I am hoping someone can unpack some ideas for me, which I have never encountered. Or, if you could point me in the direction of some background reading, that would be helpful as well.

I am confused by the following pieces:

  1. "hexatonic", "hexachord"
  2. numbering system: "[0 2 4 5 7 9] etc. (are these just scale degrees?)
  3. notation, such as PC[9] or PC[0]
  4. this: "the abstract prime form is reordered to start on tonic"

closed as too broad by David Bowling, Tim H, Richard, user45266, Dom Apr 4 at 14:37

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    The numbering system looks like semitones to me. Hexatonic just means using six notes, and a hexachord is a six-note chord (it's like pentatonic). I'm not too sure on the rest of it though... Is there any explanation of notation in the front of the book or in an index? – Aric Apr 2 at 23:55
  • Please don't post text as an image; it can't be searched, copy/pasted into answers or read by screen-readers. – Your Uncle Bob Apr 3 at 1:23
  • @YourUncleBob Okay, this would be a much bigger issue on, say, Stack Overflow, than here. But the accesibility concerns mean you're right. My bad. – user45266 Apr 3 at 1:50
  • You're question is about a particular book... can you post a reference for the book? Author, title, ISBN... – Michael Curtis Apr 3 at 14:21

1) Hexatonic - consisting of 6 notes (usually used in reference to scales). Hexachord - a chord consisting of 6 notes. The prefix "hexa-" comes from Ancient Greek, you can find a reference here.

2) Numbering system - semitones. 0 is the tonic (C in the first image), 2 is the following note (D in the same picture), as it is 2 semitones away from 0 (0+2=2).

3) PC - pitch class.

4) "Prime form" is a bit of a shaky concept the value of which I do not fully understand myself, but maybe the link will help you. You might also want to look into some of the more common compositional mutations, like inversion, retrograde or something else set-theory-related. Overall, I think the book seems too tough for you at this stage and you might want to look into something simpler. I did not know or understand most of those concepts myself before I started composing music.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.