View Full Version : Atonal Music

09-04-2003, 04:07 PM
hey guys..

anybody out there enjoy atonal, serial, or chromatic music? I mess around with it some, tone rows and the matrix procedure and all that.. I was experimenting on guitar and came up with some tone rows and stuff so I sort of arranged them for kind of a quirky sound.. it's funny how this sort of thing sounds so strange at first but after a while it seems to make perfect sense.. well here is the powertab..


09-04-2003, 05:40 PM
I enjoy atonal music very much (it´s kinda relaxing to my ear, no kidding!) and I really liked your etude!

Are you familiar with the music of german classical composers Arnold Schönberg, Stockhausen or Alban Berg? They really explored the posibilitys of 12tone music during the 20th century. Check out Stockhausen´s "Electronic studies 1 and 2". Great for torturing your neighbours...;)


09-04-2003, 08:16 PM
Nice tune! Reminded me of early ELP and Mussorgsky.

'I like it!'
-- Adrian Belew '81

09-05-2003, 03:02 AM
hey Thorsten.

Yeah, I dig all those composers.. especially Shoenberg.. Transfigured Night is one of my favorite compositions.. and some of his early chamber music where he was just leading into the 12 tone music while still using some of the romantic techniques are just wild, great stuff...

Cuno, thanks man!

I've messed around with and composed alot atonal music and some experimental stuff that uses symetric lines and all but it gets sort of frustrating just hearing it on a synth and I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna get any full orchestras to play it.. lol.. So I pretty much just stick to the simple etudes and inventions and stuff now, something can play on guitar and bass... well, anyways.. see ya guys later... and check out atonal music if you havn't already, hey, if Zappa liked it, it can't be but so bad.. :D


09-05-2003, 08:15 AM

There's a feel to your tune - I like it very much! The etude has inspired me to dig atonal theory deeper. I'd like to be able to combine both tonal and atonal approach in my music but I'm lacking good info. I have read some abstracts from Schoenberg's 12-tone music research and checked out the links that I found on Web but still I'm not satisfied with their quality - everything goes ripped, beginner-oriented and smell-but-never-taste kind. Could you please provide me with some couple resources that are worth considering?


09-05-2003, 11:32 PM
Hey Zatz,

Most of the stuff on the web is beginner, but try doing a google search on "serial music".. there are some intros that pop up I believe.. try to find something that will explain tone rows and retrogrades and inversions and the matrix procedure.. take that stuff and just kind of let it float around in your head for a while.. write some random tone rows and practice the procedure.. then basically just dive in and write some random stuff.. assigning tone rows to one voice in any sort of rhythm you want.. experiment.. there is alot of writing about 12 tone music out there but you really just need to fool around with and get the feel of it, that unique sound of it.. get ahold of some Shoenberg scores if you can and just kind of see what he is doing, see if you can identify some tone rows and transpostions and stuff.. and just listen to alot of atonal music... after all that start exploring some of the more academic writings.. if you're really into fusing atonal and tonal styles then I recommend you check out some of Zappa's stuff.. especially pieces he composed on the synclavier..


09-08-2003, 09:21 AM

thanks for the hints! I'm gonna use them as a guideline. And I'm really planning to mix tonal/atonal styles. I'll be back to this thread again to share my progress, ideas, problems.

Warm regards,

09-09-2003, 11:43 PM
i've tried composing with 12-tone music, but I have trouble come up with anything good. also, I've have trouble trying to find any music by berg or schoenburg anywhere. but that was a cool etude. maybe you could explain what's going on a little more in-depth?

09-10-2003, 02:52 AM
ok, a little more on how I came up with that atonal etude..

if you look at the first three bars, there are twelve different notes there.. that was my original tone row, then I just set it to a rhythm.. I couldn't really tell you why I chose that particular rhythm.. it's just what my ear said should go there... then over the rest of the piece you have modifications of that tone row.. inversion, which is just going the same interval in a different direction.. retrograde, which is the original tone row backwards, and retrograde-inversion which is the backwards row with the intervals in the opposite direction.. during these procedures you can change the octave of the note any way you want.. bars 28-31 are simple atonal harmony.. taking one of the tone rows and stacking them in triads.. 12/3 gives 4 triads.. at bar 34 the row is modulated up a half step repeating the theme of the last two bars.. then the same triad structures are played within the new transposed row... the row is transposed back down at bar 42 to lead smoothly back to the beginning..

I guess I should say more about the rhythm.. some serial composers will serialize rhythm and dynamics too.. but I did not do that here.. the rhythm was mostly based on certain images I had in my head when I originally started composing this on guitar.. that particular creative aspect is hard to comment on... I can tell you that the original title of this etude was Firesprite.. and a dancing flame and dancing beings in sort of call-and-response type thing was going on in my head.. but I don't want to get too deep into that since, with atonal music, I really want the listener to come up with their own images or feelings, or none at all if it's not your thing ya know.. :)

Well, if I come up with any other atonal music that I think is small enough and worth putting in powertab I'll post it...

and if I sound like I'm full of crap, I probably am.. :D