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Serial or free atonal? (Game)

7511 Views 39 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  millionrainbows
Thanks to dim7's suggestion, this is a game. Serial or free atonal?

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It's probably the easiest to follow serial piece ever if it is serial.
No, that's this, which is, after all, child's play:

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You certainly can write otherwise quite traditional and lyrical 12-tone music, but I suppose in such context the method may seem like a straightjacket. Is this why the method is associated with those extreme leaps and jagged rhythms?
No, that's because those things were already a part of Schoenberg's style (where they derived from Beethoven, Mahler, and Wagner). I find Schoenberg's music is very lyrical, though, in the sense that all of the lines sing and have melodic contour.
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I can hear Wagner and Mahler throughout this.
There's actually no Mahler influence in the Gurrelieder (except in the orchestration of Part 3), contrary to popular belief. When he composed the work in 1900-01, he had only heard Mahler's First Symphony and despised it as worthless. He had subsequently declined the opportunity to hear the Vienna premiere of the Fourth because he was convinced that it would itself be terrible. Only with a performance of the Third a few years later did he convert, and according to a gushing letter he wrote to Mahler after the event, the piece struck him "like a thunderbolt." After that he revered Mahler as the most perfect composer of his age.

What one might hear in Gurrelieder, however, is the influence of Strauss, which is prominent in his works, I feel, all the way up through the Five Orchestral Pieces.
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