Ornette Coleman has developed a framework for his ideas called Harmolodics. It is somewhat hard to understand what this constitutes though. It is stated that melody, harmony and rhythm are equally important in this framework, but that is still quite undefined.

Coleman has written an article called "Prime Time for Harmolodics", which I haven't been able to track down. There's also been rumours about a book in the subject since the '70s. Other artists are reported to have used this theory, so it should exist.

There is sheet music included in the "Body Meta" record, which has both a G clef, an F clef and a "harmolodic clef" for each line, but the melody seems to be the usual notes. So there is some specific notation even. (Granted, he could just be messing with us.)

So, any info on what this theory actually implies would be appreciated.

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    I have not heard of this concept before, and I'm always on the look out for interesting or unique approaches to music theory, so I'll have to see if I can find out anything. – Caleb Hines May 28 '14 at 19:30

The most concise discussion of harmolodics that I found is at Defining Harmolodics. I would agree with Bernie Nix in the article who says:

The harmony doesn’t dictate the direction, the melody does.

At the same time there are other idioms of free jazz here, such as polytonality and equality of instruments. But harmolodics appears to be a little more structured than free jazz.

However, given comments by Coleman's sidemen over the years, we always have to keep in mind that harmolodics may be to Ornette Coleman what Saturn was to Sun Ra. :-)

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    It seems at least in part to be an inside joke that got a life of its own. I love the Ulmer quote, just as its getting somewhat tangible: "I don’t want to get into it because it would take all day to discuss those five chords." – Meaningful Username May 30 '14 at 20:25

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