Old 15th December 2006, 01:55   #1
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Atonal Music

Anyone here like it? It's starting to grow on me and I'd like some suggestions of good pieces to listen to.

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Old 15th December 2006, 02:18   #2
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I still find it difficult to tell whether something actually is atonal or only stretching the rules of tonality.
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Old 15th December 2006, 12:54   #3
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I have no idea what you're talking about, though now I'm curious.
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Old 15th December 2006, 13:52   #4
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k_rock923

Could you give us examples of "atonal" music?
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Old 15th December 2006, 14:11   #5
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One of the first examples is Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire.

Atonal music is, roughly, any music without a key.

We had to study it in a music history course and I actually came to enjoy it - although it was a bit hard on the ears the first time through.

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Old 15th December 2006, 15:05   #6
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Weird, sounds like music's version of Monte Python.
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Old 19th December 2006, 01:43   #7
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Atonal music is usually referred to as what you mentioned, but it goes beyond that. Technically speaking, a marching band's drum cadence is atonal music, so long as tuned mallet instruments don't play melodies that have a tonal center. Atonal music is also extremely effective accompaniment for films/videos, since although it provides a lot of extra environment/mood, it doesn't have enough tonal center to pull your focus away from what's happening visually or within the dialogue. You'll find it on some soundtracks.

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Old 19th December 2006, 17:21   #8
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In that case it's quite possible that I listen to quite a bit of atonal music without even knowing it.
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Old 19th December 2006, 19:42   #9
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yup

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Old 19th December 2006, 20:51   #10
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I'm still not sure what atonal music is, I always thought a tone is something you get when you whack a tuning fork? So I would figure atonal music would be like noise core or just a bunch of feed back or something else annoying and miserable, but they way you describe it I'm thinking it's more like music that has no melody?
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Old 19th December 2006, 21:55   #11
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Well, it can be with or without defined tones. The point of atonal music is to reduce/eliminate the tonal center/key of a piece.

Generally if you are writing a song you have moments of tension and release, and the standard way to achieve this is to move from dissonance to something that resolves the dissonance (e.g. a B7 chord to an E chord on a guitar). This would suggest the tonal center to be E.

Atonal can still use standard notes but not in the traditional format of chords (generally versions of chords built on the first, fourth, and fifth notes of the scale) that seem to go back and fourth from this tension to resolution. Instead the notes follow either a different format or they are randomly picked/assigned. Tension and resolution can still happen, but not the way I mentioned above.

Damn this is hard to sum up in a lil post. I'll see if looking up shit helps.

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Old 20th December 2006, 12:30   #12
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heh, well don't worry about it, I don't think I know enough about music theory to be able to identify atonal music even if I did know what it was.
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Old 22nd December 2006, 16:47   #13
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I believe we're trying to mark the difference between atonal and twelve tone - in which all twelve tones are equally represented. Twelve tone music is atonal, by definition, but not all atonal music is twelve tone.

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Old 22nd December 2006, 20:40   #14
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Twelve-tone makes non-tonal use for tonal notes.

Because of this I don't really see the point.

Basically, the frequencies chosen to be notes available on tuned musical instruments were chosen because of their sound relationship to one-another in a tonal setting. Pythagoras then gave the mathematical explanation for why they work that way. To use these tuned tonal notes in a non tonal setting is rather pointless, even if you do arrange them in the prescribed format of 12-tone music.

It also seems that 12-tone is a theory-before-practice creation, making it more science than art, something that makes the music suffer in my opinion.

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Old 16th January 2007, 19:21   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by swingdjted
It also seems that 12-tone is a theory-before-practice creation, making it more science than art, something that makes the music suffer in my opinion.
I agree. You could say that about a lot of 20th-century art, that artifice came first. Those were different times I suppose, and they had the spirit of invention. Twelve tone isn't unlistenable like aleatory or minimalist, but it's close. To recommend something though, I used to like Berg's Wozzeck because I was into the story. And I used to listen to this album quite a lot.

For guitars & keyboards, it's more true that the frequencies chosen to be notes were chosen because of their friendliness to mass-production techniques. You can't mass-manufacture a keyboard or fretted instrument plays with just/true pythagorean pitch in every key. Considering how much the notes themselves are skewed towards tonality, actually performing twelve tone music doesn't make sense. It looks interesting on paper though.
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Old 29th January 2007, 23:25   #16
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Schoenberg pushed quite a lot of boundaries, as well as working with Wassily Kandinsky (abstract expressionist), which I might add greatly influenced his perception of key and tonality.

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Old 1st February 2007, 17:42   #17
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I've just listened to Schoenberg and now I'm going to have to listen to Scissor Sisters followed by Wham to make up for it.

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