In the past jazz has always been an artform in which musicians were invariably looking for new musical ideas. The evolution of composing and improvising has been the most important ingredient in which jazz could develope into the most diverse musicform. Think for instance of player/composers like Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman. As the end of the century comes closer musicians start reaching back more and more to the music of the past, and jazz turns into a kind of museum music in which the art of reproduction becomes more important then the art of creation. Very few musicians of our time are still looking for new ideas and angles to help jazz enter a new century of possibilities. Classical music has been developing over the last few ages, for instance through Arnold Schönberg in the beginning of this century. When he introduced the twelve tone system, a whole host of possibilities was added to music. What Schönberg did not provide was a satisfying solution for harmony in this new tone system. Untill then harmony had been based on the "Traité de l'harmony" by Jean Philippe Rameau from 1722, based on the diatonic scale. This system is based on three chords taken from this scale: tonic, dominant and subdominant, and their relation to each other. This simple and very basic hierarchy of tones, has been the basis on which classical music could develope. But when Schönberg introduced the twelve tone system, based on the chromatic scale, the diatonic harmony system was not relevant anymore. Composers throughout the whole century have been looking for a solution to this problem, and it was Peter Schat who came up with an inventory of possible triads in the chromatic scale, which he concieved to connect to the time points or time markers of the clock, thus giving a possibility of reference and comunication to ideas of tonality in the chromatic scale.
photo: Peter Schat.