Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation – Part 1

Index to posts in this series


Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation (cover)This post is (hopefully) the first in a series covering the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation, a jazz theory book written by George Russell in 1953. The Lydian Chromatic Concept (LCC for short) was, or is, a novel approach to music that treats the lydian mode as the primary mode in music rather than ionian (i.e. the major scale).

Russell’s idea is actually based on some very compelling observations but his book is rather dense and difficult to get to grips with. I intend the posts in this series to deal with some of the core concepts presented by Russell but in a more straightforward and accessible way; a way that I can understand! I’m certainly no expert. This will be a learning process for me too.

For a general overview of the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation try this article on Wikipedia. Further information can be found at, which has information about Russell and which appears to be selling the book at the bargain price of $125.00. The book is hard to find, at least at reasonable prices (for example check out this used book site).

George Russell

Wikipedia comes to the rescue again for basic biographical information about George Russell but if you want a look at the man and some of his work the following YouTube video is a great place to start. It includes one of my favourite Russell pieces, the fabulously named Stratus Phunk.

Although George Russell is not particularly well known now he was a huge influence on players like Miles Davis. In fact the video above has Bill Evans, a close associate of Russell, on piano. The modal movement in jazz owes a great deal to Russell’s work.

Stay tuned for further posts on the LCC.

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