# Questions tagged [atonal]

Music that does not have a recognizable key center, which does not make use of common-practice, consonant chords in recognizable chord progressions, and which does not follow the common practice of cadence and resolution

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### Is it possible to write a song without a key?

"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no ...
5k views

### What is an atonal mode?

I got an album by Ornette Coleman and Pat Methany, "X", and on the linear notes it talks about atonal experiments within the song structures. Are there scales and chord progressions that go along with ...
2k views

### Why did composers write atonally?

Can anyone tell me the best justifications for writing atonally by the composers who did so? Did anyone, including Schoenberg, explain what "freeing the dissonance" means? Does it imply that he ...
2k views

### Fundamental and In-Depth Music Theory for an Absolute Beginner [closed]

I know nothing about music theory, but I have been playing the guitar for over 5 years and have been only working with tabs. I want to learn music theory from scratch, fundamentally and meticulously. ...
839 views

### Writing a simple 12-tone row

A few days ago my instructor taught me the basis of the twelve-tone system and taught me how to write a dodecaphonic row and its retrograde, inversion, and the inversion of retrograde. Now I have no ...
502 views

### Rahn Atonal Prime Form Confusion

A review via the mark I eyeball of the prime form tables in "Basic Atonal Theory" (Rahn, 1980) versus modern software calculations of the prime form yields some differences; are these errors in ...
370 views

### Is there a way to determine a set's prime form when given its interval vector?

Typically, we use a pitch-class set's prime form to determine the interval vector. But is there an algorithm that lets us go the other way? In other words, given a set's interval vector, can we ...
532 views

### Learning the concept of Serialism from its basics - where should I start from?

I am completely new to the concept of Serialism. A music theory workbook I have only mentions about the concept in short, with an example of Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra. It also mentions ...
465 views

### When to use flat or sharp in atonal music / accidentals rules for atonality?

In this example, Einojuhani Rautavaara sometimes uses flat and sometimes uses sharp in some chords. Once it's atonal music, what're the rules for sharps and flats?
557 views

### Error computing prime form of a pitch class set

I'm working on coming up with prime forms. I've been using this calculator online to check my work. My problem is that the prime form I compute for a certain PCS doesn't agree with the calculator, ...
2k views

### How can I make 12 tone and atonal melodies sound interesting?

I have recently started learning about serialism (12 tone melody writing) and atonal music. When I attempted to write a short melody, it didn't sound quite pleasing to the ears. Yes, I know atonal ...
82 views

### Inversionally equivalent pc sets relation with transposition

So, I'm reading Allen Forte's Structure of Atonal Music and in the sub-chapter 1.4 Inversionally equivalent pc sets he affirms: It is important to observe that whereas transposition does not imply ...
138 views

### Intervals when making a tone row - what to keep in mind?

For writing 12 tone or serial music, one generally makes a tone row, and then uses that for constructing a melody. I want to know what would be the maximum range of intervals between any 2 consecutive ...
445 views

### database of 12-tone rows

I am hoping to do some statistical analysis on 12-tone rows that have been employed in practice, and for this I'm looking for as large as possible a database. Currently I am only aware of the 160 ...
126 views

### Compound Operations in Basic Atonal Theory by John Rahn

Looking into John Rahn's Basic Atonal Theory for Compound Operations. I’m reading John Rahn's Basic Atonal Theory. What I dont understand is how the T11l(T7(Tol(T2(T5(X))))) example, in this section 3....
144 views

### Why do you think many people are drawn to a tonal center?

so im trying to answer this question for my music teacher and i'm trying to do research of it, but she hasn't been very specific with the question...any help?
227 views

### When can we say a given scale has a tonal center?

I have started studying music theory recently and I stumbled upon the concept of scales. The way I understand it (please correct me if I am wrong): It can be difficult sometimes to create a good ...
228 views

### Would you describe 'Skyfall' by Adele as atonal?

I was watching the James Bond movie Skyfall and I noticed that the opening theme, performed by Adele, sounds quite strange in some sections. I think it's a beautiful song, but it doesn't seem to stick ...
625 views

### In twelve tone serialism, why is the same note written with two different Note Names?

Source: 'Schoenberg's Piano Concerto: an introduction' by Mitsuko Uchida. Liner Notes for this recording. Here are the original two pages. For Ex. 1: Is the C♯ (that I coloured in red) erroneous? ...
91 views

### Bar number featuring this tone row by Schoenberg in the sheet music [closed]

Given is an image of the tone row used by Schoenberg in his Variations for Orchestra op. 31. This is what was given in a music theory workbook. I found the sheet music for the Schoenberg piece. But ...
788 views

### What is the difference between a prime order, tone row and serial, if there is one?

I'm studying Op. 22 by Anton Webern for my AS music. I have 2 teachers and a revision guide, each of which uses one of the terms listed in the question and avoids the other two. I just wanted to see ...
109 views

### Why's a 12-tone row called “self-referential”, but not perfect fifths or major thirds?

Great Music of the Twentieth Century (2018), by Robert Greenberg B.A. in music (magna cum laude) from Princeton, Ph.D. in music composition from the University of California, Berkeley. p. 75 How, ...
2k views

### Difference between Modality, Tonality and Chord-naming conventions in a more practical way?

There is a lot of very valuable information about these terms that I have been reading lately - inline on SE and on other places on the web: What's the difference between "modal music"...