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Thread: Have we already exhaustively explored all the possibilities of tonality?

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    Default Have we already exhaustively explored all the possibilities of tonality?

    ...before moving into atonality.

    Please discuss

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Well, no. We never even exhaustively explored all the possibilities of modality. But maybe not every possibility should be explored, only the compelling ones.

    (Dang! I'm starting to sound like an old pedant.)

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    We never did move into atonality.

    It's just not a thing. What is called atonality is in fact an expansion of the possibilities of tonality.

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    Sometimes I wonder if Bach, Mozart, Beethoven had been the generation right after Brahms, Debussy, and Mahler, what would they have done?

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentio View Post
    Sometimes I wonder if Bach, Mozart, Beethoven had been the generation right after Brahms, Debussy, and Mahler, what would they have done?
    Why not look to the group of composers who worshiped the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven for your answer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Why not look to the group of composers who worshiped the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven for your answer?
    Well, they are not the trinity themselves, so they will react differently

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentio View Post
    Well, they are not the trinity themselves, so they will react differently
    The trinity could only exist in their own time. If they came after they would not be the same people because the circumstances that contributed to them becoming who they were would not occur.

    If they did turn out to be composers I don't think they would do anything too different from what you see composers doing today. Even with brilliant composers the music still sounds of its time - they did not invent their styles out of nothing. The music is built on whatever came before it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    The trinity could only exist in their own time. If they came after they would not be the same people because the circumstances that contributed to them becoming who they were would not occur.

    If they did turn out to be composers I don't think they would do anything too different from what you see composers doing today. Even with brilliant composers the music still sounds of its time - they did not invent their styles out of nothing. The music is built on whatever came before it.
    Is this the old "historically necessary and inevitable" theory of artistic evolution rearing its head, or just something that looks suspiciously like it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Is this the old "historically necessary and inevitable" theory of artistic evolution rearing its head, or just something that looks suspiciously like it?
    I didn't say anything about what is necessary or inevitable in music - simply pointing out that if you look at Bach, Beethoven or Mozart's (or any other famous composers music) it sounds of its time. Some composers add more new elements than others, but it is pretty easy to detect the influences.

    The difference today is due to many factors we have a wider range of styles being explored at once - you have many composers that are more conservative and working within older forms and many who are doing newer things. I'm just pointing out that if Bach or Mozart or Beethoven existed today and were making music - maybe it would be brilliant - but it would sound similar to something that is already being done right now.

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    We have already addressed the issue of 20th century tonality in many other threads. For example: Retro classial music of the 21st century?

    Also in many post and other threads it has been stated that Schoenberg never meant atonality to replace to tonality.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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    I don't believe we can ever say what would have happened if what happened hadn't happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentio View Post
    Have we already exhaustively explored all the possibilities of tonality?

    ...before moving into atonality.

    Please discuss
    No! With this many monkeys, sitting in front of that many typewriters (computer music programs), and creating random music data, I'm sure that one of them will come up with a new masterpiece in a thousand years or so.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

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    As long as there are 15-year-old girls in pink bedrooms talking on phones, there will be tonality.

    As long as there are 15-year-old boys full of angst and insecurity, there will be tonality.

    As long as there are men dying in wars, there will be tonal fanfares to commemorate them.

    As long as mankind accepts clichés instead of real answers, there will be tonality.

    As long as there is a God in heaven, there will be tonality.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    I fear we might have exhausted the possibilities of the tonality vs. atonality debate.
    Last edited by Dim7; Aug-05-2015 at 18:34.

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    The less notes, the more definite the tonality. Therefore, if "less is more," we can't "exhaust" the possibilities of an ever-shrinking system. We are headed towards "one note" as we get nearer to ultimate tonality. La Mont Young is already there.

    Atonality, on the other hand, has an ever-increasing index of possibilities, if we divide the octave further than 12 notes. We can have 19-tone, 31-tone, or 56-tone music. Just think of the possibilities!
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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