~ sequence and permutation ~

'all of life is sequential yet we continually permutate it our own ways :)

~ a sequence ~

~ a permutation ~

~ by the numbers ~

~ and other options ~

In a nutshell. For some reading here, these two artistic elements, sequence and permutation, become the basis of a lifetime of musical invention, and artistic invention in general in all of the various 'arts' we love. Using our smarts, our own elevated sentient thought process, we create and recognize a series of pitches as a sequence, and devise ways to rearrange or permeate them to create new art.

wiki ~ sequence music
wiki ~ permutation music

For improvising musicians, these two techniques become two main techniques for creating our variations of whatever motifs we're given to work with, in any song or musical setting. For musical elements that are sequenced can be permutated. Examine the following idea of major triads. Thinking 'C' major. Example 1.

Cool? These vocab / theory terms go way deeper into academia as the shedding evolves. Once the jazz frontier is crossed on the style spectrum, a whole new universe can blossom for the evolving artist. So ... got these triads under your fingers yet ? In a couple of keys even ?

A sequence.

A sequence can be thought of as an order of events that form a closed loop. In music, these events are the pitches of course.

And does a sequence always have to close ? No.

A permutation.

A permutation is simply a re-arranged version of the elements, the pitches, in a sequenced loop of musical sounds.

And can the permutation of the elements of a sequence evolve its elements, and retain the essence of the sequence? Absolutely. Ever hear of the blues hue ? Let's 'bluesify' the 'A' and 'D' triads thinking blues in 'A.' Example 2.

wiki ~ musical sounds

And now a now melody. In this next idea we combine the above 'theory machinations' and create a motif we can organically grow into a song. Here's the motif. Example 3.

And here's the song. Pretty sure this was a 'break tune' some where along the way :) Example 3a.

A group of pitches / by the numbers. In our basic philosophies here, we can think of a scale or mode as a group of pitches from which we can create our melodic ideas. Thus, we can swap pitch letter names with numbers and create a way to facilitate understanding and energizing our sequences and permutations. Examine the following numerical evolution of the pitches. Thinking 'C' major. Example 4.

Cool ? Making this leaping transition to our music / math basis of all things theory? Surely a potential giant step in understanding as we look to order up the whole tamale.

Permutation by the numbers. If the last bit is cool, then this next idea is the potential game changer. Thinking 'C' major. Example 4a.

Cool ? So our permutation of an idea can be rhythmic too yes? U bet. Pitches, rhythms, phrasing, accents, sequencing a permutation through cycles of root pitches, chords. On and on really. And with the five note pentatonics ... no 'bad' pitches. Just like wind chimes :)

Well that's all for this discussion folks. Have a sense now of the musical term 'sequence?' And how we 'permutate' the components of a sequence into new configurations?

Review. A sequence is an order of events that form a loop. A permutation is simply a re-arranged sequencing of the elements of its original loop. Artists use these two techniques to expand on their motifs, create themes and variations, call and response and the interplay found in the improvised performance formats of a lot of our Americana musics.

Further sequencing and permutation studies included in this book include, the interval studies, loops of pitches, working with arpeggios and chord progressions.