When the plain symmetry of the tritone interval is intentionally avoided... the spiral symmetry of the golden ratio (and its reciprocal) is revealed as the catalyst for modulation...
Modal Jam Theory is an evolving series of articles designed to present unique ideas for exploring melody & harmony at the same time. These ideas - when adequately assimilated - may constitute a functional understanding that is stream-lined to the useful purpose of composing, improvising, and/or (simply) developing the ear.
Distinctions: Diatonic Harmony vs. Modal Harmony:
In a previous post - I made the statement that the terms: 'Diatonic Harmony' and 'Modal Harmony' are [virtually] interchangeable. Many of the concepts presented in "Modal Jam Theory" are designed (specifically) to clarify this [virtual] distinction:
In the explanation of Diatonic Harmony - we try to drive the point that no matter what the root (in the bass) - the 'harmonic ear' recognizes a basic triad (or inversion of that triad) that is (more often than not) found to function within the key of the melody. We learn to hear this... to recognize it... to predict it. In Modal Jam Theory - we will learn to explore the idea of changing the function of various roots - simply by the choice of triad used to extend the harmony.
In the explanation of Diatonic Triads - the root (in the bass) is always a bonafide member of the triad in question. In Modal Jam Theory... this is not necessarily the case.
Even though the natural continuation of a study of Diatonic Harmony (beyond what has been set forth at this site) lends itself to the study of extension tones (7th's, 9th's, 11th's & 13th's) -- the ultimate reality is that as we 'extend' certain chords further... and further -- the harmonic overtone series (eventually) opens our ears to a new key (Diatonic Pivot). Modal Jam Theory proposes to address this reality in a practical way.
Modal Jam Theory: Introduction
Understanding The Harmonic Circle Of Fifths:
The Harmonic Circle Of Fifths is a tool that we use to view all twelve tones at once. That's it! When I first saw this 'circle' -- I had one question: Are these 'elements' chords, single tones, or keys? I never received a straight answer to that question because the answer is: any or all of the above! The way to beat this question (after we have learned chord construction in all the keys) is to think of each 'element' as the 'root' of a chord (now we are thinking like a good Bass Player).
A musician studying the modes may add something like this to the model -- for a better view:
A musician familiarizing themselves with solfege syllables [because we know this creates a more meaningful connection from the ear to the brain (and the body)] might create something like this for a better view:
Now that we can "hear" what every other tone sounds like from the perspective of 'C' (as a root) -- let's flip the switch in our brain that asks: What does 'C' sound like in relation to all the other tones... when they (themselves) become roots? The outer band of tones in the following example represent the 'C' note "pivoting" to become a function other than 'Do' (notice that there is a change in function for all tones except 'Do' and 'Fi' -- and all 'changes' result in a 'Reflective Reciprocal').
Now - let's bring the 'C' Modes back into the model -- and we can see that we have not strayed too far off course from what we thought we knew: