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T = Tonic

Negative Harmony
G= Generator Functional Tonal Polarity Concepts by Steve Coleman/Ernst Levy
Transcribed by Marco Fiorini

C Major scale Negative G Major scale


G-T G T
4 3
&4 b b b
4
1 T 2 T 3 ST 4 T 5 T 6 T 7 ST 8 1 T 2 T 3 ST 4 T 5 T 6 T 7 ST 8

The concepts proposed here belong to a Functional Tonal Polarity Theory. It's fundamental to
understand the value every note has within the considered scale and tonality.
Let's take a C Major scale, this scale has an interval structure of T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST.
It's also important to notice the relevance of the perfect fth interval C-G, called the "spine" of tonality.
Our ear, infact, will perceive as Tonic the note at the bottom of this interval, in this case C.
With these concepts in mind, the relative Negative scale of C Major will be the one maintaining the same
aspects of Functional Polarity, the same interval structure and the same perfect fth interval C-G.
That leads us to the so called Negative G Major scale, a mirror negative reection of the C Major scale
(notice how this scale descends, in contrapposition to the ascending positive scale).
Let's now introduce the concept of Generator Tone, meaning the tone from which the interval structure
T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST starts. While in the positive world this tone coincides with the Tonic C, in the negative
world the Generator is G (that's why the scale is called Negative G) and the Tonic is always a fth below
that.
The Tonic of this new scale is again C and that's why is wrong to call the scale G Phrygian or Eb Major;
in doing so you would lose the Functional Polarity of the tones in relation to their degree (the numbers
below every note in both scales)
For instance, the Gravity or Functional Polarity that tends to attract the tone B towards C in the
ascending C Major scale is the same as the one leading Ab to G in the descending Negative G Major
scale; they both represent degree 7.

The rst practical application of this theory is to learn to mirror a well known melody, as Happy
Birthday.
First we want to dene the key (C Major) and write down a numerical pattern reference of the degrees of
the melody:

556517-556521-5553176-443121
(underlined numbers refers to an octave higher)

Now we can move to the Negative G Major scale and play the melody related to these degrees, keeping in
mind that what in the positive world is ascending becomes descending in the negative one, and viceversa.
Our new melody will start on the fth degree of the Negative G Major scale ad will have a descending
aspect, contrary to the relative positive melody.

Marco Fiorini 2017


marco.orini.1991@gmail.com