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Thread: 12-tone (dodecaphony, serial) help!!

  1. #61
    Sa Sekhem Sahu MorningStar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmsstudios
    I've read about this a lot and I understand the terminology and how we arrive at the 479,001,600 possible permutations of tone rows.

    I need help improvising it!!

    I've listened to Schoenberg & Webern (which I think is mostly terrible music - makes me wanna scratch my eyes out.) However, I've heard people who could improv it and its awesome! I just dont get their method.

    There must be other paradigms than 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc.

    I've considered dividing the octave. I've considered a diatonic 7-note scale and then the 5 leftover pieces. I just cant get it to sound anywhere close to decent.

    I dont want to use 12-tone to compose - just to solo - and solo over popular (Western) music. There must be a way!?

    Please, if you can improv 12-tone (JonR, Poparad, etc) help must understand your method.

    P.S. I've already wiki-ed it plus about 10 other sources. It must be in the vault behind armed guards with the Coca-Cola recipe.
    Okay, above is your original post and it looks like to me that you are asking for comments on improvising with the 12 tones not a Tone Row.

    7 diatonic notes of C leave a perfect set of pentatonics that are a tritone away. (e.g. Dm7 (IIm7 of C major I) has our happy minor pentatonic VI scale over Ebm). This has been referred to as Side-Slipping.

    Was that anywhere near what you are looking for?

  2. #62
    Registered User dmsstudios's Avatar
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    Morningstar,
    Yes, that's much closer to what I'm looking for. Thanks! Now how would you approach that? Is that just an idea to keep all 12 notes straight in your head? Keep those coming if you have any more!

    JonR,
    I'm not trying to have a go at you. I can't improvise 12-tone either. I thought that some help from more avant-garde musicians would help me get closer to it. IMO, tonal music is limiting. Play a bunch of roots and their supporting triad tones over & over & over - with a few color tones thrown in. Yes, I'm aware that this is how music is played, and yes its good, but the tonal vs. atonal argument doesn't sway me much. Isn't music theory the study of dissonance?
    Dan

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  3. #63
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmsstudios
    Morningstar,
    Yes, that's much closer to what I'm looking for. Thanks! Now how would you approach that? Is that just an idea to keep all 12 notes straight in your head? Keep those coming if you have any more!

    JonR,
    I'm not trying to have a go at you. I can't improvise 12-tone either. I thought that some help from more avant-garde musicians would help me get closer to it. IMO, tonal music is limiting. Play a bunch of roots and their supporting triad tones over & over & over - with a few color tones thrown in. Yes, I'm aware that this is how music is played, and yes its good, but the tonal vs. atonal argument doesn't sway me much. Isn't music theory the study of dissonance?
    Not exactly (or not only that). Music theory is the grammar of music. It studies what musicians do, and attempts to identify common practices.
    Of course, there is a constant feedback, as musicians learn existing theory (or some of them learn some! ), and either follow it or try and break away.
    Classical theory is mostly based on the classical and romantic periods (ending around 100 years ago).
    Jazz theory is based heavily on classical, but as applied to bebop of the 1940s and 50s - with some modifications/additions to include modal jazz of the late 50s/early 60s.
    Pop music follows a simplified version of the easy bits of both.
    Rock? Mostly pop conventions, with strong influences from blues and Celtic folk music (via US country).
    Hehe... huge oversimplifications above!

    If you're really only trying to do what morningstar outlines above - that's chromaticism, within a tonal context: which is exactly what I've been trying to get at.
    Yes, if you want, there are systems (methods or shortcuts) for applying chromaticism in meaningful ways - such as sidesteps (a half-step above or below whatever the "home" scale is at any point). There's the altered scale, which can be applied to dominant chords (the melodic minor scale a half-step above the root).
    With any such system, the point is always to come back "inside" skillfully. Good players can play whole phrases "outside", creating maximum tension, but know how long they can sustain it without it just sounding like "wrong notes". Most people begin with the occasional outside note, half-step above or (usually better) below a chord tone.
    It's like adding spice to a dish. You need to have a clear idea of the main dish (the diatonic key), and not add too much spice, or the wrong kind .

  4. #64
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Only a goldfish can truely enjoy atonal music because of its 2-second memory. Not only it has a mainly dissonant "instance harmony" but the continuum of the pitches is also dissonant. Where they on crack or something when they established this kind of "music"?

    I strongly believe that tonal music has endless possibilities.

    Music is an ancient Greek word that is associated with inspiration that itself is associated with passions, desire to express yourself and commuticate your feelings and a source of entertainment.

    Non from the above does not match with atonal "music" (maybe for some alien species; I find it quite probable) so it does not qualify as music at all. Instead it is a musicians wank.

  5. #65
    Sa Sekhem Sahu MorningStar's Avatar
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    Only a goldfish can truely enjoy atonal music because of its 2-second memory. Not only it has a mainly dissonant "instance harmony" but the continuum of the pitches is also dissonant. Where they on crack or something when they established this kind of "music"?
    People on crack don't enjoy any kind of music
    On'es enjoyment of atonality will depend on one's joy of dissonance.
    For example Western ears have a hard time hearing Eastern melodies with quarter tones and what not.

    I strongly believe that tonal music has endless possibilities.
    Equal tempered 12 tone atonality certainly has limitations in contrast to other music temperments

    Music is an ancient Greek word that is associated with inspiration that itself is associated with passions, desire to express yourself and commuticate your feelings and a source of entertainment.
    Greekology (lol) has music associated with the Muses

    Non from the above does not match with atonal "music" (maybe for some alien species; I find it quite probable) so it does not qualify as music at all. Instead it is a musicians wank.
    I would certainly have to disagree with this

  6. #66
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragasaraswati
    Only a goldfish can truely enjoy atonal music because of its 2-second memory. Not only it has a mainly dissonant "instance harmony" but the continuum of the pitches is also dissonant. Where they on crack or something when they established this kind of "music"?

    I strongly believe that tonal music has endless possibilities.

    Music is an ancient Greek word that is associated with inspiration that itself is associated with passions, desire to express yourself and commuticate your feelings and a source of entertainment.

    Non from the above does not match with atonal "music" (maybe for some alien species; I find it quite probable) so it does not qualify as music at all. Instead it is a musicians wank.
    This is your opinion. Not fact. (Just clarifying... )

    You're welcome to your opinion, of course, but your tone is too dogmatic, and moreover doesn't help answer - or contribute anything useful to - the question this thread was dealing with.

  7. #67
    Sa Sekhem Sahu MorningStar's Avatar
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    Of course it is my opinion.
    Aside from that you are saying that my post upset you in some way but ragasaraswati calling us who do enjoy atonality "Goldfish" & "wankers" along with the master composers who developed this compositional too "crackheads"
    None of that warranted a comment from you but mine did . . . I then apologise

  8. #68
    Registered User dmsstudios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorningStar
    Of course it is my opinion.
    Aside from that you are saying that my post upset you in some way but ragasaraswati calling us who do enjoy atonality "Goldfish" & "wankers" along with the master composers who developed this compositional too "crackheads"
    None of that warranted a comment from you but mine did . . . I then apologise
    I think JonR was responding to the ridiculous post that ragasaraswati made, which, by the way, is pure nonsense. I wasn't going to say anything, but this guy (no offense) clearly feels safe & cozy in a group-think environment. Not everyone can be an innovator.

    Moving on...
    Dan

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  9. #69
    Sa Sekhem Sahu MorningStar's Avatar
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    Oops . . . I am a moron!!

  10. #70
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Give me a piece of serial music that can change my mind. I really want to but had not had the chance so far.

    And muses where thought as the cause behind insiration to clarify my statement and my tone was comical of course not bashing.

  11. #71
    Carrots!! All_Ľour_Bass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorningStar
    For example Western ears have a hard time hearing Eastern melodies with quarter tones and what not.
    I actually like the sound of quartertones. As for dissonance, I actually perfer somewhat dissonant chords/melodies to completley consonant and resolved ones, like for example some of Slayer's chromatic melodies or Stravinsky's polychords, or Meshuggah's guitar work.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by Chim_Chim
    Be different.

    Do it for the OATMEAL.

  12. #72
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragasaraswati
    Give me a piece of serial music that can change my mind. I really want to but had not had the chance so far.
    I'm not interested in changing your mind. I've heard very little serial music myself, didn't much like it, and don't particularly care either way. But I appreciate (to some extent) the principles and philosophy behind it. (I understand why they made music like that, even though I feel unable to appreciate the results.)

    The idea behind this thread was not whether serial music was any good, but whether its principles can be applied in some way (specifically in improvisation) within tonal music. Whether any of us LIKE 12-tone music or not is beside the point.
    Quote Originally Posted by ragasaraswati
    my tone was comical of course not bashing.
    OK, but it's sometimes hard to perceive an ironic/comical tone just from text, especially if English is not your first language... (Use some smileys... )

  13. #73
    Signal:Noise Ascaris's Avatar
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    Ergh.

    Improvising 12-tone . . . since I love serialistic and in general atonal music, in a now-defunct project (with a great deal of improvisation) in which I played with All Your Bass above, I used a limited form of 12-tone in improvised leads. If you have more mental capacity than the proverbial goldfish, it's actually not hard to improvise a tone row . . . despite what statisticians say about humans only remembering 7 numbers. The only problem is trying to do permutations on the fly . . . I used to spend half an hour writing a few bars of harmonically-dense 12-tone music.
    There're a few cheat-techniques for making up unrelated rows on the fly. Those that we/I used basically consist of taking components of tonal music - chords and scales - and interlocking them to create rows. One that was even easy at high speed was using the two wholetone scales (there really are only two, if you don't give a **** for tonal centers) sequentially - play each of the six notes in one wholetone once, then do the same with the other wholetone. It's slightly more mentally taxing to use combinations of 7-tone scales and the "orange" pentatonics (see orange noise), but perfectly possible.
    As much as AYB's comments about Slayer weren't really topical, if you play enough to become accustomed to Slayer's approach to chromatic tonality (continued by descendants in thrash and death metal . . . Suffocation and the like), not only is it easier to improvise chromatically with tonal centers, some of the non-traditional melodic motion can be inspirational in composing AND improvising twelve-tone rows.

    Just some thoughts.

    And I (at least according to my charts on Last.fm) listen to Schoenberg more than anything else. And the runner-up is my noise band. I don't appreciate people trying to limit art to tonality and "pleasing" things. I find cacophony delightful.

    A compromise: Write a row, and determine a collection of permutations. Memorize the poor, innocent things. Improvise duration, timbre, dynamics, and so forth in an outside (that is, outside of what YOU'RE playing) musical context. That's probably the only effective way of "improvising" with 12-tone. And it's challenging and fun! . . . and it's a good way to exercise creating musical value through elements outside of the pitches you're playing, since those are predetermined.

  14. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascaris
    Ergh.

    There're a few cheat-techniques for making up unrelated rows on the fly. Those that we/I used basically consist of taking components of tonal music - chords and scales - and interlocking them to create rows. One that was even easy at high speed was using the two wholetone scales (there really are only two, if you don't give a **** for tonal centers) sequentially - play each of the six notes in one wholetone once, then do the same with the other wholetone. It's slightly more mentally taxing to use combinations of 7-tone scales and the "orange" pentatonics (see orange noise), but perfectly possible.
    To me this Ascaris's paragraph was what the original question was asking about.

    The motive behind 12 tone /atonal or whatever we want to call it for me is to make all 12 notes more equal by not using repetition. This gives a sense of ambiguousness that is a usefull tool. Symmetric's would be for me a great starting place, because they already have a similar (not the same) quality without even getting to 12 notes. That's also why you don't play a chromatic scale or a circle of 5ths one time thru to sound like this style. You don't want to connect the dots. Not only 2 whole tone scales would work, 4 aug's, 3 Dim7's or 6 tritones would organize the lay of the land from a ambiguous perspective

  15. #75
    I, Galactus oRg's Avatar
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    One thing I heard that help creating a Tone Row on the fly is remembering some combinations of 2 Hexachords or 4 triads that are mutually exclusive. That is, they don't share any notes. Something I've used in the past are 2 minor and 2 major (i.e. Cm, Dm, E, F# = C D# G D F A E G# B F# Bb C#).


    I personally find it easier to remember the combinations of triads and just remembering the flavor of the chord (i.e. major, minor, augmented, diminished) and remembering the interval between the roots of each chord. For example the Cm Dm E F progression has 2 minor chords and 2 major chords each of which has a root note a major 2nd higher than the other.

    Another thing that I found handy is that in order to help make these sound decent, you'll need to be creative with the rhythm. Your using something that has A LOT of tension so to help spread the tension out a bit you'll need some rhythm. Webern made use of this in his Piano Variations.

    Just like anything else you can use a 12-tone segment in an otherwise tonal song.

    P.S.
    For those curious about what atonality and serialism sounds like I've attached a powertab of Anton Webern's Piano Variations Op. 27 - Second Movement. I tabbed it awhile ago and it's been up on powertabs.net for about 2.5 years so far and it's got a 5 star rating (granted only one person ranked it so far :-/ ) but I'm pretty sure it's right.
    v2sw3CUhw6ln3pr6OFck3ma9u6Lw3Xm6l6Ui2Ne5t5TSFDAb8T DOen7g6RZATHCMHPa21s6MSr53Dp3hackerkey

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