## A Harmonic Journey: ET and JI Compared

The Harmonic Lattice can be viewed as a map of harmonic space. Music moves in harmonic space, just as it moves in melodic space (the world of scales and keyboards). The two spaces are very different from each other. In melodic space, such as a piano keyboard, when two notes are close together, it means…

## A Theory of Everything

Hey, shouldn’t everyone have one? I’ve suggested many times on this blog that number is at the heart of all things. Here’s one article: Pythagoras’ Epiphany. I think the beauty of music, especially harmony, is similar to the beauty of math, but happening in real time. It slightly parts the veil, deepening the view of what…

## Tonal Gravity and the Major Scale

In my last post, I proposed a simple way to graph tonal gravity against the octave. Overtonal notes, generated by multiplying, are restful, stable — they have positive polarity, pulling toward the center. Reciprocal notes, generated by division, are restless, unstable — they push. I call this negative polarity. Mixed-polarity notes have both, and I’ve…

## Putting Some Numbers on Tonal Gravity

I believe the sensation of tonal gravity is the most important driver of tension and resolution in tonal music, music that has a central key note. The tonic is like a sun, creating a gravitational field around it. The lattice is a beautiful map of this gravitational field, in harmonic space. Tonal gravity acts like…

## Straight Line Chords: Aug, Dim, Sus2, Sus4

Major and minor chords look like triangles on the lattice. They are closed loops, which I think contributes to their stable feeling. Up a major third, up a minor third, and down a fifth (due West on the lattice) brings you right back where you started. The intervals interlock, and they are all consonant, reinforcing…

## Three Flavors of Seventh Chord

Chords and other collections of notes have consistent, recognizable shapes on the lattice. A major chord is a triangle sitting on its base, a minor chord is a triangle on its point. Yesterday’s post has videos showing these chords. In the songs I know and write, the next most common chords after major and minor…

## Chords on the Lattice

A chord is a collection of three or more notes sounded at the same time. Arpeggios, in which the notes are sounded one after the other, are considered chords too. Two notes sounded at once are generally called an interval rather than a chord. Chords make patterns on the lattice. A given kind of chord…

## More Blue Tritones

I want to show you some lattice movies of how I’ve used blue tritones in my own music. Real Girl has several examples. The clearest is a guitar lick in the chorus: That 7b5 is tasty over the bVI chord. For an instant, it makes a “barbershop seventh,” the 7th harmonic of the root. Here…

## The Blue Tritone

I have a favorite note. Don’t tell the others. It’s the septimal flat five, or septimal tritone. I call it 7b5 on the lattice. There are many reasons why I love this note. One is that Jimi played it, and he’s my favorite musician of them all. Another is that this note is rarely discussed…

## 100 Girlfriends, Part 2

My new song video, Real Girl, contains many examples of consonance and dissonance, tension and resolution. In my last post, I extracted a phrase from the song and slowed it way down to illustrate how the bass and melody dance, creating and resolving tension in several different ways. Here is the last half of that…