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#1July 5th, 2005 · 08:34 PM
10 threads / 8 songs
39 posts
Twelve-Tone Music
My experiences in listening to twelve-tone music have not been pleasant.  It seems to me that this is the stuff that new composers turn to as a last resort once they've realized that they can't do anything better than what's already been done in traditional classical music.

Can anyone disagree with me here and recommend some quality twelve-tone music for me to check out?
#2July 6th, 2005 · 12:43 AM
74 threads / 5 songs
441 posts
United States of America
I would love to hear some suggestions as well

Not sure whether this is 12-tone, but sounds very "middle-eastern" Jeff Buckly: Dream Brother
#3July 11th, 2005 · 07:50 AM
7 threads / 3 songs
47 posts
United Kingdom
whats twelve tone? im assuming its not like 12 bar??
#4July 13th, 2005 · 10:29 AM
10 threads / 8 songs
39 posts
An official description of twelve-tone music can be found here.

It's basically a form of contemporary classical music that tries to create music based on a structure which tends to produce music... that sometimes sounds more like noise than music.  Recently I heard this twelve-tone piece called The Seventh Face of the Cube in concert, for which the composer spoke beforehand, and the composer told this whole story about what was happening in the piece, and, in addition to sounding like audial excrement, the piece did not very well illustrate the story.
#5July 26th, 2005 · 08:32 AM
2 threads
4 posts
Well, twelve tone music is a "new" concept developed by the German musician Shorenberg. This is a different aethetic approach to composition. It could be thought as an evolution of technique. This music may sound a complete disorder without harmony. But in fact it is the result of mathematical operations made mixing the 12 tones of western music. Should we think of this music as a revolution, that as many other revolutions , is hard to accept in the beginning?

I think the new conceptualization of art is going on every place, remember pop art for example, or the new "performance" made by plastic artists. The art works from late xxth and xxist centuries are completely different from the classical schools (renacentist, romantic, neoclassic, etc). Who knows in these days what ART actually is? I can harldy tell
#6July 27th, 2005 · 02:04 PM
11 threads / 2 songs
69 posts
United Kingdom
What you guys are talking about is serialism, where you have a phrase in which all of the notes in the chromatic scale are used once. You can then have  a inversion, retrograde, and retrograde inversion, where you flip the piece upside down, reverse it, and do both together, respectively. Generally speaking, it sounds terrible, and i can't believe some people actually like this kind of stuff (oh yes!) But it can be kinda fun, when you have the four different tone rows, and have four different instruments playing them at the same time.

*final note:You are allowed to have different rhythms*

Oh, and i think that the people who like the music are in a minority group, so i don't think you'll get any good pieces to listen to.

What is better though, is if you're someone who doesn't like it, but you compose a piece, because you're prone to want to make it sound pleasing to the ear.

Hope this clears things up
#7July 27th, 2005 · 06:34 PM
31 threads / 1 songs
434 posts
United States of America
pure crockery
bah, pure crockery is what i say!

music should be created from the seat of the soul

it should come from the passion within, not mathematical formulas

there is a reason this music sounds like crap...

cuz it's coming out of some anal retentive intellectual

bah! i say again... bah!
#8July 27th, 2005 · 11:27 PM
1 threads
13 posts
lol way to shut them down entheon!

ive never heard this type of music b4 but i tend to agree with entheon music is natural dont taint it with things im forced to do at school
#9July 28th, 2005 · 02:07 AM
8 threads / 4 songs
246 posts
United Kingdom
well done JonnyC - you must have done music GCSE at school!! (note to americans ... GCSEs are the UK qualifications for 16 year olds)

yeah - serialism sounds crap.  thats agreed.  the top german feller had 2 students who messed around with it even more.  Wern went and screwed it up even more, but Webern made it sound more musical - its worth checking out his stuff as a good middle ground (not diehard serialism but with that sort of vibe).  hope this is of interest.
#10August 12th, 2005 · 11:01 AM
6 threads / 4 songs
33 posts
United States of America
12 tone music alone is horrible. But you can actually hear lots of influences in twelve tone in music like jazz, where scale changes bring anomalies for your ear. Example:

Bsus, Asus, Fsus, Ebsus

If you play the A major scale on the B and A chords, say going to the fourth, then the third on the scale (D, C#), you can modulate to the Eb dorian and play the sixth (C). These three notes, only a single semitone apart each, create tension that is related to twelve tone music.
#11August 13th, 2005 · 12:03 AM
20 posts
I've never heard 12-tone songs before, but I've experienced 24-tone songs from Indian folklore (that's quite disharmonic and special, I don't like this type of music, even if I like the sythar sound). It must be in the same style.
#12August 25th, 2005 · 12:26 PM
8 threads / 7 songs
96 posts
I have tried writing some 12-tone stuff in the last year, and tried to write it in such a way that it would sound melodic. Don Thompson, a bass player and teacher from Toronto, has written a handful of super-melodic 12-tone tunes that are really quite listenable. Anyway, for the record, here's one I wrote where the 12-tone row is in the bass. Then I built chords around it and then a melody.


...try playing through it. Has some really crunchy bits and some really pretty bits.
Yes, a totally academic exercise, but it made me do new things and has influenced the way I think musically about what I write since then...
#13August 27th, 2005 · 07:36 AM
I'm reaching a bit far back here, but here it goes. Stefos, it's Schoenburg, and he was Austrian. 12 tone music reaches back from before there was a point in melody. It's really only a device to dull the melody and to intensify rhythm. It's almost all about rhythm. When there's a harsher, angrier rhythm, you simply use more dissonant and complex chords. Not many things can represent anger better than a strangely voiced, 5th inversion 13 chord being played at a fortissimo with pummeling staccatto syncopations over frequently changing time signatures. I promise.
#14January 15th, 2006 · 10:39 PM
7 threads / 5 songs
20 posts
United States of America
I hate it, but I'll defend it
I think FortressFromGuilt, XenoxX and Entheon are missing the mark, though hitting on smething important.

12-tone music sounds like crap to most Western ears, true.  But most people with perfect pitch and audially perfect memories seem to love it (I imagine because they can actually hear it), and also those who have studied it for a long, long time.  The bottom line is that it's a type of music that's made for a different type of audience, one that is able to understand it.

Try this for an analogy - some eastern musician comes to America to study music and finds that he can't stand most Western music because it sounds godawful.  Most of us can't hear the semitones in his daily intonations (most Muslim calls to prayer have a guy singing semitones, so if you've heard that before, you know a little about what it sounds like).  But mathematically, his music is actually more correct than ours, and 12-tone music is more correct than both systems.  The only way we can call 12-tone music bad is to say that it sounds awful, but many Indian or eastern musicians have the same complaint about our music.  Their brains are used to a different system than ours.

Eastern musicians with no experience in Western music aren't the ones to judge it, though, because they're not the ones who understand it.  We are.  And the same goes for 12-tone music.  Granted, I hate it, but I can at least see that the math and the order to the tones are both solid.  That's as far as I'll ever understand it - I'm not part of the audience it's able to reach, except for one piece that I was required to study for a week.  After a week of listening, when I had enough of it memorized to know what was coming, I started to like it.

Or try it this way - we understand our music because it follows a general pattern of chords and tones, and though we can't guess exactly what's coming next, we have a good idea.  And if something is too far off the mark, we usually hate the song.  We're always prepped for what might come next.  With 12-tone, we have no earthly idea, and can't follow it unless we can remember exactly what came before with perfect accuracy, which is why most of us can't stand it.

It actually is about the tone, not just the rhythm.
#15January 17th, 2006 · 03:28 PM
117 threads / 55 songs
1,540 posts
Can anybody tell me some Twelve-tone song or author, so then I can look for in on Internet and see what's this about?

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