modern guitarist.

As guitarists. Turns out all we need to begin this discovery is of course built right into our instruments. We're simply going to use the pitches created by the guitar's natural string harmonics to recreate one way of how our pitches come to us. From the historical view of this, the whole theory tamale revolves around the two pitch octave interval, which lives on today in so many of our cherished American melodies.

string harmonics video

Our story begins at the blacksmith's shop. One source of our present day organization of music comes to us as part of a package deal often described under the broad heading of Western Civilization. We can trace this thread back through European history to the Romans and even further back through to the Greeks, whose philosopher Pythagoras and his people, dating from around 530 B.C.E. or so, laid the foundations for many of our present day ways of taking care of business.

"The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known."

Pete Seeger

Grout, Donald Jay. A History of Western Music, p. 10. W.W.Norton and Company Inc. New York, 1960.

 

Aebersold, James and Slone, Ken. Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Atlantic Music Corp., 1978. I know this is a troubling stand to take but I felt I had to and as jazz player, I based it on Charlie Parker's compositions in the Omnibook. Find a copy, count the number of tunes, then compare the number of major key to minor key songs. Any real book of popular American song, by a mix of composers, will follow along similar lines in this regard.regard.

So why a perfect 11th? Simply in that this is the same pitch above our root as the perfect fourth, just now moved up an octave. Again we bump into the idea that with the colortones, the music theory of the natural diatonic 11th is usually more about chords than melody. Thus, having an 11th usually implies that we also have some sort of 9th in our chord. And having a 9th implies we've a 7th in the chord as well. 'The finger bone's connected to the hand bone, the hand bone's connected to the wrist bone' ... all in a perfectly closed loop. Ex. 1.

color tones
chords
melody
loops of pitches
numerical scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
two octave C major scale
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
A
B
C
arpeggio degrees
1
.
3
.
5
.
7
.
9
.
11
.
.
.
15
C major arpeggio
C
.
E
.
G
.
B
.
D
.
F
.
.
.
C

'A half step above our tonic pitch.'

Theory names: This half step above the tonic is often simply referred to by its numerical designation. Generally we'll use the sharp (#) when ascending away from the tonic and the flat (b) designation when descending towards our tonic pitch. I also call this pitch a blue note, but I'm probably the only one that does.

half step
music notation

~ John Coltrane ~

American composer, tenor saxophonist, artistic evolutionist