Author Topic: Composing techniques  (Read 1435 times)

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Offline orange

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Composing techniques
« on: May 29, 2007, 12:26:07 PM »
I'm studying something about composition techniques of 20th century. Is anyone here familiar with theory of Allen Forte about pitch classes, interval classes. I think the book where he represents this theory is Structure of anotal music.

So, does anyone have so experience using this theory in practice?

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Composing techniques
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2007, 07:10:15 PM »
What Forte did in his book is not a method of composition. Really it's just a means of putting a label on any combination of pitches you might happen to come across. You may know a major or minor chord when you see it, but it may take some analysis to determine whether or not you've got a 6-Z12 set or a 5-30. The book shows you how to analyse nontonal music and break it down into sets, which can be compared by their interval content.

Other theorists have used Forte's set theory to build their own compositional methods. Robert Morris' Composition with Pitch Classes describes one such method. Be warned though, it's heavily mathematical, and its pages are strewn with equations worthy of a calculus textbook.

I use a much simpler application of Forte's set theory. My current music is built entirely from a set called 5-29 in Forte's book. I find the harmonic consitency of using only one set gives the music a harmonic coherence analogous to the ever present triad of tonal music.

Offline orange

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Re: Composing techniques
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2007, 09:33:26 PM »
set gives the music a harmonic coherence analogous to the ever present triad of tonal music.

Here I don't understand how can these sets be conected, used with triads of tonal music? ??? Are you building some tonal triads from the set you have chosen to write in?

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Composing techniques
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2007, 05:32:14 AM »
Here I don't understand how can these sets be conected, used with triads of tonal music? ??? Are you building some tonal triads from the set you have chosen to write in?

I am trying to expand the idea of tonality, but not with triads. My most recent compositions use the 5-29 set exclusively. My reasoning is that the harmonic coherence of tonal music is produced by the near-exclusive use of the major/minor triad (set 3-11 in Forte's book, by the way).