The Lydian Minor Family: Neetimati, Dharmavati and Simhendramadhyamam

Dharmavati and Neetimati have come up a couple of times in my practice so I thought it was time to look more closely at them. I'm especially interested in learning to hear the differences between them as both can be thought of as "Lydian minor" sounds that seem initially very similar. When I dug into it a bit more deeply, I found a third member of the same family, and then of course a bunch more.

This year I secretly released four albums

I didn't tell anyone about them. Here's what I was up to and how you can hear them if you'd like to.

All-Trichord Hexachords

This is a continuation from an earlier post that looked at All Interval Tetrachords. Here we look at some recipes for building their bigger siblings, the All Trichord Hexachords, on the fly and some ideas for using them.

Some Double Harmonic Chords and "Boxes"

The Double Harmonic scale can be thought of as a major scale with flattened second and sixth notes. Whereas Harmonic Minor contains the distinctive sequence semitone-minor third-semitone, Harmonic Major is made from two copies of the same sequence. Hence, I presume, "double" harmonic.

Have You Met Miss Jones?

I'm not a jazz musician but I've spent my whole adult life listening to it and have done lots of jazz-adjacent music and occasionally dabbled in bit of capital-J Jazz. I'm thinking a lot about what "repertoire" means in my current practice and although it surely doesn't mean a list of Great American Songbook tunes I might still be able to learn from the way I've interacted with those in the past. (I promise there are Actual Ideas included alongside the navel-gazing.)

Jivari, Sawari, Rustle Noise

This week I started a half-serious project to bring my first guitar -- a cheap Kay acoustic from the 1980s -- back to life. I knew it wasn't going to be a "normal" guitar, since it was never good at being one of those and decades of poor storage have left it warped beyond reasonable repair. If I wanted an acoustic guitar, I'd be much better off dropping £100 on a Chinese one on eBay. I pulled the frets out a few years ago in an attempt to make something vaguely oud-like but that didn't work at all, and since then it's been moping around my studio getting in the way.

The Wonderful Lulu Chord

The Lulu Chord is what I call a chord formed by playing a perfect fifth with a perfect fourth nestled inside it: for example, C-C#-F#-G. The outer notes, C-G are the fifth and the inner ones, C#-F#, are the fourth. This chord is non-diatonic and, as far as I know, unknown in tonal music. But it was very popular with the Second Viennese School and is a good thing to get a handle on if you're looking for some modernist vocabulary.

Lydian #9 on the Coltrane Cycle

I've been reconnecting with guitar lately and for the last few days I've gravitated towards a particular variation on the Coltrane Cycle idea that I'm enjoying. It starts with a mode of Harmonic Minor and varies it by sliding around in major thirds. Nothing groundbreaking here but it's what's in my head at the moment.

All-Interval Tetrachords

I was told something today that surprised me and sent me scurrying off to try it: Any non-overlapping combination of a minor third interval and a tritone interval contains all the possible intervals. Such chords are known as all-interval tetrachords (AITs). I've heard of them for years but never saw how to use them; as usual, it was just a matter of someone showing me the "right" way (for me) to look at them.

A Summary of Some Seventh Chord Vocabulary

Recently I've been returning to early 20th century piano music. The stuff I like often features elements from tonal harmony (such as triad-based chords) combined in non-functional ways. These are also easy to think about and find when improvising. This post started off being about playing seventh chords separated by a semitone but ended up summarizing the wider context of this in my own music.