Polymodality In Jazz Essay

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Polymodality in Jazz Polymodality is a term that has been rarely mentioned in the jazz literature, in the same way it has been infrequently practiced as a compositional tool by jazz arrangers and composers. Very few books mention either polymodality, polytonality or its related terminology, and when done, is frequently to describe a different concept from the one this research is discussing. A clear example of this, is the use of the term polymodality by George Russell in his book Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization. Russell uses the term to describe how chords and scales can generate vertical and horizontal modality, in his principle that reorganizes western theory with the Lydian mode at the center of it, instead of the major scale. Peter Kenagy writes, Russell extends the common view that a chord…show more content…
Another jazz text that mentions the term polytonality—in this case—is the 2011 book by Andy Jaffe, Something Borrowed Something Blue: Principles of Jazz Composition. As Russell, Jaffe uses the term to describe a concept that does not conform to what post-tonal composers meant by polytonality. “Polytonal chords or passages involve the coexistence of material from different tonal sources” Jaffe explains, but beyond this unclear definition, his examples show passages where polychords are used throughout a section. For Andy Jaffe polytonality is a section of polychords. Russell and Jaffe’s definitions only add confusion to the already unclear terminology in this respect. Perhaps, the only clear but succinct description in jazz literature in this regard, is contained in the glossary of David Liebman’s book A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony and Melody, where he defines bitonal as “two keys at the same

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