Jody Nagel
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Example 15
The 144 Chromatic Modal Intervals of "C" Tonality
by Jody Nagel
February 25, 2001
 
 
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Chromatic Modal Scale
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Chromatic Modal Scale
Example 15
These intervals are the "coloring" agents of tonality, otherwise known collectively as "modality." These intervals may be used to support the current tonality. The Chromatic Modal Scale does not include "raised scale degrees" used for the purpose of tonicizing some other tonality. Furthermore, it never includes "Flat-5" or "Flat-1," as these scale alterations would defy the essential 7-plus-5-semitone tonality-orienting asymmetry of the "Do-Sol" perfect fifth. The flat-5 scale degree in the Locrian Mode, for example, contributes towards the atonal quality (or "tonality-by assertion", rather than by hierarchical relationship) inherent in that mode. "Tonality by assertion" requires the continued sounding of the tonic pitch for "tonality" to be sensed. If the Locrian tonic pitch is momentarily displaced up a minor second, the sense of Locrian tonality vanishes almost at once. Tonality by "hierarchical relationship" allows the tonic to be displaced for a time without the ear losing its sense of which pitch is "Do."
 
All 144 chromatic modal intervals may be transposed and used as secondary intervals to tonicize (briefly or not-so-briefly) some other tonality. Since "tonicization" can be viewed from the point-of-view of the "other" key, raised scale degrees are not, in and of themselves (properly speaking), additional modal tones, but, rather, should be viewed as, say, a scale-degree-Major-7 relative to the other key. Transposition of the entire system (i.e., tonicization, modulation, etc.) should not be confused with Modal Alteration. In many instances, musical context alone determines whether a pitch is being used as a Primary Modal Degree or a Secondary Modal Degree. For example, In a C-tonality the pitch E-natural probably signifies a bright Scale-Degree-Major-3 above tonic; however, if C-minor is the prevailing modality, the use of an E-natural may actually signify a much more intense sounding Scale-Degree-Major-7 relative to the prevailing subdominant key. Likewise, a "Lydian" raised-4th scale degree, should not be confused with a tonicizing secondary leading-tone in a "V-of-V" chord. It is worth noting that in "atonal" music there are only 12 transpositions of one "shade" only of each of the 12 intervals, rather than the 12 different tonal shades. Without a tonic association, the 144 interval-types are reduced to merely 12 interval-types, and atonal music, far from being a richer extension of the tonal system, turns out to be a degenerate system with fewer intervalic colorations available.
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Chromatic Modal Scale
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Chromatic Modal Scale
 

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