Thread: Dodecaphonics
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Old 2006-11-29, 09:35
JonR JonR is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by USS
Note at this statement: There are atonal melodies that are not dodecaphonic. For example: try on the piano to play some random white keys. It will be atonal.
Not at all. It will be in the key of C major, or A minor, or one of the modes. The white keys give a pre-prepared 7-note tonal set. That's the point of them.
It may not sound very musical - but it will sound tonal, because (if you play truly randomly) we'll eventually hear C as the home note, because of the familiarity of that usage of those 7 notes.

My main point here is that our ears are attuned to tonality, over centuries. We struggle to find it in any music we hear - we can't help it. It's one of the main ways we make sense of music. This is why Schoenberg expended so much effort on establishing rules about how to avoid it - by not making any selection from the 12 tones, but using them all equally.
Originally Posted by USS
But indeed, dodecaphonic guarantees atonality (as long as you choose the order of the notes randomly).
I suspect you don't need to choose the notes at random. (Indeed, random might mean you end up with a tonal set by accident.)
You can (and maybe should) plan the order, but you must use all 12 without going back to any of them before all 12 have been used.

IOW, atonality doesn't come from randomness (most of the time, maybe it does, but not guaranteed every time). It comes from strictly avoiding accidental suggestions of or tendencies towards tonality.

John Cage used random principles ("aleatory" music), but he incorporated untuned percussion and other non-musical noises. In any case, his aim was not to produce atonality, but to remove the composer's control, to produce music as contemplative sounds, in which any sound was valid and worth listening to.
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