Looking square, sounding hip

https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/jazz-harmony-cube-b6ec7dbec569427f900a88803697ef72 Here's a 3D preview of the cube if you are not quite ready to assemble the paper version. The Jazz Harmony Cube is a map of the country, continent or dwarf planet that we may call Mixolydia. This is where we find the mixolydian scale and at least seven scales which share essential notes… Continue reading Looking square, sounding hip

Circle of Fifths part 4: why does it exist and what is it trying to tell us?

I was surprised when I discovered the extent of the visual and musical culture of the circle of fifths. It is like a huge tree with many branches and colourful fruit. There was a second surprise when I started investigating why the circle of fifths is so useful, and why it exists at all. The… Continue reading Circle of Fifths part 4: why does it exist and what is it trying to tell us?

Circle of fifths part 3: tunings and temperaments

Last time we covered some of the better-known uses of the circle of fifths. Our subject this time is one that you may not have met, unless you are an early music enthusiast or a member of that endangered profession, a keyboard tuner. This illustration comes from the website of Carey Beebe Harpsichords of Sydney,… Continue reading Circle of fifths part 3: tunings and temperaments

Circle of fifths, part 2: Origins and uses

Last time we surveyed the rich culture that surrounds music's circle of fifths: the posters, gadgets, apps, clocks and t-shirts, and the almost endless variants of the iconic diagram. But apart from the human fondness for zodiacs, mandalas and other circular things, what are the secrets of its success? This time I'll be looking at… Continue reading Circle of fifths, part 2: Origins and uses

Will it go round in circles?

People love circles, especially 12-sector circles. So although the significance of music's circle of fifths can take a while to appreciate, the diagram itself seems disarmingly familiar. With a bit of imagination it can become a clock face, a zodiac, a colour wheel or a calendar of months. Whoa, are all those things really connected?… Continue reading Will it go round in circles?

Negative harmony part 3: the Levy legacy

In part 2 of this series we used chromatic circle diagrams to show how chords and scales are affected by chromatic inversion - the basic operation of negative or mirror harmony. We noted that there are twelve available reflection points or 'axes'. Jacob Collier popularised the use of one specific axis, located 3½ semitones above… Continue reading Negative harmony part 3: the Levy legacy