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Scriabin's Mystic Chord

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Aaron, Oct 5, 2004.


  1. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I googled it and all I really found was that it is a fifthless C13#11 voiced in fourths, being derived from lydian dominant. Is that all there really is to it? Was it revolutionary for it's time? Can super-locrian in 6ths be known as Aaron's super chord?

    Was it just the idea of voicing chords in 4ths rather than thirds, seconds, etc.? And lydian dominant worked well for that?
     
  2. Shoka42

    Shoka42

    Jul 19, 2003
    england
    Ok.. Lydian dominant, I get, fifthless I get, but what is C13#11?
     
  3. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    C13#11 is a C dominant 7 chord with tension tones (color tones) 9, 11 (#11 in this case), and 13. when most people see C13, they ignore the 9th and 11th, though. It would be spelled (as a stack of thirds) C E G Bb D F# A - the tones being 1, 3, 5, b7, 9, #11, 13. Apparantly Scriabin put that chord (minus the fifth) as a stack of fourths. So it would be spelled - C F# Bb E A D - 1 #4 b7 3 (in an upper octave, though, so a 10) 13 9 (but in an upper octave - so if there was an interval called a 17th.)

    As far as 7th chords/13th chords/etc. go, I had a prof make a good analogy. A C7 is like chicken, you can spice it up a little bit and throw in some tension tones (9th, 13th, etc.) but you still have chicken, but it is just chicken with pepper or chicken curry. Any dominant chord with a b9,#9, #11, b11, b13, or #13 can be notated as x7alt (for altered.) That pretty much says it's a dominant with some exotic spices.
     
  4. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    What's mystic about it?
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    There's a lot more to Scriabin's mystic vision and his final piece was supposed to be some kind of multi-media extravaganza involving all kinds of stuff besides music, aimed at expanding consciousness etc etc. ...:meh:

    But all we have now is the music.
     
  6. Shoka42

    Shoka42

    Jul 19, 2003
    england
    So if I get this right, it's just a dominant C7 chord, with a few other notes thrown in?
     
  7. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    That's what i'm wondering.
     
  8. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Pretty much, but scriabin had something else going on that i'm trying to figure out. Most western music follows tertian harmony which means that our harmonies are based off of stacks of thirds, scriabin's mystic chord is a stack of fourths.

    Any recommended scriabin listenings?
     
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    There's a good double CD set with all his 3 Symphones and the Poeme de l'Extase - at mid price on Decca, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy - very good introduction! :)
     
  10. Shoka42

    Shoka42

    Jul 19, 2003
    england
    Searched for this guy on Google, here's his website:

    http://www.scriabinsociety.com/

    Quite interesting, and it has all his works listed I think... i'm gonna have to check this guy out!

    Good luck figuring it out Aaron!
     
  11. sirladdie

    sirladdie

    Jan 18, 2012
    Great great forum on Scriabin. It's also in his melody, change of keys. They say that Sriabinists generally prefer his even numbered OR odd numbered works. I love Sonata No. 3 and 4 and am just starting to look through it, as a classical pianist/performer. Besides Horowitz, Ruth Laredo, now deceased, specialized in Scriabin and was an impeccable concert artist and interpreted the music divinely. Scriabing was convinec that ancient people of India & Greece had supernatural powers. We allowed them to atrophy, our forgotten faculties. He attempts to bring you to the astral plane where Light turns into melody, melody turns into math, colors were lights and melodies, movement was number. His mystical method was to incorporate the world inside himself & to regard teh OUTSIDE as symbols of time and space, weak reflections of the stronger, inner world of cosmic will and feelings. Sonata No. 3 culminates romanticism and it is a series of soul states, the soul suffering & tormented, diverted into transient pleasures, finding a sea of feeling and trimphing over its agonies. Fourth is direction he ultimately followed, concepts of light and flight with a poem he wrote to accompany the music, a faint blue shimmering shining star in the distance gradually coming closer until it turns into a blazing binding sun. The "i" of the poem incorporates this sun by swallowing it and becomes himslef, a "sea of Light." All this taken from back of Ruth Laredo's RECORD Album, where here face is inflamed by the light of a burning bush, looks like. Studied some jazz, so I realllllllly enjoyed reading all the comments above. I see it more as a stack of 4ths. Wikipedia shows it, but they are protesting right now. This is from piano history:the mystic chord contains elements of both—to clarify, a whole tone scale is just that, a scale that contains no semi-tones. An octatonic scale is generated by alternating whole tones and semitones (C-C#-D-E-F#-G-A-A#, and C-D-D#-F-F#-G#-A-B). When arranged horizontally, the mystic chord has, as stated before, elements of both. Scriabin never slavishly adheres to either a whole-tone or octatonic scale in his late works; but manipulates the octatonic scale by adding a whole-tone scale with it. As a result, the separation between ‘harmony’ and ‘melody’ becomes extremely blurred, as these two elements begin to merge and become interchangeable. Scriabin was fond of saying that “melody is harmony unfurled”, and I would also say that the corollary to that axiom is also true in the late works.
     
  12. sirladdie

    sirladdie

    Jan 18, 2012
    Just Found This: Good one too! The Mystic chord or Prometheus chord is a complex, six-note quartal chord, scale, or pitch collection which served loosely as the harmonic and melodic basis of some of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin's later pieces (as he rarely ever used the chord directly). The chord is made up of the pitches C, F♯, B♭, E, A, D and is generally interpreted as being made up of an augmented fourth, diminished fourth, augmented fourth, and two perfect fourths. The chord is featured most prominently in Scriabin's orchestral tone poem Prometheus: The Poem of Fire.
    The term "Mystic chord" was first used by Arthur Eaglefied Hull in 1916 but Scriabin himself called it the akkord plemory or "chord of the plemora", which "was designed to afford instant apprehension of — that is, to reveal — what was in essence beyond the mind of man to conceptualize. Its preternatural stillness was a gnostic intimation of a hidden otherness."
    While the chord is famous and almost synonymous with Scriabin's name, it actually rarely appears in Scriabin's music; early or late. Many of Scriabin's late pieces were actually derived from the octatonic scale rather than the mystic chord.
     
  13. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Then there's The Chord:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. sammyp

    sammyp

    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    Quartal harmony has been around for a while ....voicing in 4ths....my classical history is way rusty but i beleive French impressionist composers like Debussy made use of it and then the jazzers in the 60s.....it usually comes more out of major scale harmonized in 4ths then using a Dorian tonic ....