Thread: Dodecaphonics
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Old 2006-12-13, 04:15
USS USS is offline
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Originally Posted by JonR
OK, I think I see what you're getting at. You're saying that there is (or could be) a type of music which uses 12 tones in non-equal temperament. IOW, 12 unequal divisions of an octave.
This would be pretty interesting. How it sounded would depend (of course) on how much - if at all - any of the intervals approximated familiar pure or equal tempered intervals. There would - certainly - be some intervals that sounded more dissonant than others (including intervals of the same number of steps), and it would be hard to write in this system and ignore these effects. And it seems to me the less you ignored such effects, the more you would be writing a kind of tonal music - if a highly dissonant kind.
Even so, I'd guess there's some potential here. (I've no idea if any composer has researched this concept, but I'd be surprised if none have.)

That would be a quite funny experience. But I think you nevertheless should ignore the superiority of some notes, because (as we did in Schoenberg's music) we choose a random tone row in the 'lottery manner' (take and do not put back).
A second of C and a D-flat will be indeed more dischord than the second D-flat and D, because the distance between C and D-flat is (relatively and absolutely) smaller than between D-flat and D. Same for C, C# and D, but then it is the opposite way.
Originally Posted by JonR
But are you still saying that there is (at least potentially) a form of dodecaphonics that doesn't use 12-TET? This seems to be the sense of the rest of your posts (but not clearly of that last sentence).
I mean, seems to me there could be 12-TET dodecaphonics (as in Schoenberg and serialism); or there could be dodecaphonics starting from some kind of pure intervals (eg 4ths and 5ths), leading to uneven semitones (but with octaves corrected); or there could be dodecaphonics based on some other kinds of irregular 12-step division of the octave, including random ones?

There can be such dodecaphonic indeed. I do not think any of that kind of music has been composed thus far, but you can see a challenge in it. Take for example the tone row C, C#, Cx, Cx#, Cxx, Cxx#, Cxxx, Cxxx#, Cxxxx, Cxxxx#, Cxxxxx, Cxxxxx# using pure intonation (first problem is: how to write this on sheet?). The distance between the Cxxxxx# and the C will therefore be the smallest distance here.
(We of course can also change some notes, but the point is clear.) This tone row (we will change the order of the notes of course) is based on other distance. It will probably give us a quite strange feeling, but 'clean' dodecaphonics (ET) (in another way) also do. So it may be an interesting update of our music knowledge:

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