ex “A Crow Calling” – intro and A section


The following examples shows section B, which is again strictly created with B♭M3. In bars 29–32, the bass plays the descending B♭ whole-tone scale that is implied in B♭M3. From bar 33 on, both the cluster harmonies as well as the (contrapuntal) melody parts do not leave the notes of B♭M3.

ex “A Crow Calling”– B section

As the following example shows, the bass line in section A is continued throughout the solo section D. It is based on the same bass line as section A, serving as the basis for the chord changes that are derived from BM3. The chord symbols merely serve as suggestions for the accompaniment of the soloists. The guitarist or pianist is free to change the chord constructions, as long as he stays with the notes of the mode. Despite suggested “voice-leading” operations such as the top lines in bars 83–90 and in bars 91–98, the chords do not intend to express any functional harmonic relations. They rather represent a choice of local harmonic colors implied in B♭M3. However, amidst these quite random harmonies, there is still a sense of unity due to the characteristic melodic quality of Messiaen’s third mode.

ex “Dicke Luft”: tenor saxophone solo


In contrast with all examples so far, in “Dicke Luft” the application of the Messiaen mode is only used in a restricted part of the improvised section, rather than being a concept for the piece as a whole. As an addition to Van der Werf’s embellishments of F♯M3 on top of a complex rhythmic and harmonic structure, my solo shows an application of M2 in a more quiet harmonic environment. The static E pedal point played by the rhythm section allows me the freedom to intuitively whirl around the exact content of EM2, switching between embellishing the basic notes EM2, its implied E7 chord with ad libitum alterations, and, as a result of intuitively added notes, Emaj7.

5.4.4 “Another Hero’s Journey”


“Another Hero’s Journey” is written for the same line-up as “Sparrows” (section 5.4.2): tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, bass-guitar, and drums. It is largely based upon mode EM3 and includes a riff that is constructed with stacked “skip 2 notes” embellishments of the mode. The following example intends to show the resulting parallel harmonies, serving as a background to (and as an interlude between) the solos. The upper line shows the three-part harmonies as played by the horns, the lower one the tritone d–g, played by the rhythm section. In contrast with the application of M3 in “A Crow Calling” (section 5.4.1) emphasizing the minor tonal colors inside this mode, in “Another Hero’s Journey” I was inspired by its implied intervals of major thirds (4), perfect fourths (5), augmented fourths (6), and perfect fifths (7). Apart from the encircled notes d and f, all pitches belong to EM3.

ex “A Crow Calling” section D chords


The next example shows the first half of the tenor saxophone solo in an unpublished recording of "A Crow Calling" (2015). The encircled notes are notes outside BbM3.

The solo as a whole follows the baseline that is shown in example It meanders through the B♭M3 mode intertwining its various implied tonal colors. For instance in bar 7, the presence of the note d evokes a B♭ major tonality, changing into B♭m7 by the note d in bar 8. Then in bars 9–11, the presence of the notes f, f , and a, evokes the tonal color of B♭ harmonic minor.

In bars 24–32, B♭M3 is played continuously. First, in bars 24–25, the mode is exposed in its basic form, followed in bars 26–32 by a lyrical passage with larger intervals, never leaving the mode.

Bars 33–40 contain a sequence of four fragments from the mode. Each of these ends with two descending notes from the mode, creating a tension that quasi resolves to the interlude in section C, which starts in bar 41. From bar 50 on, minor and major third and perfect fourth intervals with the top note f are played, ascending to bar 56 that contains a short fragment of a “skip 1 note” embellishment.


 “A Crow Calling” – tenor saxophone solo second fragment



“A Crow Calling” displays the characteristic melodic quality of B♭M3 in various ways. Both in the composed parts and in the tenor saxophone solo, the ambiguous colors of the three implied parallel tonalities, B, D, and F♯, are found in a variety of mode embellishments. Its basic structure consists of the embellishments “skip 4 notes”, and “skip 5 notes.” The latter, added with the embellishment “skip 1 note” are found in the tenor saxophone solo, in which the ambiguous colors of the implied tonalities are illustrated as well.

The dyads in the melody and the accompanying chords for the guitarist are exclusively constructed with notes from the mode. Although these pre-stated harmonies serve well to emphasize the characteristics of BM3, they should be considered as suggestions rather than obligatory chord changes. The guitarist however is not supposed to leave the notes from the mode while constructing his chord variations.

As I mentioned in my resume at the end of section 5.3.4, the tonal colors of Messiaen’s modes can be highlighted effectively by shaping them as mode embellishments. With “A Crow Calling” I want to highlight these particularly melodic operations, demonstrating that, maybe even more than their implied harmonic structures, these embellishments serve remarkably well to emphasize the characteristic sound of M3.

The transcribed fragment of my tenor saxophone solo proves that the three symmetric minor/major tonal centers intertwined with the shape of the mode are a fruitful source for melodic improvisation. The solo is triggered by the embellishments in the bass lines, either by copying them or by playing other, contrasting interval embellishments, without leaving the mode.




Another Hero’s Journey”: background to improvisations


This short fragment shows the remarkable sounds resulting from creating a parallel harmony with M3. Although the individual voices “only” follow the genuine order of EM3, the resulting vertical structures display interesting and unconventional harmonies. Translating these three-part harmonies into traditional chord terminology appears problematic, but, just like in examples and, trichord notation of the consisting intervals serves as a useful option.


Referring meaningfully to these abstract harmonies, or to the conventional chords and scales implied in Messiaen’s modes, the soloist has to be informed about their differences and similarities. For instance, M1 is implied in M3 and M6; M4 is implied in M5 and M7. Other relations between the modes have to do with their “steering” intervals. This term, introduced in chapter 4 to identify the intervals between the trichords in the Tone Clock hours, I use here to define the intervals between the symmetric segments of the modes. Mostly present is the augmented fourth. With the exception of M3, all modes can be divided into two symmetric segments at a tritone distance. Consequently they can all be played as mode embellishments displaying successions of equal augmented fourth intervals. Divisions of M1 and M3 can result into successions of equal intervals of major thirds (or their inversions: augmented fifths). Divisions of M2 can result in successions of equal intervals of minor thirds. In sub-chapter 5.2 the operations leading to these embellishments are explained in detail (see also the summary in section 5.5.8).

In all works examined in this subchapter, the discrete melodic characteristics of the modes prevail over the chords that could be constructed with them. Harmonies so far occurred as a result of melodic operations: mode embellishments, linear counterpoint, vertically stacking (fragments of) modes, and assigning tonal centers to (alternative) pivot notes.

Just as the applications of the Tone Clock hours, Messiaen’s modes have the potential to enrich the jazz musician's skills in improvising beyond functional harmony. However, compared to the twelve-tone techniques discussed in chapter 4, in Messiaen’s modes, references to (ambiguous) tonalities are omnipresent. They can help (composing) improvisers to add a certain “harmonic vagueness” to their music. Liebman (2013) coined this term to define chords in which the third, fifth, or seventh are deliberately absent or ambiguous. This ambiguity can best be demonstrated by mapping the different thirds, fifths, and sevenths occurring in the chords that can be built on the root of CM3. This mode contains both the minor (e) and the major third (e); the diminished (f), the perfect (g), and augmented fifth (g); and the minor (b) and major seventh (b). The resulting variety of chords will be discussed in section 5.5.3.

Although the aim of my research is to look beyond the limitations of functional harmony, harmony plays such an important role in Messiaen’s modes, that the following brief summary of their implied tonalities cannot be omitted.

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The following example shows a mini score of the intro and the A section. In both parts the notes never leave the B♭M3 mode. In section A, the tenor saxophone plays the upper melody, and the guitar the lower. Thus, together with the bass melody, section A contains two contrapuntal melodies that together emphasize the melodic wealth of mode M3.

ex “Sparrows” – theme


Section F in the following example displays an application of parallel harmonies. All horizontal lines are basically constructed by “skip 3 notes” operations (example In other words, in all four melodic lines, augmented fourth intervals are omnipresent. While moving in ascending and descending directions, they all follow the order of B♭M6, starting from different positions in the mode. The vertical intervals that appear as a result of these horizontal operations are marked in between the staffs.

ex “Sparrows” – final section


Because B♭M6 is a combination of the two first tetrachords of the diatonic major scales of B and E, it inspired me to create melodic lines that sound like conventional scale patterns within the limited range of a perfect fourth. These lines are phrased as if they are common diatonic melodies, however without gravitating towards a tonal center. At the same time the augmented-fourth “steering” interval that defines the distance between the two symmetrical segments of the mode is omnipresent, both in the horizontal and vertical structures of the piece. Compared to the wealth of variations and tonal colors that are possible with M3, M6's possibilities are more limited. But in this composition, the blunt and dissonant presence of the augmented fourth’s sound works well in connection with the percussive elements in this piece.

5.4.3 “Dicke Luft”

As a third example of my personal application of a Messiaen mode, I will discuss the superimposition of EM2 in a part of my tenor saxophone solo on Dicke Luft,” as played with my septet on the CD The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (1999). The next example shows an abstract of the theme, based on a conventional twelve-bar blues in Am. There are no references to any M2 mode in this theme.


“A Crow Calling” – tenor saxophone solo first fragment

The "skip 1 note" embellishment in bar 56 is continued in bars 57–61 of the second solo chorus. The parts within the rectangles mark the “skip 1 note” operations around the symmetric root notes b, d, and f.


5.4 My applications of Messiaen’s modes


5.4.1 “A Crow Calling”

My composition “A Crow Calling” is based on BbM3: b–c–d–d–e–f–f–g–a. The bass melody, shown in the example below, serves as the backbone of the theme and the solo sections. It consists of two mode embellishments. The first, played in bars 9–20 and 25–28, displays the operation “skip 4 notes” (example The second, played in bars 21–24, displays the operation “skip 5 notes” (example

5.4.2 “Sparrows”

In my resume at the end of subchapter 5.3, I concluded that I have found only a few applications of Messiaen’s sixth mode in the discussed works. This is one of the reasons I created a first version of “Sparrows” using BbM6 for a line-up of tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, bass guitar, and drums. In the mini-score of this composition, shown in the next example, only the note d in bars 10 and 18 sounds outside of this mode.

   The trumpet plays the melody, with doublings by the tenor saxophone from bar 12 on. In the lower staff, the bass guitar plays intervals of an augmented fourth, the “steering” interval that divides M6 in two symmetric parts. Between the bass line and the contrapuntal trombone line, a variety of intervals between a major second and a major seventh results.This variety obscures the austere symmetric structure of M6. In bars 5–12, I have marked these intervals in the lower staff. Intervals larger than an octave are marked according to their root position within the octave.

ex “Sparrows” – parallel harmonies

Section H contains repetitive riffs, mostly played in unison. In the extracted score below the unison passages are written in small notes. The encircled notes are notes outside of BbM5.

In bars 1–4 the upper and lower parts are played in rhythmic counterpoint; from bar 5 on, all instruments play the same rhythm. The quasi-pentatonic line in bar 1 is harmonized in augmented fourths, the lower staff in alternating minor and major seventh intervals. From bar 17 on, the four instruments display three- and four-part cluster harmonies. I have defined these clusters by trichord and tetrachord notations of their prime forms, written above the upper staff. These harmonies are again created without leaving the notes of the mode.

ex “Dicke Luft”: theme


My solo consists of three choruses on the minor blues in Am. After the third chorus, as a reference to the B part of the theme, the E7 chord is extended. The rhythm section embellishes an E pedal, on which I play various superimpositions. The passage below shows how I gradually change from the tonal color of B locrian in bars 1–9 to a long passage using EM2 from bar 29 on. EM2 is already present in bars 3–4, but it becomes obscured by the strong presence of the note c. Bars 9–20 contain a long embellishment of an E7 chord with the alterations b13, b9 and #9. After a short excursion to Emaj7 in bars 21–22, EM2 pops up again in bars 23–25. Then, after an interruption in bars 26–28, starting with a chromatic embellishment of the note e, and ending with the augmented tonal color of E7#5(add f), the fragment ends with a long run in bars 29–41 which, with the exception of the (passing) note a in bar 33, exclusively consists of notes from EM2.



This mode is constructed of two 1+4 trichords at a tritone distance, by which it relates to the fourth hour of the Tone Clock (trichord 1+4). No conventional chords can be found. M5 also relates to the fifth hour (trichord 1+5) of the Tone Clock.

5.5.7 CM7

5.5 Connections between Messiaen’s modes and traditional harmony


This section discusses the traditional chords and scales that can be identified inside Messiaen’s modes. This may seem in contrast with the aim of this research to help the (composing) improviser move beyond the limitations of conventional chord-scale practices, but I think it is not. Just like in diatonic scales, the implied chords are interpretations of harmonies that can be created by grouping the available notes in intervals of thirds and fourths. In the case of Messiaen’s modes, these chords are not extracted from a complete diatonic scale; or, the underlying mode contains more notes that do not all fit the extracted chord. More important, through the absence of a predetermined hierarchy among the notes, these chords have no functional meaning either. As Messiaen remarks, “the composer is free to give predominance to one of the tonalities or to leave the tonal impression unsettled” (Messiaen 1956 I: 58). Transferred to the (composing) improviser addressed in this study, this means that the modes allow the freedom to extract, manipulate, and interpret complete and incomplete chords and scales as long as one does not leave the notes of the mode. Considering the aim of my research, these implied chords and scales could be employed to serve as superimpositions on pre-stated or imaginative chord changes in order to achieve fresh and surprising sounds.


CM1 is constructed with six parallel segments steered by intervals of a major second. It contains a C7#5 as its most comprehensive chord that can be transposed by a major second, a major third, an augmented fourth, an augmented fifth and a minor seventh, “fitting” on every stage of the mode.


In addition to these chords built on the root, the following “adjacent” chords are also possible: Bmmaj7 and Bmaj7. Because M3 is constructed with three segments steered by intervals of a major third, all chords can be transposed by a major third or an augmented fifth interval.

5.5.4 CM4


The following chords can be built on the notes in the first segment of M7: Cm6, Cmmaj7, Cdim, C#maj7(#11), C#7(#11/b13), Dm7, Dmaj7(#11), D7(b9/b10/#11/13), D#mmaj7, D#dim, Fmin7, and F7. All chords can be transposed by augmented fourth intervals, because M7 is constructed of two segments at a tritone distance.

5.5.8 Summary


In the following diagram the characteristics of the seven modes of limited transposition (“MOLT” in ex are summarized. The term “steering interval” in the third column indicates the intervals between the segments within the modes (see subchapter 5.2).



5.5.5 CM5



5.5.6 CM6



CM6 implies the following chords built on the first tetrachord: Cmaj7#5, C7#5, Dm7b5, Ddim7, E7b9/#11/b13, and E9. M6 is constructed of two segments at a tritone distance, so all chords can be transposed up or down an augmented fourth.


The symmetry of the sixth mode – in which M1 (the whole-tone scale) is embedded – sounds clearly in the following line of the six 4+4 trichords. Or in traditional terms: the augmented triads on the first, second, and third degrees of both segments.


Remarkably, by the absence of a major or minor third in CM4 conventional chords can be built only on its second and eighth stages. On the second stage the chords C#maj7#11 and C#7b9 are possible, and on the eighth stage Bm6, and Bdim7. All chords can be transposed by augmented fourths, because CM4 is constructed of two segments steered by a tritone interval. As the following example shows, M4 relates partly to the fifth hour (trichord 1+5) of the Tone Clock (subchapter 4.2, and section 4.7.4).

5.5.1 CM1


The following example shows how three minor, three major seventh, and three dominant seventh chords can be constructed with notes from CM3.


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CM2 embeds the minor chords Cm6, Cm7, Cm7b5, Cdim7, and Dbdim7, as well as the major chords C7, C7b9, C7b10, and C713/b9. The latter chord symbol is commonly used to indicate the C octatonic scale. M2 is constructed with four segments steered by intervals of a minor third so all chords can be transposed by intervals of a minor third, an augmented fourth, and a major sixth.


5.5.3 CM3

5.5.2 CM2


The major and augmented tonalities implied in M3 are expressed in the following patterns.



5.6.6 CM6

Because it is impossible to associate a tonal reference other than a C or F# pedal point to the next two lines, I have identified them by their intervallic structure. Bars 1–2 can also be played in connection with M4 or M5.


The following example displays the implied whole tone scale starting on the note e. The notes in bars 1–2 do not leave the mode. In the pattern in bars 3-4, the notes f and b are added. Thus, the tonal color of the E7alt chord is consolidated without leaving the notes of the actual mode.



5.6.3 CM3


The next example shows eight lines in which the minor and the diminished tonal character of Messiaen’s third mode are emphasized. In bars 15–18, I play the major third as a passing note to the minor third to stress the ambiguous tonal character of M3.



The following patterns can be created with two similar tetrachords: 2+3+2 on the root note c; and 1+5+1 on the g, resulting in an extended G dominant-seventh chord, in addition to the one in bar 8 in the example above.


By taking the notes e and b as pivot notes, triads and dominant seventh chords with altered notes can be found in CM6. They can either be played over those pre-stated chords, or be superimposed over C or F♯ pedal points.


5.6.4 CM4

Due to the absence of a major or minor third in CM4, the following examples highlight the triads and chords on the fifth degree of the tonalities of C and F# implied in the mode. The lines show triad pairs, triads with additions, major seventh chords, and dominant seventh chords.


An alternative approach to CM4 is to emphasize its implied B minor tonality (as an upper structure of Gmaj7). The following example is also discussed in section


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5.6.7 CM7



The ambiguous tonality resulting from the presence of both the major and minor third of the C tonality is well expressed in the next lines, containing embellishments of incomplete dominant seventh chords with the added sharp ninth.

5.6.5 CM5


Since M5 is implied in M4, all lines in the following example can also be played in combination with CM4. The lines in bars 1–3 can also be played in combination with CM6.


5.6.2 CM2


The following melodic patterns show mode variations with successions of the implied major triads, at distances of minor thirds and augmented fourths. The notes marked with an asterisk are chromatic passing notes. I took the freedom to add them to the original notes of the mode in order to create four-note groupings instead of the usual three-note groupings that result from creating triad pairs.

5.6 Generative compendium of melodic patterns

As in subchapter 4.7, I call the following collection of patterns with Messiaen’s modes a “generative compendium,” meaning that the patterns are arranged in such a way that they allow musicians to adapt them to their own taste. The examples are displayed along the individual modes in first transposition, with random variations of shapes and directions. At the start of each section, I comment on characteristic (steering) intervals, the relation to other modes, and on implied harmonic structures. Thus, I intend to suggest possible applications of the actual patterns. Just as with the melodic patterns derived from Tone Clock trichords (subchapter 4.7), this compendium represents a rather subjective choice, displaying my personal adaptation of the characteristic colors of Messiaen’s modes. By combining the concrete patterns and my additional comments on their characters and usages, I intend to motivate and help musicians to use them as a point of departure for their individual applications.

5.6.1 CM1

In the following lines, I have mixed the characteristic intervals of mode CM1: major seconds, major thirds, augmented fourths and fifths, and minor sevenths. This mode refers to the augmented dominant 7th chord. Because M1 is also implied in M3 and M6, the following patterns can also be played in combination with modes CM3 and CM6.



The steering interval of a minor third in this mode is emphasized in the following successions of minor triads at minor third distances.

ex 5.7.1

And what about connections between Messiaen’s modes and the educational publications in chapter 3? Which techniques, discussed in chapter 3, could, possibly be employed to these modes? Concerning the relation with Liebman’s concept of chromatism (subchapter 3.2), operations with Messiaen’s modes can be added to Liebman’s survey of techniques of non-tonal superimpositions on pre-stated or imaginary chords and chord changes. My tenor saxophone solo on “Bohemia After Dark” (Oscar Pettiford)on the unpublished duo recording with pianist Andrea Pozza (Milan, 2015) can serve as an illustration. The embellishments of GM3 that I play in the A-sections of the first three solo chorusses1 show basic examples of the application of Messiaen’s modes, as non-tonal superimpositions over the pre-stated chord changes.

Concerning the connection of Messiaen with Bergonzi’s concept of intervallic melodies (subchapter 3.3), the tables of interval directions (section 3.3.2) can be used as effective tools to construct mode embellishments or mode patterns. However, since all of Messiaen's modes contain fixed interval structures, it is not relevant to connect them to Bergonzi’s quite random construction of intervals successions. The same conclusions can be drawn regarding the interconnection of Bergonzi with the Tone Clock. Conversely, the concepts of Weiskopf’s triad pairs (subchapter 3.5) and Bergonzi’s hexatonics (subchapter 3.6) can be efficiently applied to illustrate the characteristic tonal colors of Messiaen’s modes. For instance, triad pair C#5+D#5 can be played to define the augmented tonal colors inside CM1, CM3, and CM6. The triad pairs Bm+Cm, and C#5+Ebm, can be played to mark the ambiguous tonal colors of CM3. The triad pairs C+F#, and Cm+F#m, can be played over CM2; and the triad pair Db+G can be superimposed on CM4 and CM7.

Finally, O’Gallagher addressed relations between segments of the twelve-tone rows with trichords 1+4 and 1+5 and Messiaen’s modes M4 and M5 (example Example above shows a similar relationship between those rows and M6. Example shows how tetrachords 2+3+2 and 1+5+1 can be considered as twelve-tone segments, in superimposition on CM4.

To summarize the relevance of the combinations of elements from the various techniques discussed in this study, I once again stress that among the characteristics of jazz there is the tendency of (composing) improvisers to cross musical borders in their search for new elements to enrich their current jazz languages. In the context of my research aim to help improvisers extend their practices beyond conventional harmony, combining the techniques discussed separately in this study seems a logical next step to add to its value. During the years of my research, I experienced how combining the elements from the various techniques was an important step after my initial acquaintance with their basic forms, in order to become new “building blocks” of my personal sound.

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5.7 Connections with the Tone Clock and the jazz models

Are there any connections between Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition, the Tone Clock, and the methods of the jazz educators in chapter 3? After all, Schat and Messiaen represent musical worlds that are quite separate from each other, and from those of the jazz educators discussed in chapter 3.

This study so far has shown how elements from compositional techniques used by Schat and Messiaen are brought together in the works of various (composing) improvisers. Thus, it illustrates how crossing borders, drawn by those composers of new music, helps the improvisers to broaden their musical space. The same can be said with regard to the connections with the educational methods in chapter 3. However, employing these methods to enrich one’s artistic palette is more obvious, because most of them result from the practices of actual jazz improvisers.

A systematic comparison between Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition, Schat’s Tone Clock, and the jazz educators’ improvisational techniques is not relevant here, as it would not create any new perspectives on the usage and utility of the separate techniques. However, it is important to stress that jazz easily allows a combining of those techniques, which, in their original state, appear so radically different from one another. Therefore, the remainder of this subchapter will contain short examples of my applications in which interrelations between twelve-tone techniques in the Tone Clock, Messiaen’s modes, and the methods of Liebman, Bergonzi, Weiskopf and O’Gallagher become apparent and productive.

Firstly, I consider the theoretical connections between Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition and the Tone Clock. According to the definition of twelve-tone techniques by Wuorinen (1994) discussed in section 2.2.3 and in subchapter 4.1, both systems are based on pitch successions arranged by interval orderings instead of tonal hierarchies of triads or chords. In both systems, these successions can be divided into a number of symmetrical segments, so-called “content groups” that stand out from the strict intervallic ordering of the basic form of the row.

As a practical example, I consider the relationship between Messiaen’s third mode of limited transposition and the twelfth hour of the Tone Clock. With its nine pitches, mode M3 is only 3 pitches away from being a twelve-tone row. With the twelve-tone techniques discussed in chapter 4, it would be possible to analyze M3 as an incomplete row of the third hour of the Tone Clock, which consists of three 2+1 trichords. The three missing pitches f–a–c represent a 4+4 trichord that would complete the twelve-tone row. In order to obtain a Tone Clock hour with four equal trichords, the twelve-tone row in bar 2 of the following example can be constructed. With its four 4+4 trichords, it represents the twelfth hour of the Tone Clock. This highlights the augmented tonal colors implied in M3 in a clear and effective way. Thus, this example shows how an operation using twelve-tone techniques can be applied alongside the mode embellishments such as the ones in section 5.2.3 in order to emphasize an actual tonal color implied in the mode. 

5.8 Conclusion

The symmetry of Messiaen's modes, their implied tonalities, and their horizontal and vertical applications are potential ingredients that can be taken from Messiaen’s musical language to enrich the (composing) improviser’s artistic palette. Just like the Tone Clock, Messiaen’s modes represent a well-defined collection of tools that can be freely adapted by (composing) improvisers in order to extend their musical vocabulary. Once connected to the musicians’ already existing musical knowledge and practices, these tools can also contribute to their informed intuition. From there on, they gradually turn into skills that can pop up spontaneously during actual improvisations.

The various examples of composed and improvised content discussed in this chapter reveal bits and pieces of the musical vocabulary, created in and through the musical practice of a number of (composing) improvisers including myself. Altogether, these data prove that Messiaen’s modes can serve as tools to operate creatively both outside and alongside functional harmony. It is up to the individual musician to either respect Messiaen’s intended “charm of impossibilities” and the obvious tonal references found in most of his modes, or to bypass these and apply (parts of) them as superimpositions on pre-stated or imaginary chord changes. As such, these operations can be seen as supplements of more conventional (non-)tonal techniques of superimposition.

In the first two chapters of this dissertation, I summarized my personal development as a (composing) improviser during my early years as a performer. More recently, my findings with elements from Peter Schat’s Tone Clock and Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition inspired me to undertake the present study into advanced tools to enrich the skills of (composing) improvisers. During the initial phase of my research into the techniques of these composers of new music and their practical applications in jazz praxis, I realized the contextual relevance of the publications of the jazz models in chapter 3. They provided educational frameworks to make steps beyond the strict borders of tonality, while some of them also contained connections to the serial techniques discussed in chapters 4 and 5. 

My recent musical practice displays a mixture of elements from those jazz models and from the techniques derived from Schat and Messiaen. To express the musical results of my study more concretely, I will in the next chapter conclude with a coda in the form of a number of recent recordings in which the journey I have embarked upon in this study comes to a temporary end.


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