Generic Modality Compression

I found this topic in Mick Goodrick and Tim Miller book
but I do not have this book and I don’t know what’s all about.

On one video from YT someone talked about a seven-note scale
from which we eliminate tonic and we get two triads…who understands this method?
How to use it in practice?

I honestly feel awkward talking to a poop emoji on top of a symbolic pyramid.

The book explores all the possibilities of 3-note pairs in the absence of root notes. I think you should buy Goodrick and Miller’s book! There are no magic scales, just Goodrick’s exploration.

1 Like

This is all stinking stool,symbol of illuminashit :slight_smile:

1 Like

I bought the book when it came out. I found it very hard to understand. There is an explanation in the back but, even then, I couldn’t get my head around it.

I was a member of Tim’s site a few years back but none of the lessons were about GMC sadly :frowning:

1 Like

I was reviewing it last night. I think it has value in bounding coverage and introduction of relatively unusual structures, and there is an elegance to it, but yeah, it’s not the easiest thing to take in. I’d say the etudes over progressions have the most value for me over time. Not something I can just share on the thread, nor would I want to. Goodrick’s gotta be able to eat.

@nasierszyca it’s not just triads. Clusters, seventh chords w/no 5th, open and closed voicings…

Interesting brand?

It’s a US based site, and you are asking for information about others’ work… I’m no idolator of nationalist symbols, but surely it’s not helping your cause? :slight_smile:

Similar to explorations of triad pairs, but bounded by chordscale of the moment and expanded beyond triad shapes… One could derive a good chunk of the volume with what’s mentioned here, but one would miss out on supporting play-alongs, etc.

As @aliendough alludes, not a book for the casual reader. For the advanced DIY’er or well-guided intermediate I’d say?

1 Like

I would say it’s definitely for the advanced player, someone with a really, really strong understanding of theory. I thought I had a grasp on theory but this book’s concepts made me think twice. My sight reading is slow and I think if there was tab it would have made the book way easier but I guess that Mick Goodrick wants people to experiment with their own fingerings.

1 Like

Yeah, the reason I mention intermediate at all is that he kind of came up with the concept as part of his teaching methods, with the assumption of a teacher well versed in advanced concepts. For example, anyone that knows an Em triad shape and an F triad shape could experiment with playing over Dm7 alternating between the two, without necessarily knowing the “whys.”

It’s hard to teach, “Oh yeah, lets learn cluster voicings,” in a meaningful way. But, understanding that there is a corresponding counterpart to every structure presented in GMC (the other member of the pair, composed of the other three remaining notes), one may get two-for-one learning in without the weight of an open-ended bewildering topic. It’s a finite set of elements to play with and explore. I have more appreciation for it now than I did six years ago.

I think Goodrick doesn’t want to complicate things in omitting tab, it just is aimed at folks that wil be practicing in 12-keys, to suit whatever context.

Despite what I’ve said and despite what the Berklee folks say on the jacket, most would absolutely say advanced. :slight_smile:

On a related note, here is Rick Beato talking about open voiced triads, a definite pre-requisite for understanding…

From his forum in 2013…

The best place to start with “Creative Chordal Harmony for Guitar” is page 87-94. This is the “Concepts and Origins” chapter and Mick explains the entire concept from the ground up. We took this concept and created reference sheets for all of the chords in a popular jazz standard. The first ten are in close voicings, and the second group of ten are spread voicings. (There are three sets of pairs in each reference measure.) After this, we composed etudes. Each measure of each etude has one of the pairs that was chosen from the reference sheets.
I believe the best way to use the book is to listen to the CD, choose an etude that you like the sound of, and learn it. Play it along with the recording until it is fluent. After this, take what you have learned and apply it to
other tunes.


This sounds A LOT like Allan Holdsworth’s music, both harmonically and rhythmically.

1 Like

Certainly does now that I think about it! Besides Goodrick and Miller being aware of the man’s style, kind of makes sense as Holdsworth thought in terms of families of notes, and his voicings were derived from the same.

Thanks to this topic I got interested in the book and ordered it yesterday. Hope it arrives soon and we’ll see how it affects my self-esteem (I currently consider myself as a man whose knowledge of music theory is quite good) :slight_smile:

1 Like

I found GMC to a be a fascinating concept. I’ve been using it for many years-since I got the book-both for myself and in my teaching. It’s not something one gets in one sitting, should be digested slowly. Myself I have not yet started working with nor the clusters neither the quatrals in a regular fashion! But, just dealing with the triads is so much fun and gives so rich harmonic results-and triads is something everyone knows, right? It’s just a different angle in how to use them. And this is why I consider it to be very suitable method-provided it’s taken slowly-to introduce extended modal harmony to non jazz players.


Could you maybe explain it in simple terms? Are there any diagrams you use to explain it?

Sure. I will use only the triads to demonstrate, for the sake of simplicity.

For any given 7 note mode, if you leave out the root you’re left with 6 notes. Those 6 notes can be grouped in 2 groups of 3 notes each. Since we’re only discussing triads, each of those groups will be a triad. For any given mode, these triads are built on the second and third degree of the mode. Here’s an example:
Mode: C Lydian
Remaining notes after leaving out the root: D E F# G A B
Triads on the second and third degree of C Lydian are: Dmaj (D F# A) and Em(E G B)
So, the idea is, when you play the two triads in succession over the root(played, say, by the bass) you get the full modality of the specific chord-in this case C Lydian. Try it and you will see it creates a certain kind of motion and a very appealing richness of sound.
Now, you can apply the concept over a chord progression. First step is to assign a mode to each chord. Next, you look for the triads built on the second and third degree of each. Here’s a simple example:
The progression: G7-Cmaj7, a simple v-i.
Scales assigned: for G7, G Lydian b7. For Cmaj7, C Lydian.
Triads for G Lydian b7: A maj and B dim
Triads for C Lydian: D maj and E min

So, what you do is, comp over each chord using the corresponding triads in succession.

Just to wrap it up, the 3note structures that give the 6 notes of any mode, minus the root, can be of other kind, not just triads. Namely, 7th chords with no 3rd, 7th chords with no 5th, quatral chords and clusters. The book goes in great depth with all of them, both in closed and open position. But, like I said, one needs to take it slowly. I mean, the closed triads by themselves are so much fun-and not too hard.


Thank you so much.

So, in any progression, a chord has it’s own scale from which the triads come from?


Yes, you have to assign a mode to each chord for GMC to work. That’s the case even if the modes come from the same parent scale. Say, in the case of a Dm7-G7-Cmaj7, (ii-v-i in C) you could have D Dorian-G Mixolydian-C Ionian-all coming from C major scale, still you have to think in those terms in order for the concept to work.

1 Like

Thanks again. If I think of anything I’ll give you a shout. You have explained it to me more clear than the book did!

1 Like

Glad some lightbulbs went on for you, @aliendough. Wonderful when a key piece of information falls into place. Let the explorations commence! :slight_smile:

1 Like