Author Topic: 12-tone challenge  (Read 3406 times)

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Michel.R.E

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12-tone challenge
« on: August 05, 2013, 09:39:03 AM »
here's something different.

write a phrase (as little or as much as you want), that uses as its basic harmony ONLY tonic, sub-dominant, and dominant. it has to be clear that the harmony is I - IV - V (though not necessarily in that order).

the catch?

You MUST use all 12 chromatic tones in your brief passage. use them as added notes, passing tones, chromatic alterations, decorative notes.. but they must be "standard" decorative notes. No cheating and just plopping in a "wrong" note or a chromatic run.

For example, a Neapolitan 6th chord allows you to use what is in effect the sharpened tonic, which would otherwise be difficult to justify using I-IV-V.

I've just created a short phrase, basically just a chord progression, that contains all 12 chromatic tones within the first 6 chords, has one passing chord, one Neapolitan 6th, and otherwise, only chords of I, IV or V. So it's definitely possible, and not all that difficult. I've even been having fun improvising a bit at the piano to see how far I can go with the idea.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 04:19:53 PM by Michel.R.E »
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Ron

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2013, 01:46:50 PM »
Here we go. A few measures in C major, complete with a C, F, and G7, and all 12 tones. To emphasis the cadence, we've even got a cascading 7th. (You do realize that with a couple of cascading 7ths we could have easily covered all 12 tones.) If I made that last cadence a deceptive one, I could have gone on to a more complete little composition.

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Rules? What rules?

Michel.R.E

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2013, 02:05:03 PM »
you have to justify every chord.
and justify non-chord tones. within the rules of common practice, no less.
it IS do-able.

if a chord is passing, it must pass TO something. I have a bit of difficulty understanding measure 1.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Ron

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2013, 03:03:53 PM »
If this doesn't do it, then I guess I don't understand the challenge. My first three chords are C - B - A. A fast key change I know, but allowable under common practice.

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Michel.R.E

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 03:12:09 PM »
hehehe, yes, I think you may have misread the challenge...

it is to use only the chords I, IV and V.

any and all permissible (justified) decorative notes are permitted. (passing, neighbour tones, etc... and N6 chord is considered a IV chord).

I was wondering how it could sound so far afield!

"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Michel.R.E

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 03:15:05 PM »
ok, I'll post my example.

here is the basic chord structure, then a very simple expansion into a wider spacing (with the addition of a few passing notes and a suspension at the end).

I did notice a little glitch... the Bb is missing from my first 6 chords because I made a melodic change as I was working on this. The Bb shows up a few chords later. (originally it was in the 1st chord of measure 2, but I changed that to a B natural)

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« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 03:17:14 PM by Michel.R.E »
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Ron

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 03:17:03 PM »
hehehe, yes, I think you may have misread the challenge...

it is to use only the chords I, IV and V.

any and all permissible (justified) decorative notes are permitted. (passing, neighbour tones, etc... and N6 chord is considered a IV chord).

I was wondering how it could sound so far afield!



Oh, I thought as long as the tonic, dominant, and subdominant had prominent roles that was all that was required.
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2013, 03:24:53 PM »
hehehe, I suspected as much.

The idea is to see just how far afield one can go without actually breaking from extremely limited material.
The result can be quite shocking.

In our case, I'm suggesting we stick to relatively simple structures, but if one starts working with lots of suspensions and appoggiaturas, the end result can be shockingly modern.

I made my example relatively straight forward, including all of the required notes into the harmony itself. By using both major and minor variants of the three chords, by using the decorative Neapolitan 6th (chromatic embellishment of the minor iv chord), and with a single passing chord.

however, using only the three basic triads, it is possible to use all "legal" embellishments in a melody, against very simple triads. and if care is taken in the writing, much of it can pass as entirely consonant if one wanted.

one has to be careful not to have an embellishment play at the same time as the note which it embellishes!
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

altasilvapuer

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2013, 07:28:51 PM »
This challenge is as baffling to me as it is fascinating.  I may have to bring some staff paper to work again tomorrow and try some sketches on my lunch break.

I'm loving the sketches posted, so far.  They have a wonderfully 'odd' feeling to them, in places that nevertheless feels 'right.'  Good times.

-Matthew
R: "How much time do you think it takes to write a book?"
O: "Oh, you know: Not long . . . but long."
[Patrick Rothfuss and his son, Oot, on the nature of writing.]

Ron

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2013, 08:23:04 PM »
This has frustrated me and won't leave me alone. Alright: 3 chords: tonic, dominant, subdominant. But you said I could change them. The hard part was the C#, but an augmented F took care of it and it sounds right to me.

Nothing fancy--just straight forward block chords.


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Michel.R.E

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2013, 08:50:18 PM »
haha Ron!!

it's fun isn't it.

it's like a puzzle of sorts.

There are also other ways of approaching it.

for example, making a simple accompaniment, a repetitive arpeggio figure, for example, that ONLY consists of notes from the three required chords, but where the melody itself, through judicious use of decorative tones inserts the missing chromatic notes.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

sandalwood

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2013, 11:56:48 PM »
here's my take on the challenge.

Michel's license to use chromatic melody came after i started with a diatonic melody (not a particularly occidental one :)). tried to remain true to 4-part vocal voice leading.

will try to  post the score before leaving tomorrow for a few days holiday.

ps. already noticed a dim interval. hope i have not overlooked many others :)

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« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 01:08:01 AM by sandalwood »

sandalwood

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Re: 12-tone challenge
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 08:41:32 AM »
here's the score. hopefully did not make too many mistakes while copying to musescore.

and also the new audio, a bit tweaked and a bar added.

by the way, the melody is (more or less) a typical intro to a song in the Turkish court music tradition (monophonic). it is four-square in phrase structure, as  Michel terms and deftly describes it in another thread. i have used this melody only as a means to work on the challenge, but this is a serious issue that i know i have to address in order to improve my writing. actually in the discussions of my last post (last century :)) i was criticizing myself for having written too clear and "rectangular" phrases.

yep, i got to try harder :)

errata :) bar 3 last chord i not I

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« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 08:59:03 AM by sandalwood »