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Date: 01.10.2017

Serial Theater (1959)

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It may also be considered, "a philosophy of life Weltanschauung , a way of relating the human mind to the world and creating a completeness when dealing with a subject" Bandur , 5.

However, serialism is not by itself a system of composition, nor is it a style. Neither is pitch serialism necessarily incompatible with tonality, though it is most often used as a means of composing atonal music Griffiths , Twelve-tone serialism[ edit ] Serialism of the first type is most specifically defined as the structural principle according to which a recurring series of ordered elements normally a set —or row —of pitches or pitch classes are used in order or manipulated in particular ways to give a piece unity.

Serialism is often broadly applied to all music written in what Arnold Schoenberg called "The Method of Composing with Twelve Notes related only to one another" Schoenberg , ; Anon.

It is sometimes used more specifically to apply only to music where at least one element other than pitch is subjected to being treated as a row or series. In such usages post-Webernian serialism will be used to denote works that extend serial techniques to other elements of music.

Other terms used to make the distinction are twelve-note serialism for the former, and integral serialism for the latter. A row may be assembled pre-compositionally perhaps to embody particular intervallic or symmetrical properties , or it may be derived from a spontaneously invented thematic or motivic idea. The structure of the row, however, does not in itself define the structure of a composition, which requires development of a comprehensive strategy.

The choice of available strategies will of course depend on the relationships contained in a row class, and rows may be constructed with an eye to producing the relationships needed to form desired strategies Mead , — The basic set may have additional restrictions, such as the requirement that it use each interval only once.

Non-twelve-tone serialism[ edit ] The series is not an order of succession, but indeed a hierarchy—which may be independent of this order of succession. Stockhausen, for example, in early serial compositions such as Kreuzspiel and Formel , "advances in unit sections within which a preordained set of pitches is repeatedly reconfigured This provides an exemplary demonstration of that logical principle of seriality: The twelve-tone series loses its imperative function as a prohibiting, regulating, and patterning authority; its working-out is abandoned through its own constant-frequent presence: Prohibited intervals, like the octave, and prohibited successional relations, such as premature note repetitions, frequently occur, although obscured in the dense contexture.

The dodecaphonic series loses its significance as a concrete model of shape or a well-defined collection of concrete shapes is played out. And the chromatic total remains active only, and provisionally, as a general reference. Sabbe , In the s Pousseur took this a step further, applying a consistent set of predefined transformations to pre-existent music.

In his opera Votre Faust Your Faust, —68 Pousseur used a large number of different quotations, themselves arranged into a "scale" for serial treatment, so as to bring coherence and order to the work. This "generalised" serialism in the strongest possible sense aims not to exclude any musical phenomena, no matter how heterogenous, in order "to control the effects of tonal determinism, dialectize its causal functions, and overcome any academic prohibitions, especially the fixing of an anti-grammar meant to replace some previous one" Bosseur , 60— At about the same time, Stockhausen began using serial methods to integrate a variety of musical sources from recorded examples of folk and traditional music from around the world in his electronic composition Telemusik , and from national anthems in Hymnen — He extended this serial "polyphony of styles" in a series of "process-plan" works in the late s, as well as later in portions of Licht , the cycle of seven operas he composed between and Kohl , 97 et passim.

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History of serial music[ edit ] Before World War II[ edit ] In the late 19th and early 20th century, composers began to struggle against the ordered system of chords and intervals known as "functional tonality ". Composers such as Debussy and Strauss found differing ways of stretching the limits of the tonal system in order to accommodate their ideas. After a brief period of free atonality, Arnold Schoenberg and others began exploring tone rows, in which an ordering of the twelve pitches of the equal tempered chromatic scale is used as the source material of a composition.

This ordered set, often called a row, allowed for new forms of expression and unlike free atonality the expansion of underlying structural organizing principles without recourse to common practice harmony Delahoyde n. Schoenberg was the composer most decisively involved in devising and demonstrating the fundamentals of twelve-tone serialism, though it is clear it is not the work of just one musician Whittall , 1.

Theorists such as George Perle codified serial systems, and his text Serial Composition and Atonality became a standard work on the origins of serial composition in the work of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. The serialization of rhythm , dynamics , and other elements of music was partly fostered by the work of Olivier Messiaen and his analysis students, including Karel Goeyvaerts and Boulez, in post-war Paris.

Instead of a recurring, referential row, "each musical component is subjected to control by a series of numerical proportions" Morgan , 3.

In Europe, the style of some serial as well as non-serial music of the early s emphasized the determination of all parameters for each note independently, often resulting in widely spaced, isolated "points" of sound, an effect called first in German " punktuelle Musik" "pointist" or "punctual music" , then in French "musique ponctuelle", but quickly confused with " pointillistic " German "pointillistische", French "pointilliste" the familiar term associated with the densely packed dots in paintings of Seurat , despite the fact that the conception was at the opposite extreme Stockhausen and Frisius , Stockhausen described the final synthesis in this manner: The stars are organized in a serial way.

Whenever you look at a certain star sign you find a limited number of elements with different intervals. Previously Stravinsky had used series of notes without rhythmic or harmonic implications Shatzkin Because many of the basic techniques of serial composition have analogs in traditional counterpoint, uses of inversion, retrograde and retrograde inversion from before the war are not necessarily indicative of Stravinsky adopting Schoenbergian techniques.

Over the course of the s he used procedures related to Messiaen, Webern and Berg. While it is difficult to label each and every work as "serial" in the strict definition, every major work of the period has clear uses and references to its ideas.

During this period, the concept of serialism influenced not only new compositions but also the scholarly analysis of the classical masters. Adding to their professional tools of sonata form and tonality , scholars began to analyze previous works in the light of serial techniques; for example they found the use of row technique in previous composers going back to Mozart and Beethoven Jalowetz , ; Keller , passim.

Ruth Crawford Seeger is credited with extending serial controls to parameters other than pitch and to formal planning as early as —33 Tick Reactions to and against serialism[ edit ] the first time I ever heard Webern in a concert performance …[t]he impression it made on me was the same as I was to experience a few years later when … I first laid eyes on a Mondriaan canvas Goeyvaerts , 39 Some music theorists have criticized serialism on the basis that the compositional strategies employed are often incompatible with the way information is extracted by the human mind from a piece of music.

Ruwet specifically names three works as exempt from his criticism: In response, Pousseur questioned the equivalence made by Ruwet between phoneme and the single note. This was achieved, amongst other things, by the development of the concept of "groups", which allows structural relationships to be defined not only between individual notes but also at higher and higher levels, up to the overall form of a piece. This is "a structural method par excellence", and a sufficiently simple conception that it remains easily perceptible Pousseur , —, — Pousseur also points out that serial composers were the first to recognize and attempt to move beyond the lack of differentiation within certain pointillist works Campbell , Later writers have continued both lines of reasoning.

Within the community of modern music, exactly what constituted serialism was also a matter of debate. The conventional English usage is that the word "serial" applies to all twelve-tone music, which is a subset of serial music, and it is this usage that is generally intended in reference works.

Nevertheless, a large body of music exists that is called "serial" but does not employ note-rows at all, let alone twelve-tone technique, e.

When serialism is not equated with twelve-tone technique, a contributing problem is that the word "serial" is seldom if ever defined. Nevertheless, there are many published analyses of individual pieces in which the term is used, though examples are merely pointed out and the actual meaning is skated around Koenig , Theory of twelve-tone serial music[ edit ] Main article: Twelve-tone technique The vocabulary of serialism eventually became rooted in set theory, and uses a seemingly quasi-mathematical vocabulary to describe how the basic sets are manipulated to produce the final result.

Musical set theory is often used to analyze and compose serial music, but may also be used to study tonal music and nonserial atonal music. This "basic" row is then used to create permutations, that is, rows derived from the basic set by reordering its elements. The row may be used to produce a set of intervals, or a composer may have wanted to use a particular succession of intervals, from which the original row was created.

A row that uses all of the intervals in their ascending form once is an all-interval row. In addition to permutations, the basic row may have some set of notes derived from it, which is used to create a new row, these are derived sets. Because there are tonal chord progressions that use all twelve notes, it is possible to create pitch rows with very strong tonal implications, and even to write tonal music using twelve-tone technique.

To serialize other elements of music, a system quantifying an identifiable element must be created or defined this is called " parametrization ", after the term in mathematics. For example, if duration is to be serialized, then a set of durations must be specified.

If tone colour timbre is to be serialized, then a set of separate tone colours must be identified, and so on.

Serialism - Wikipedia

The selected set or sets, their permutations and derived sets form the basic material with which the composer works. Composition using twelve-tone serial methods focuses on each appearance of the collection of twelve chromatic notes, called an aggregate.

Sets of more or fewer pitches, or of elements other than pitch may be treated analogously. The principle is that in a row, no element of the aggregate should be reused until all of the other members have been used, and each member must appear only in its place in the series.

This rule is violated in numerous works still termed "serial". A subset is self-complementing if it contains half of the set and its complement is also a permutation of the original subset. This is most commonly seen with hexachords or six-note segments from a basic tone row. A hexachord that is self-complementing for a particular permutation is referred to as prime combinatorial. A hexachord that is self-complementing for all of the canonic operations—Inversion, Retrograde and Retrograde Inversion—is referred to as all-combinatorial.

The composer then presents the aggregate. If there are multiple serial sets, or if several parameters are associated with the same set, then a presentation will have these values calculated. Large-scale design may be achieved through the use of combinatorial devices, for example, subjecting a subset of the basic set to a series of combinatorial devices.