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The 'Tone Circle' John Coltrane Drew To Illustrate How He Created His Compositions

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Fans are quick to say an artist or musician is a "genius" when they create on a higher level than the rest, but John Coltrane proved he was a genius with both his playing and his ability to put the workings of his incredible mind down on paper.

This hand-drawn diagram, known as the Tone Circle, is Coltrane's take on the circle of fifths, which incorporates Coltrane's innovations and shows where his mind was at while he played.

Coltrane clearly had a mind for mathematics, and although he didn't speak in public about the "intensive theoretical work behind his most famous compositions" he did speak about them at length with his friend Yusef Lateef:

Coltrane gave the drawing to saxophonist and professor Yusef Lateef in 1967, who included it in his seminal text, Repository of Scales and Melodic Patterns. Where Lateef, as he writes in his autobiography, sees Coltrane’s music as a “spiritual journey” that “embraced the concerns of a rich tradition of autophysiopsychic music,”...

...Musician and blogger Roel Hollander notes, “Thelonious Monk once said ‘All musicans are subconsciously mathematicians.’ Musicians like John Coltrane though have been very much aware of the mathematics of music and consciously applied it to his works.”

Read more from John Coltrane Draws A Picture Illustrating The Mathematics Of Music here


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