I recently tried using quartal harmony and mirror harmony (also known as "negative harmony") together. I was looking for some music theory that would inspire me to do something more unusual than I usually do.

I took the C major scale, harmonized each scale degree diatonically in 4ths, and then mirrored it. If I may, the end result sounds very jazzy (though I have no idea what jazz is).

Here is the scale, harmonized and then mirrored. I acquired the chord names using software.

Mirror Harmony Quartal C Major

Two notes about notation: in the chord names, the "s" stands for suspended and the "M" stands for major, as in D♭Maj7♭5sus. The "p" and "a" between notes in the harmonizations stand for perfect fourth and augmented fourth, respectively.

Is my resultant chord progression correct? Is this the correct way to harmonize a C major scale with quartal voicings and then apply the mirror harmony?

I suspect there is an error because the final progression has two pairs of chords with the same root notes, D♭ and G♭. That seems strange to me. Could anyone point out if I made a mistake? I am by no means a music theory buff, nor do I have musical talent.

  • Hi Daley and welcome to the site. As of right now, it's very unclear what you are asking so the question is being put on hold. If you just want to know what quartal chords can be built on a minor scale you can ask that, but please make it clear.
    – Dom
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 20:05
  • Very sorry Dom. I suppose my question might be put "Is my resultant Chord Progression correct for a Quartal Harmony C scale to which "Mirror" or "Negative" Harmony has been applied." The progression ends up having two pairs of chords with the same root notes, Db, and Gb, and that seemed strange to me. I thought I would ask if anyone might point out if I made some mistake.
    – user47327
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 20:42
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's specific nature is unlikely to be helpful to future readers.
    – Richard
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 19:24
  • @Richard, is "too specific" a reason to close a question?
    – jdjazz
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 19:29
  • @jdjazz Perhaps not, which is why it's great that the closing system here is democratic. My logic was this question's similarity to "Questions about transcribing or finding a particular song, including identifying chords, notes, key and time signatures, or similar elements, are off-topic since they are rarely useful to future readers." I have no problem if others disagree with me!
    – Richard
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


You are starting with:
        quartal voicings that ascend up the C major scale

The result you are looking for is:
        quartal voicings that descend down the C phrygian scale

Your flaw is that you've continually changed the "reflection point." Here's the process to follow. Your error is in step 6.

  1. Start with the 1st degree of the C major scale.
  2. Build a quartal chord off that scale degree: C-F-B (ascending).
  3. Construct a mirror chord, using C as the reflection point: C-G-D♭ (descending).
  4. Move on to the 2nd scale degree and repeat.
  5. Build a quartal chord off the 2nd scale degree: D-G-C (ascending).
  6. Construct a mirror chord, again using C as the reflection point: B♭-F-C.

But when you performed step 6, you used D as the reflection point instead of keeping C the reflection point. If we were to follow your method, then every note would have multiple different "reflections" depending on which chord it's in. This inconsistency strikes me as incorrect.

I believe the correct approach is to use the note C as the reflection point for every quartal chord. This way, every note in the C major scale has a single "reflection." Here are those reflections:

        CC (both are 0 semitones from C)
        DB♭ (both are 2 semitones from C)
        EA♭ (both are 4 semitones from C)
        FG (both are 5 semitones from C)
        GF (both are 7 semitones from C)
        AE♭ (both are 9 semitones from C)
        BD♭ (both are 11 semitones from C)

Together, these mirrored notes form a descending C phrygian scale. Here's why that's important: every note in the C major scale has a single reflection in the C phrygian scale. If you start with ascending stack fourths in the C major scale, your mirror/output is just descending stacked fourths in the C phrygian scale.

As a result, the mirror you're looking for is simply quartal voicings descending down the C phrygian scale:

        C-F-B (ascending) → C-G-D♭ (descending)
        D-G-C (ascending) → B♭-F-C (descending)
        E-A-D (ascending) → A♭-E♭-B♭ (descending)
        F-B-E (ascending) → G-D♭-A♭ (descending)
        G-C-F (ascending) → F-C-G (descending)
        A-D-G (ascending) → E♭-B♭-F (descending)
        B-E-A (ascending) → D♭-A♭-E♭ (descending)

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