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TitleNegative_Harmony_#1_ENG_Fiorini_Marco.pdf
TagsScale (Music) Chord (Music) Harmony Interval (Music)
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© Marco Fiorini 2017

[email protected]

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The concepts proposed here belong to a Functional Tonal Polarity Theory. It's fundamental to

understand the value every note has within the considered scale and tonality.

Let's take a C Major scale, this scale has an interval structure of T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST.

It's also important to notice the relevance of the perfect fifth interval C-G, called the "spine" of tonality.

Our ear, infact, will perceive as Tonic the note at the bottom of this interval, in this case C.

With these concepts in mind, the relative Negative scale of C Major will be the one maintaining the same

aspects of Functional Polarity, the same interval structure and the same perfect fifth interval C-G.

That leads us to the so called Negative G Major scale, a mirror negative reflection of the C Major scale

(notice how this scale descends, in contrapposition to the ascending positive scale).

Let's now introduce the concept of Generator Tone, meaning the tone from which the interval structure

T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST starts. While in the positive world this tone coincides with the Tonic C, in the negative

world the Generator is G (that's why the scale is called Negative G) and the Tonic is always a fifth below

that.

The Tonic of this new scale is again C and that's why is wrong to call the scale G Phrygian or Eb Major;

in doing so you would lose the Functional Polarity of the tones in relation to their degree (the numbers

below every note in both scales)

For instance, the Gravity or Functional Polarity that tends to attract the tone B towards C in the

ascending C Major scale is the same as the one leading Ab to G in the descending Negative G Major

scale; they both represent degree 7.

The first practical application of this theory is to learn to mirror a well known melody, as Happy

Birthday.

First we want to define the key (C Major) and write down a numerical pattern reference of the degrees of

the melody:

5 5 6 5 1 7 - 5 5 6 5 2 1 - 5 5 5 3 1 7 6 - 4 4 3 1 2 1

(underlined numbers refers to an octave higher)

Now we can move to the Negative G Major scale and play the melody related to these degrees, keeping in

mind that what in the positive world is ascending becomes descending in the negative one, and viceversa.

Our new melody will start on the fifth degree of the Negative G Major scale ad will have a descending

aspect, contrary to the relative positive melody.



T = Tonic

G= Generator

C Major scale

G-T

Negative G Major scale

G

T

Negative Harmony

Functional Tonal Polarity

Concepts by Steve Coleman/Ernst Levy

Transcribed by Marco Fiorini

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