Looking into the history of jazz movements from ragtime, to swing, to be-bop and post-pop uncovered the work of George Russell and his philosophy of music with the lydian scale. Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept simplifies improvising melodies and laid the foundation for a new sound, giving rise to the “cool jazz” epitomized in the classic Kind of Blue.
From experience in playing traditional West African Music as taught by Abou Sylla of Guinea, the Lydian scale appears almost naturally in Mande songs. And it appears Miles Davis’s wish of replacing C with F on the piano may have been done hundreds of years ago with the balafon.
In the above excerpt, Russell explains two different approaches to musical harmony and the intent to shape a new sound in jazz emphasizing more liberal approaches to music. — The Subject is Jazz, WNBC. 1958. New York, NY.
Extending Russell’s theories may lead back to the more complex tonalities found in the “blue notes” of blues and jazz, Arab, South Asian, and African music along with many bodies of music that predate classical European traditions.
As a web developer frequently working with one the world’s favorite technologies, the internet, Neil Postman’s study of modern culture struck me as a highly relevant critique on the quiet, relentless ways in which technologies shape our lives. Here’s a slightly adapted list of Postman’s questions to ask when presented with a need to create a new technology:
What is the problem to which this technology is the solution?
Whose problem is it?
Which people and what institutions might be most seriously harmed by this technological solution?
What problems might be created because we have solved this problem?
What sort of people and institutions might acquire special economic and political power because of this technological change?
What changes in language, the generally accepted meanings of words and phrases, are being enforced by this new technology and what is gained and lost by such changes?
What new methods of communication may result from this technology?
For more information about these questions refer to Neil Postman’s Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology and Building a Bridge to the 18th Century.
I’ve been playing and learning from Abou Sylla for over five years now and I’m always impressed with the patience taken to distill West African music for Western students. Lots of West African music is approximated in European notation as being in 6/8 which divides beats into multiples of three. On the other hand, the common 4/4 time signature that divides beats into multiples of two encompasses most mainstream American music. So due to lack of exposure to rhythmically complex music, Western ears are slower to pick up the complexities of 6/8 rhythm. I’ve had many lessons taking hours to learn a passage that would come second nature to those who grew up hearing these “polyrhythms” all their lives.
Remember to keep it clean, Saxy one. Soak your mouthpiece and reeds in hydrogen peroxide every now and then to get rid of excess bacteria and fungi. You don’t want those germs and mold setting up shop in your mouth and lungs causing some kind of random disease, do you? Besides, your kissing partner will enjoy not having sharing your horn germs after your blow all those solos.
How, you say? I thought you’d never ask. Simply fill a small cup with hydrogen peroxide and submerge your reed or rubber mouthpiece. Soak reeds for five to fifteen minutes and mouthpieces for around two hours. No Peroxide in the house? Thats OK because vinegar works equally well. Fair warning – the acid might give your hard rubber mouthpiece a greenish hue and your reeds a not so pleasant taste. Be sure to thoroughly rinse with water after all that soaking!
Got a metal mouthpiece? No problem! Just rinse with a little soap and warm water. Peroxide and vinegar work here too, but you might want to do a test to make sure neither chemical tarnishes your mouthpiece finish. However, if you are a fan of rusty patinas, go for it.
The new version of ThoughtMonitor is finally here. Say hello to version 9.3 complete with song recognition and auto playlists. Now you can support the artists you love with ThoughtPlay. Queue up a song with just a thought and ThoughtPlay will stream it directly to your cerebellum. Enjoy your favorite music the way it was meant to be heard.