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42

First, a key is only really a basis. You can have an F# in a piece written in C Major without having the piece "switch" keys. Second, keys are defined arbitrarily. Sure there is theory about what sounds good and that sort of thing, but at the end of the day it's just a group of notes that's just as valid as any other group of notes. This is made clear by ...


31

A drum solo is a song without a key.


12

To add to the other answers, there is also dodecaphony, or twelve-tone technique, a method to compose music explicitly without a key by trying to give equal weight to all 12 notes of the western scale. (Look ma, no key) Another example: YouTube: Arnold Schönberg: Suite op. 25 / Musette Surely sounds interesting, but this kind of music is definitely more ...


12

"Key" implies "tonality." The name of a key corresponds to a pitch class that is considered the "focus" of a key or section. Is it possible to compose a melody without a key? Of course. That was the whole point of the Second Viennese School. Of course, it is possible not to be tonal (which implies a specific framework of relationships surrounding one ...


9

Possible, yes. Recommended, probably not. As other answers have stated, it is certainly possible to write a song that does not conform to defined tonal "scales" like the Ionian mode (major scale) and related modes, pentatonic scales, and variations like harmonic and melodic minor (which differ from "natural minor", the Aeolian mode, in a couple subtle ways ...


5

They are both right and here's why. There are two different algorithms for determining the prime form which are Forte's and Rahn's. In most cases they are the same, however there are a handful that are not the same. The one's you've noted are not the same with both algorithms. The breakdown of them are as follows: Pitch Class Set Forte Prime ...


3

As the PC Set Calculator you link to shows, [0, 1, 2, 3, 5] is the Prime Inversion of [0, 2, 3, 4, 5]. However, as [0, 1, 2, 3, 5] has a lower interval at the bottom, it is considered the correct prime form of these two equivalent PC Sets. Another page on the website you link to gives a rigorous method for determining the Prime Form of any PC Set. The last ...


3

Almost by definition, atonality implies that you aren't following a rigid chord and scale pairing structure. Atonal music doesn't have a key or a central tone. In the context of jazz "atonal" is often used to refer to a song that has no coherent, classic chord structure (i.e. there's no II IV V I type structure in play for the song). The chords follow each ...


2

There are songs that might as well not have a key, with so many accidentals that it basically becomes tonal soup. However, even those have a key to start with. A key signature simply tells you eight of the twelve normal tones the song is written to use. You wouldn't be able to write down a song in normal notation without establishing what tone the spaces ...


2

It happens all the time. At the risk of borrowing from one of my recent contributions - the tritone sound pulls a listener's ear in a meaningful way to a tone that's one half-step up from the involved notes. If we play a C-F# interval, music theory tells us that the most satisfying resolution to this interval will either be (enharmonically) to Db or to G. ...


2

I think you forgot to test inversions -- you should measure the distance between the first two and last two classes, and find the form that packs the smaller intervals to the left. If you invert [0 2 3 4 5], you get [0 1 2 3 5], which succeeds in packing the shorter distance to the left of the form (starts with a distance of 1 instead of 2).


1

Serialism refers to a number of compositional techniques or styles, the most well-known of which is 12-note serialism. Generally, serialism means music which is governed by one or more series of values (often pitch, but sometimes dynamics, tempi, rhythm) which are reused throughout the piece to give a sense of unity. In 12-note serialism, a specific ...



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