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Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

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Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

Postby stubbsonic » Wed May 10, 2017 10:16 am

After watching Jacob Collier's quick interview with its very brief and vague description of negative harmony, it occurred to me that DP's transpose note-mapping system could be used to interesting effect to develop interesting alternative harmonic content.

If I understand it correctly, the idea is that within a key center, every note above a "center pitch" has a mirror note the same distance below that center pitch with equal "gravity". So you could replace each note with its mirror reflection below that center point and have the same amount of tension but with a different quality. The results are pretty pleasing.

One thing that kind of struck me as odd was that the "center" over which notes were flipped was the midpoint between the tonic and the dominant note (halfway between b3 and 3). The obvious question to me was why not just call the tonic the center? Perhaps that has already been discussed. This concept is very new to me. I guess one advantage is with a non-note center, then every note has a replacement. With a tonic center, the tonic note itself is never replaced and has no negative.

If the tonic is one center and the dominant is another center, then the mid-point between them is yet another center-- one could experiment with what results these produce and pick a fave.

Obviously, these kinds of abstract "contraptions" are just ways to deconstruct and reconstruct music. This one does seem to create something oddly satisfying.

Any thoughts?
Last edited by stubbsonic on Thu May 11, 2017 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

Postby stubbsonic » Thu May 11, 2017 6:56 am

The Invert Pitch command could be useful for this type of re-harmonization. However, with this specific "negative harmony", you don't have a "center pitch"which is required by the Invert Pitch process. Rather, you have a center that is at the half-point between two semitones. Think of the gap between two notes as the center.

So if you are in the key of Db, the center point is halfway between Db & Ab, which is between F & Fb (E). So going outward from there:

F -> E
F# -> Eb
G -> D
Ab -> C#
A -> C
etc.

So Invert Pitch won't work for this version of Negative Harmony. However, Transpose with a custom map will work. In creating the "Negative Harmony" map, rather then sending notes to literal inversions of a single center (going ever outward), little octave corrections could be employed so that the furthest any note would move would be a tritone.

And rather then setting up a separate map for 12 possible "between key" centers, a person could shift the tracks pre and post remapping so that only one remap is needed. If you made a Key of X major "negative harmony" remap, you could take any piece and drag it to the key of X first, then remap, then drag it the same amount back to your original key.

While we're on this topic, a person could create a few different kinds of re-maps like this with note-for-note substitutions based on some other kinds of patterns and use it as a harmonic dice roll, if you're into that sort of thing.
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Re: Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

Postby nk_e » Fri May 12, 2017 4:27 am

Is there a link to the original discussion/presentation by this guy? Thx.

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Re: Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

Postby stubbsonic » Fri May 12, 2017 7:38 am

nk_e wrote:Is there a link to the original discussion/presentation by this guy? Thx.


First, you can watch this. He touches on some complicated topics in a very brief way, but it is entertaining just to hear how his mind works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnBr070vcNE

Next, just go and watch some of Jacob's videos. Fascinating Rhythm is fun. They are all quite good.

After that, you can see this one which explains it a little more clearly:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWKiOyMohkY

Here, Jacob goes into some more difficult explanations. He's not very good at dumbing anything down. But it is interesting, just the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2nUoq3AqjA

The choice of putting the center of gravity between b3 and 3 seems to do what it is supposed to. The other feature of the chords containing similar intervalic tension seems important. However, the idea of imposing other centers also seems intriguing since it may do something akin to "Negative Harmonic Modes". I'll leave there because I'm way out of my depth.
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Re: Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

Postby nk_e » Fri May 12, 2017 8:04 am

Thank you!

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Re: Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

Postby terrybritton » Fri May 12, 2017 11:53 am

This is fantastic stuff, stubbsonic!

I especially enjoyed the things he said at the end of the last video you posted above. They got to the "heart" of the subject of music making rather well, I thought.

His philosophy of "light" and "dark" directions is interesting. Nice to see he can articulate it so well to others.

Kyle's explanation of negative harmony was well done also in the second video you posted. I'd been messing with this kind of thing for years, but never gave it much thought as to its theoretical basis and where that might take me even deeper.

I'm watching more videos on this stuff - thanks for getting me started and wetting my appetite!

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Re: Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

Postby stubbsonic » Fri May 12, 2017 12:22 pm

terrybritton wrote:
I especially enjoyed the things he said at the end of the last video you posted above. They got to the "heart" of the subject of music making rather well, I thought.

His philosophy of "light" and "dark" directions is interesting. Nice to see he can articulate it so well to others.

Terry


Same here. This has sparked new interest. I rather like the idea of taking existing harmony, running it through a process and generating some different but still useful sounds. This isn't a world I've tinkered with, so now I want to mess with it.
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Re: Negative Harmony: concept & application in DP

Postby stubbsonic » Thu May 18, 2017 8:23 am

Here's a feature request that MOTU would probably never do, but it would arguably be pretty easy:

For their PITCH INVERT process, where they offer the center pitch they could essentially add a "note-pair" center option. So when choosing a center, it could go
C
C/C#
C#
C#/D
D
D/Eb
Eb

etc.

When a note-pair is chosen, the juncture between those notes is the center. And so in the case of C/C# all C's become C#s and vice versa-- radiating out from there.
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