Posted in Project 3: Serialism

Exercise 4.0

This exercise is about creating a twelve-note row, with each note appearing only once, and all notes kept within one octave. I chose to make it more ‘random sounding’ rather than ‘tonal’, since I usually rely on tonality a lot and never experimented with other options.

In addition to creating the primary row, retrograde, inversion and retrograde inversion, I’ve also created a few transpositions. Here is the end result:

Here is also the audio version of Sibelius playing through the sets:

In reflection, I found the process of serialism and twelve-note row quite interesting, however, also very mechanical. I’m used to composing from a melodic idea in my head, rather than purely from external notation. Although I think this creates very compelling melodies, I still prefer working out material from my ‘inner-ear’ rather than the dry technicality of notation. However, I do think there is place for serialism in my music, though I would probably reconfigure the technique. In general, it is very important to learn as many techniques as possible, and as such, having this new style of composition in my musical vocabulary is very significant. I also find it very interesting that despite how different and random they seem, all versions of my twelve-note row seem to have a weird sense of similarity. This is probably due to them being derived from the same source of the primary row. In any case, the twelve-tone technique used to seem very random and accidental to me, but now that I understand its background, I recognize that the style is as thought-out as any other in the Western musical tradition. Although I don’t completely align myself with its objective ethos, I hope to explore serialism more in the future.

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