Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20

Thread: Form and tonality! DISCUSSION

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Not on TC!
    Posts
    1,369
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Form and tonality! DISCUSSION

    This thread is about the use of form and tonality in composing, I think this fits better in this area than the young composers section but here I go: (also, I'm not a beginner so this isn't relating to starting composing)

    Here are the questions for discussion:

    1 What use of form and tonality (Or atonal 12 tone rows etc.) is required to make a piece sound good to your ears?

    2 How do you develop your themes and motifs?

    3 For those who compose atonal music: Do you use systems or do you compose by feeling or a mental picture?

    4 What forms to use and how strict are you to them?


    this is just a start but I'll have more questions soon

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    10,588
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    44

    Default

    1: No requirements there. I only require that something be well-composed and well-thought out.

    2: Changes in rhythm, contour, harmony, accent, and so forth. I don't find it interesting to simply transpose constantly.

    3: I don't agree with the term atonal*, but some who do have said some of the music I've written fits that term. I don't ever compose on the basis of stories or programmatic elements; I focus on musical expression and musical development.

    4: I've tried out a number of things, but I only write in strict forms for the sake of exercises rather than for more serious compositions.

    *Basically for the reason that this term really doesn't say anything about how the music is constructed, and as such is unhelpful as a descriptive term. If taken literally, with tonal used as people often use it, it's false. So-called atonal music is just music with a chromatic, non-triadic basis. It doesn't say anything, beyond that, about which harmonies are used or about how they are used, and to call Xenakis and Sessions both atonal as if they had as much in common as the tonal music of Bach and Brahms did is misleading at best and utter nonsense at worst.
    Last edited by Mahlerian; May-15-2016 at 16:35.

  3. Likes Xenakiboy liked this post
  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Not on TC!
    Posts
    1,369
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Thanks for the response so far. My opinion on 'atonal music' is the same, but like the term "classical music", it give a general idea.


    I have a question relating to composing now:

    5 How do get yourself out of a 'ostinato loop'. Sometimes when I'm at a creative low, I find ideas only coming in the form of ostinato's (melodies over repeating patterns of chords). No doubt others have come accross this at time, [B] how would you deal with this?

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    10,588
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    44

    Default

    5: I wouldn't say that happens to me, because I always try to think in terms of contrapuntally separate voices, which would be my suggestion: if you're thinking too much in terms of repeated chords + harmony, break the chords apart and start thinking in separate voices. If I have a vice, it's to keep the texture too thin when I might want something fuller or (if I'm writing at the computer) be stuck in thinking with the barlines rather than in terms of overarching rhythmic phrases.

    For the latter, I need to get away from the computer and go back to sketching on paper without barlines.

  6. Likes Xenakiboy, JosefinaHW liked this post
  7. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Not on TC!
    Posts
    1,369
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    I think that when I get stuck, I'll write a fugue to get my polyphonic brain working!

  8. Likes Samuel Kristopher liked this post
  9. #6
    Senior Member Samuel Kristopher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    St. Petersburg, Russia
    Posts
    201
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I find fugue writing to be a good break to take when I start wearing the wick of my other compositions too thin I'm not very good at fugues but they are challenging and fun.

  10. Likes Xenakiboy liked this post
  11. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1,129
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel Kristopher View Post
    I find fugue writing to be a good break to take when I start wearing the wick of my other compositions too thin I'm not very good at fugues but they are challenging and fun.
    I like composing fugues, not just as an exercise. I recommend a basically Baroque style but with a freer use of dissonance, like say in Gombert and some other Renaissance composers, and I recommend not considering fourths as dissonances at all since they're acoustically among the most consonant intervals.

    This opens up more possibilities in using thematic material and how you use it, effectively allowing you to compose things others can't; it also just makes composing interesting fugues less of a head-ache, and also makes you sound (very) different from a generic Baroque fugue.
    Last edited by Chordalrock; May-16-2016 at 10:48.

  12. Likes Samuel Kristopher, JosefinaHW liked this post
  13. #8
    Senior Member Samuel Kristopher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    St. Petersburg, Russia
    Posts
    201
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You phrased it better than I could have Chordal Actually I think I take more inspiration in fugue-writing from Shostakovich than Bach, since some of his fugues are fantastically dissonant and I was very interested in how he managed to write dissonant fugues without sounding completely atonal, or rather breaking the harmonies.

    As another challenge, I've tried writing fugues with fixed phrases, such as themes from soundtracks (especially John Williams). His themes often use interesting or unusual shifts in key or scales, so that forces the answer and counter-subjects to be unusual as well and that makes things a bit more difficult!

  14. Likes Chordalrock liked this post
  15. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    15,970
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    139

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Xenakiboy View Post

    1 What use of form and tonality (Or atonal 12 tone rows etc.) is required to make a piece sound good to your ears?
    The "best use" of creating music using serial or set materials would be to seek out and emphasize the harmonic aspects, or results, of those materials. This would make it "sound good" to the average ear. Harmonic qualities are based on consonance/dissonance, and since there are only 12 notes in the octave, there are a limited number of these degrees of sonance.
    Of course, the harmonic effects I speak of might not be the artist's goal. I don't think it was always Boulez' or Webern's goal, since they were Expressionists in search of the extremes.
    I think rhythmic identity is important in making music sound comprehensible and meaningful, but again, this might not be the goal. Some artists use sound to create 'labyrinths' in which the listener is lost, and this is the intent. As in Barraque, "meaning" is a meta-structural aspect, and "meaninglessness" is the localized effect, in keeping with an existentialist or nihilistic approach.

  16. #10
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    15,970
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    139

    Default

    One way of getting more harmonic quality from 12-tone is to do what Schoenberg did in his Fourth String Quartet and use the concept of "combinatoriality." It's simple once you get it.

    The row is divided into two hexachords (six notes in each). Then you find out which other hexachords will combine with it. If your hexachord is A-B-C-D-E, then B-C-E-D-A will combine with it, and so on. Notice that this means the CONTENT is the same, not the order. So in essence we are using "unordered sets" which, like scales, can be used to create more harmonic results. This is because 1.) there are fewer notes (6 instead of 12) and 2.) they are based on content, not order.

  17. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Not on TC!
    Posts
    1,369
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Interesting seeing this old thread from when I joined, I was going through a bit of musical depression and wanted to get an idea of how other composers' (Talkclassical composers) minds work. Luckily I'm far out of that ostinato rut, (though I love ostinatos). I don't see myself as a struggling composer, I see myself getting stronger the more questions I ask and help I seek, but I've learned to take my time rather than rush.
    I've started my official piano Sonata cycle (though they will only be Sonatas superficially eg. like Boulez), but I don't feel the need for strict traditional forms. My 'form', comes from the barrel containing Bartok, Schoenberg, Messiaen, Xenakis, Schnittke, Webern.
    I don't know where I'm going with this now, it's not coherent enough....

  18. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Not on TC!
    Posts
    1,369
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Advice

    Also, creative exercises are very beneficial, writing fugues (but not for a serious outcome) and 12 tone row pieces can help a lot. Use the 12 tone row system as not a set of rules but rather a puzzle to get yourself musical active and problem solving!

  19. #13
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,362
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    HI Xenakiboy:

    I have written fugues and other pieces as exercises. For fun I wrote this little fugue on a theme by Xenakiboy:

    https://soundcloud.com/gwyon/fugue


    And after a TC discussion on church modes, and Phrygian mode in particular, I wrote a little motet on a psalm text in Phrygian mode in early 16thc style. The performance, however, is with textless choral samples, which is just as well since the Council of Trent would have condemned my text-setting as unintelligible in any case.

    https://soundcloud.com/gwyon/sicut-cervus


    In general, when I compose for real, I prefer to not understand or be able to explain exactly what I am doing or why, on the theory that if it were clear to me, I would not be trying hard enough. Got that idea from Prokofiev.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Aug-02-2016 at 21:42.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

  20. Likes Xenakiboy liked this post
  21. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Not on TC!
    Posts
    1,369
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    HI Xenakiboy:

    I have written fugues and other pieces as exercises. For fun I wrote this little fugue on a theme by Xenakiboy:

    https://soundcloud.com/gwyon/fugue


    And after a TC discussion on church modes, and Phrygian mode in particular, I wrote a little motet on a psalm text in Phrygian mode in early 16thc style. The performance, however, is with textless choral samples, which is just as well since the Council of Trent would have condemned my text-setting as unintelligible in any case.

    https://soundcloud.com/gwyon/sicut-cervus


    In general, when I compose for real, I prefer to not understand or be able to explain exactly what I am doing or why, on the theory that if it were clear to me, I would not be trying hard enough. Got that idea from Prokofiev.
    Just found your comment now, gotta say I'm very impressed by those pieces man!!
    I also composed a short Fugue on my theme (it was for string quartet though and featured the second theme 2)

    I do agree about composing from instinct (so to speak), theory is the thing that makes it possible for you to be able to blindly let a piece blossom, I think there is a real honesty in works conceived in such a way.
    Last edited by Xenakiboy; Aug-13-2016 at 01:56.
    Classical music isn't dead, it's more alive than it's ever been. It's just not on MTV.

  22. Likes EdwardBast liked this post
  23. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    39,987
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Xenakiboy View Post
    Just found your comment now, gotta say I'm very impressed by those pieces man!!
    I also composed a short Fugue on my theme (it was for string quartet though and featured the second theme 2)

    I do agree about composing from instinct (so to speak), theory is the thing that makes it possible for you to be able to blindly let a piece blossom, I think there is a real honesty in works conceived in such a way.

    You sure know how to keep us in suspense .

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Tonality Is God
    By millionrainbows in forum Religious Music
    Replies: 129
    Last Post: Aug-28-2014, 16:57
  2. Romanticism: Against Tonality?
    By millionrainbows in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: Dec-20-2013, 22:24
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: Apr-02-2013, 16:47
  4. The desire for tonality
    By some guy in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 390
    Last Post: Feb-01-2013, 00:28
  5. I can listen to tonality again!
    By ComposerOfAvantGarde in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 48
    Last Post: Jul-22-2012, 09:33

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •