Atonal Music

Topics: Twelve-tone technique, Serialism, Arnold Schoenberg Pages: 6 (1102 words) Published: December 26, 2012
FA MUSI 2110

12 Tone Music Arnold Schoenberg

• A reaction against late romanticism

• Dosent completely abandon the ideas

• 12 note ordered series – becomes the basis of the entire composition. ALL 12 pitches of the chromatic scale. Equal tempered scale = each semitone is of equal distance

• “dodecaphony” can also deal with non serial atonal music

• Berg and Webern were his pupils who took up serialism who came up from the 2nd Viennese school .

• Analog – very basic to tonality

• No structure: all pitches treated equally and as if they are only related to themselves and not a tonic key.

• Late romantic composers really took tonality to it’s most.

• Serialism: sequentialism

• Well tempered clavier – first work that standardizes our tuning system

• Double augmented 4th = perfect 5th

• Other elements:

• Rhythm - duration

• Tempo – speed levels

• Dynamics – degrees of loudness

• Articulation – modes of attack

• Density – number of parts

• Spacing – octave distribution

• Timbre – tone color

❖ Initial pitch series is transformed by some rational method intp an order of values applicable to the other serially controlled parameters

❖ Procedures vary from compser to composer and from work to work, but possibility that have been used include deriving the values of the other series from the ntoes, intervals, and frequencies of the pitch series.

❖ Another procedure is to establish an independent arbitrary order for each serially controlled aspect of the music

❖ To avoid excessive uniformity of configuration that might result from strict ordering of several parameters concurrently, order within a given series is sometimes subjected to systematic and progressive rotation

Compositional process begins with

i. Composer’s determination of the various elements series, and operations to be employed

ii. Executre the predermined serial operation

iii. Final stage is to make decisions regarding those dimensions of the music not automatically prederermined and to make adjustments, to the extent they are allowed in those that are

➢ Several notable serial composers include: Milton Babbitt (1916-2011) Pierre Boulez (1925- ) Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007)

12 Tone Composition needs new vocab

• Tone Row – core of the twelve tone system (basic set, series) which has an ordered arrangement of the 12 pitch classes with each occurring only once .

• The row has four basic forms

o 1. P Prime – original set

o 2. R Retrograde – the original set in reverse order

o 3. I Inversion – the mirror inversion of the original set

o 4. RI Retrograde inversion – the inversion in reverse order

• In addition, each of the four basic patterns has twelve tranpositions, so a single row has 48 versions that are available to the composer

• After the abbreviation comes a number, from 0 to 11, which specifies the transpositions of the row form in half steps

• For example, the very first row form is numbered P-0 ; for example P – 0 c g f P – 1 c# g# f# P – 2 d a g AND R-0 and I – 0 and RI – 0 etc. thus, there is 48 different possible permutations

Twelve Tone Matrix –

• It is helpful when composing or analyszing serial music to be able to see all 48 versions of the row

• The matrix or magic quare or set complex allows you to see all 48 versions

• The prime forms can be read from left to right along the rows of the matrix, while retrogrades are read from right to left

• Inversions are read along the columns from top to bottom and retrograde inversions from bottom to top

• Transposition number is next to the first note of each row form

6 STEPS : HOW TO CONSTRUCT A 12 TONE MATRIX – will be on exam

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