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  #21  
Old 2006-11-20, 05:36
USS USS is offline
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Very well then. Quite cynical, but so be it then. I can remayn alive with this. The guitar and the piano have their limitations, which makes a Db sound thesame as a C#. Let us define dodecaphonics therefore this way:

ON DODECAPHONICS PLAYED ON PIANO, WE USE THE SEVEN WHITE AND THE FIVE BLACK KEYS OF THE OCTAVE, NO MATTER WHERE, NO MATTER HOW LONG, NO MATTER HOW HARD, NO MATTER HOW FREQUENTLY. AS LONG AS THEY ARE USED IN A CERTAYN ORDER.

This way, we can both agree.
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  #22  
Old 2006-11-20, 07:35
JonR JonR is offline
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^True.

The point here is that all western instruments have been set to equal temperament for at least 200 years (very approximately ). That's the system we work with.
Technically (in "pure" terms) every note is "out of tune" (except octaves), but it's the only temperament that allows our functional harmony system (keys, chords, modulations, etc) to work. We need all 12 semitones to be equal so that all keys are equivalent and we can modulate freely without retuning. We put up with the impurities.

It's true that instruments capable of sliding pitches (violins etc, the human voice) can perform in pure temperaments if they want - adjusting intonation for different keys. Unaccompanied choirs, for example, can sing (quite naturally) in pure intonation by ear. Most wind instruments can adjust their intonation too. (In fact, some wind players need to use certain lip or finger techniques to play exactly in ET anyway.)
But if they play with fixed pitch instruments like pianos, organs or guitars, then they will either be out of tune. or will need to tune to the ET instruments.

IOW, the point you are (were) making is not wrong, in theory, it's just not applicable in practice. (which is what the others were saying.)

In any case, IMO, the whole mathematical argument is a red herring. Who cares how many permutations there are? Musicians don't...
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  #23  
Old 2006-11-21, 05:36
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I do, johnmansley does and Unanything does, so that is three already. Perhaps you too I am a mathematician in ecudation (still at university), johnmansley is graduated and Unanything was interested in the number. And we are all musicians (are we?).
So this problem is solved I guess. We are both right, but we meant something different.
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  #24  
Old 2006-11-21, 07:41
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True, the number of arrangements is irrelevant - just an interesting aside.

OK, now that this is sorted out, it'd be interesting to hear people's views on using dodecaphonics and/or any contemporary examples. I think Anata have used this technique in one or two of their songs.
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  #25  
Old 2006-11-21, 15:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmansley
True, the number of arrangements is irrelevant - just an interesting aside.

OK, now that this is sorted out, it'd be interesting to hear people's views on using dodecaphonics and/or any contemporary examples. I think Anata have used this technique in one or two of their songs.


I've actually never really used the technique to compose. I find it a good technical exercise and a great insight into the workings of melody, but other than that, note-rows seem too systematic for me. I prefer to compose for melody rather than systematic rule. Atonality can be controlled without it, if what is written is truly felt by the composer. I've recently started writing on the piano, and I've worked out proper sheet music.

My band, Transcension's next song wil haev some piano on it.

I like studying music like this, it gives one a universal insight into music. It allows one to listen and analyse anything. And the avant-gardiers have it even better, because they can tolerate anything.

On John's point above, I first came across dodecaphonics in the magazine Guitar Techniques. It was in the Creative Rock section. The note-row they had in the example piece was cool.

Code:
[------------------------] [------------------------] [------------------------] [--4---2-5-1---------------] [----3-------5-2-3---1-----] [2-----------------4---5-2-]
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  #26  
Old 2006-11-24, 22:01
mctriple mctriple is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unanything
One of the great landmarks of this era was the invention of atonality by Arnold Schoenberg. He was the first to go mad and defy melody. Death metal must nod its head to him.

Guess you never heard of Scriabin's music? Of course, he had some help with his insane writing. He had synesthesia, where every sound you hear also triggers the visualization of colors, so each note that he hears makes him see a specific color related to that note. How crazy would it be to compose music that way??
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  #27  
Old 2006-11-25, 09:53
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You then just make music by coincidence. It will certaynly become atonal that way.
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  #28  
Old 2006-11-26, 06:58
JonR JonR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unanything
On John's point above, I first came across dodecaphonics in the magazine Guitar Techniques. It was in the Creative Rock section. The note-row they had in the example piece was cool.

Code:
[------------------------] [------------------------] [------------------------] [--4---2-5-1---------------] [----3-------5-2-3---1-----] [2-----------------4---5-2-]
That's not a strictly correct tone row. The 2nd note is the same as the first (octave up); two notes repeat (C and F#) before all the others have been used; F and C#/Db have not been used.

This is the point about the 12-tone system. It may seem too "systematic" to you, but if you don't follow those rules, you slip back into tonal music. If you "compose for melody" (which is also my favourite method), without an imposed system, you will be following your ear and intuition, which is likely to lead you down tonal paths, because we (all of us) are so used to hearing tonal music and its melodic intervals.
That's fine of course, but it's not really dodecaphonic music - it's a mish-mash of tonal with maybe some atonal suggestions - chromaticism, IOW.

IMO, music is aither tonal or atonal - it can't be both. If strict tone-row rules aren't applied, then tonal values will creep in: one note will start to dominate, or groups of notes will suggest a scale.
Of course, what matters is how it sounds in the end! We don't have to apply any kind of rules. But when defining it, it's important to distinguish true "atonal" music from "tonal-plus-chromaticism". We need to be clear what our goals are, IOW. "Tonal-plus-chromaticism" is great (my favourite type of music!), but it isn't atonal, or "dodecaphonic" as I understand it.

The fact that a piece uses all 12 tones doesn't make it atonal. There must be 100s of jazz tunes (all firmly tonal) that use all 12 tones. There's simply a hierarchy between a diatonic set of 7 and the other 5. Can that be called "dodecaphonic"? If so, what's the point of the term?
That's why Schoenberg imposed his tone-row rules, to prevent tonal bias happening.
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  #29  
Old 2006-11-26, 17:24
mctriple mctriple is offline
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OT: JonR from JS? What are you doing here? :P
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  #30  
Old 2006-11-27, 03:38
JonR JonR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mctriple
OT: JonR from JS? What are you doing here? :P
Just passing through...

how about you?
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  #31  
Old 2006-11-27, 03:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonR
IMO, music is aither tonal or atonal - it can't be both.

I think it can be. Like you have a melody as the first theme and a dodecaphonic row as the second theme. It is both. But I agree, it cannot be at thesame time.

This is a good dodecaphonic:

|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|------44---------------3-------------------555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555-|
|----------------6666-----7-1111-33-22-4444-----------------------------------------------------------|
|-2222----334455------1-------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

No argue about this. A note may be repeated (within one octave or not) until the next is played.
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  #32  
Old 2006-11-28, 06:12
JonR JonR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USS
No argue about this. A note may be repeated (within one octave or not) until the next is played.
I think you're right about the repetition of a note. But as I understand it, you can't come back to that note before the full tone-row is completed.
I'm not an expert, and maybe "dodecaphonic" is different (a broader term) from Schoenbergian 12-tone serialism.
There's good reference here...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serialism
... but no specifics as to the restrictions on note repetition. (But clearly it's a lot more complicated than just how you use the 12 pitches, eg, rules on use of intervals, and other musical aspects to which serialism can be applied. )
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  #33  
Old 2006-11-28, 06:40
USS USS is offline
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You cannot come back to the note indeed, but as you have completed the row, you can turn the row, so for example C F# G E A B Bb Db Eb G# D F can then after the F turn to F D G# Eb Db Bb B A E G F# C and can then from the C agayn three times be repeated. That is also possible in dodecaphonics. I call it the lobster technique, I do not know whether it is the official name for such composing technique or not.
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  #34  
Old 2006-11-28, 06:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonR
I'm not an expert, and maybe "dodecaphonic" is different (a broader term) from Schoenbergian 12-tone serialism.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Serialism is often, though not universally, held to begin with twelve-tone technique, which uses a set of the 12 notes of the chromatic scale to form a row (a nonrepeating arrangement of the 12 tones of the chromatic scale) as the unifying basis for a composition's melody, harmony, structural progressions, and variations.

What you sayd about the repeating of notes: it is stated. It may very well be thesame, I cannot tell you. I will ask to my music theory teachers one day soon.
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  #35  
Old 2006-11-28, 10:53
JonR JonR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USS
You cannot come back to the note indeed, but as you have completed the row, you can turn the row, so for example C F# G E A B Bb Db Eb G# D F can then after the F turn to F D G# Eb Db Bb B A E G F# C and can then from the C agayn three times be repeated. That is also possible in dodecaphonics. I call it the lobster technique, I do not know whether it is the official name for such composing technique or not.
I doubt if "lobster" technique is an official name...

I realise the tone-row is subject to all kinds of manipulation once established, but you found the quote in wiki that confirmed my understanding of it.

However, we now have 3 terms to contend with, which are interconnected but may or may not be identical: "serialism", "dodecaphonics", "atonality"
(You gotta love this theory stuff... )
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  #36  
Old 2006-11-28, 14:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonR
That's not a strictly correct tone row. The 2nd note is the same as the first (octave up); two notes repeat (C and F#) before all the others have been used; F and C#/Db have not been used.

This is the point about the 12-tone system. It may seem too "systematic" to you, but if you don't follow those rules, you slip back into tonal music. If you "compose for melody" (which is also my favourite method), without an imposed system, you will be following your ear and intuition, which is likely to lead you down tonal paths, because we (all of us) are so used to hearing tonal music and its melodic intervals.
That's fine of course, but it's not really dodecaphonic music - it's a mish-mash of tonal with maybe some atonal suggestions - chromaticism, IOW.

IMO, music is aither tonal or atonal - it can't be both. If strict tone-row rules aren't applied, then tonal values will creep in: one note will start to dominate, or groups of notes will suggest a scale.
Of course, what matters is how it sounds in the end! We don't have to apply any kind of rules. But when defining it, it's important to distinguish true "atonal" music from "tonal-plus-chromaticism". We need to be clear what our goals are, IOW. "Tonal-plus-chromaticism" is great (my favourite type of music!), but it isn't atonal, or "dodecaphonic" as I understand it.

The fact that a piece uses all 12 tones doesn't make it atonal. There must be 100s of jazz tunes (all firmly tonal) that use all 12 tones. There's simply a hierarchy between a diatonic set of 7 and the other 5. Can that be called "dodecaphonic"? If so, what's the point of the term?
That's why Schoenberg imposed his tone-row rules, to prevent tonal bias happening.


Actually, the 4 should be where the 3 is. And I agree with you in that dodecaphonics is systematic. It compromises on expressiveness, and the reason Beethoven and Mozart are so huge is because they balanced formal structure with expressiveness prefectly. And you get very tonal rows as well. They just sound like they are constantly modulating. I just use dodecaphonics for finding rows that actually sound good, I don't stick by it for anything. What you are saying is very true, I understand perfectly. But you've made me realise that perhaps we should probably stop distinguishing between atonality and tonality. Every row is just lots of mini-tonalities thrown together and inaudible due to their rapid modulation.
And considering melody in DM sometimes, I think you can be far out of tonality and still not be doecaphonic.

There needs to be a new tonal system I think. I've had ideas about constructing one for a while now. This major/minor thing is annoying. I hate it. I always use modes, I only use the key sig' to show the set of notes the thing's in. Who dare declare the obsoletion of modes!

I've more or less given up with dodecaphonics (already). I've found that the height of all this modern stuff came and ended with Debussy. He wrote for sound rather than system or philosophy. If I hear a piece, I don't hear it's philosophy or it's sytematics. I externally read or find out about it's sound. I hear it's sound, it's rhythms and it's pitches and it's textures and timbres. Debussy did the weird stuff for the weird sound. I do similar. I actually like Cage and Boulez for the SOUND rather than the philospshy. And guys like Takemitsu did it probably for the weirdness of sound anyway. I mean, what's with getting flute players to speak French translations of Japanese poetry down the flute?

Oh, and Scriabin's music sounds awesome. I would like to hear an insight into the world of a synaesthetic. I bet he was like one of these pointillist composers.
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Last edited by Unanything : 2006-11-28 at 15:00.
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  #37  
Old 2006-11-29, 03:50
USS USS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonR
However, we now have 3 terms to contend with, which are interconnected but may or may not be identical: "serialism", "dodecaphonics", "atonality"

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.
But indeed, dodecaphonic guarantees atonality (as long as you choose the order of the notes randomly).
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Last edited by USS : 2006-11-29 at 08:01.
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  #38  
Old 2006-11-29, 09:35
JonR JonR is offline
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Quote:
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.
Quote:
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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  #39  
Old 2006-11-30, 03:45
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Maybe the example of using the seven white keys was a bad example, but it is still true that an atonal piece of music can be composed without using all twelve keys. For example: leave the D and play the rest in any order, using them all. Or try a hexatonic scale. It has no real root, for you can start at any note. Or try an octotonic scale. That one has eight tones that all can be used as root. I know a piece of music for violoncello and piano, which was written in a KZ. Except for no measure, you cannot hear any melody, or tonality.
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  #40  
Old 2006-11-30, 03:59
USS USS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonR
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.)

I did not say this within the last group of posts in this topic anywhere. I sayd the order of the notes matters, not the number of notes, which was set to twelve.
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