The wiki page says:

Russell builds a prototype chromatic scale starting on the Lydian Tonic by stacking fifths, skipping the interval between the seventh and eighth tones. Using C as the Lydian Tonic yields the following 12-note scale with enharmonic respellings: C, G, D, A, E, B, F♯, G♯, D♯(E♭), A♯(B♭), E♯(F), B♯(C).

This makes sense to me - I can construct this same list of pitches myself by following the 'recipe' in the above quote.

However, when I looked in the actual George Russell book, the interval to the final note is different - I would have expected the last note to be F (following the sequence of fifths) not G♭

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Can anyone explain that final G♭?

  • You can construct "this same list", but that list is -- as you have proven to us -- not George Russel's Lydian Chromatic Order of Tonal Gravity. Wikipedia can be pretty bad on music theory, there's no reason to suppose that their account of its construction is meaningful (although I will point out that the trailing G-flat is the "skipped" fifth, which Wikipedia's list omits entirely). – Esther Jan 13 at 2:34

The list of tones (F C G D etc.) listed there is not a cycle of fifths. As it says, it is the "order of tonal gravity", i.e. the list of all notes, from the most consonant (or rather: the one with the greatest "gravitational pull" toward the root of the scale, in this case F), to the most dissonant (or rather, with the weakest gravitational pull toward the root) which is a semitone above the root (Gb in this case).

In my words, "gravitational pull" means "tendency to resolve on the root".

The root itself has the highest gravity, because it's already there. The second strongest is the fifth (C -> F in the case of F Lydian above), and so on.

  • I'd argue that 'tendency to resolve on the root' of F would actually be E. There's always a pull of a semitone to somewhere else that's a strong pull, and 'leading note' isn't called that for nothing. – Tim Jan 13 at 12:44
  • I get the "order of tonal gravity" list, but what then is the F Lydian Chromatic Scale? I assume the tonal gravity list is a re-ordering of the scale, but then what is the original scale? – Michael Curtis Jan 13 at 17:50
  • 1
    @Michael, you should read the book, but super-simplifying things, the Lydian Chromatic Scale is the superimposition of several scales: Lydian, Blues, Diminished, etc. which taken together include all 12 tones, each of which has its own relationship with the root and with the chords. – MMazzon Jan 13 at 21:32

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