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COLEMAN, Ornette.

Harmolodics - an autograph musical manuscript.

New York: c.1980 Stock Code: 103666
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A remarkable piece, we can trace no other Ornette Coleman musical manuscript ever having appeared on the market. Written in brown felt-tip, the sheet is inscribed lower right in black ink: "To Anthony / Thanks For Everything / Ornette Coleman." Harmolodics was the name that Coleman gave to his unique musical philosophy and compositional/improvisational method, which he enigmatically defined as "the use of the physical and the mental of one's own logic made into an expression of sound to bring about the musical sensation of unison executed by a single person or with a group", which applied specifically to music means that "harmony, melody, speed, rhythm, time and phrases all have equal position in the results that come from the placing and spacing of ideas" (Ornette Coleman, "Prime Time for Harmolodics" in Down Beat, July 1983, pp. 54-5). It has been suggested that Coleman drew on Boulez's concept of aleatory music for harmolodics, while early Coleman advocate Gunther Schuller suggested that it is based in the superimposition of the same or similar phrases, thus developing polytonality and heterophony. Coleman was apparently working on an expository text on harmolodics from the 70s, but this has never appeared, and the only full-ish explanation is contained in the article quoted above. He also used the name "Harmolodic" for his record label.

Ornette Coleman, (1930 - 2015), was one of the most powerful and contentious innovators in the history of jazz, his work was publicly dismissed by many of the previous generation of iconoclasts, such as Monk and Miles, but actively promoted by the impeccably restrained John Lewis. Probably the best summation of the paradoxical paradigm that was Ornette Coleman comes from Mingus who said: "Now aside from the fact that I doubt he can even play a C scale in whole notes - tied whole notes, a couple of bars apiece - in tune, the fact remains that his notes and lines are so fresh. So when Symphony Sid played his record, it made everything else he was playing, even my own record that he played, sound terrible" ('The Blindfold Test', Downbeat, 28/4/1960). This piece from the collection of Anthony Murrell. Introduced to Ornette Coleman by Don Cherry, with whom he shared a loft on Christy St., Murrell assisted Coleman in sorting and archiving materials when he bought the former Public School 4, at 203 Rivington Street at Pitt on the Lower East Side in 1981, and was in the process of moving into a top-floor classroom. Coleman extracted the sheet from the material that they were working through, and inscribed it for Murrell.

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Folio, single leaf of musical score paper extracted from original comb-bound volume, printed staves, titled and with eight lines of musical notation in brown felt-tip. Housed in a black quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.


A little browned, some light soiling, "sneaker" print verso?, top corners creased and small piece of cellophane tape top right, but overall very good.


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