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Hi

 

Since I am new to this site, I am using this platform to increase exposure to my theory of Newtonality and the technique Thomes&Phases.

here's the link:

 

http://www.nickcapocci.co.uk/4.html

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I must herewith defend the stance of Mr. Ofinsky, for his try of disproval in this topic is very much knowledgable and very well justified. The mere necessity (as I thought Mr. Capocci intended to do) of "inventing" a new tonality (with a very stupid name I must add, but please dont be offended) is simply not of any use to anyone, since there is no way of inventing a new tonality... fusing two things (notice that I do say "things"), which are partially a consequence of eachother!

BUT... Nick is right. These thing must be defined ("Must be defined!" - loved it!!!), and so it is no more a question of invention but "translation". Or maybe research (I'm a musician, not an academic - whatever!)... And I see it makes little sense, stopping this wonderful thought.

It is true... (tried saying the same thing): There is no clear definition on any of the theory of the 20th century, I too see a necessity in such work. Instead of giving things new names, I recommend actually defining what needs to be defined and letting the thought of a new world be. It is really a smack in the face of all composers, studying the works of others, to hear that bartok crossed with Mozart or Schönberg crossed with Bach could give us something new.

-> Fusion is never an invention...
Wow, that was hard work. I have to confess I didn't finish the exposition of your theory and I feel that it suffers from a lack of actual notated examples. All the theoretical writings I've read from Tovey to Schenker are awash with them and I would ask that you provide some in order to aid comprehensibility.

I'm not sure what the purpose of the theory is. I'm not sure you defined 'dissonance' or 'consonance', perhaps I missed it.

Is your theory so called because it has something to do with Newton (?) or is it New Tonailty?

Anyway, some musical illustrations would be very helpful.
I recommend the God Delusion, it's a cracking read!

Paul Evan Magee said:
Hi Nick,

I visited your website with the intention of reading details your Newtonality idea. This interests me because I hear so much made of Western music being an indoctrinated, for want of a better word, tonal system which is not adopted in other areas with more than 12 tones for examle, which I completely disagree with and think flies in the face of hundreds of years of progress. Mozart in particular and Beethoven to a lesser degree, would surely turn in their graves if they were to listen to experimental music without grasping the basics first although I am sure this does not refer to you.

I'm afraid I will have to return to your page on Newtonality to get into your brain because my first attempt was strained somewhat. Instead, I found myself scrolling up and reading your comments on 'The God Delusion' by Dawkins which coincidentally, I was on the verge of buying last weekend in Waterstones having finished 'The Greatest Show on Earth' recently.

I may have jumped the gun by writing to you, but consonance and dissonance occur all the time in music with motion in my case. Even if I were to exclude my melodic line altogether and I were to pause on a particularly dissonant harmony on a particular beat , I would be wholly confident that it would be justified with respect and relative to the music and chords that precede and follow it. Sure... the form of a piece of music doesn't need to be constricted by a 'key' so why confuse matters by inventing your own system?

As I said, I have not yet read or absorbed the full text of your theory, although I will endeavour to do so as I am sure you have faith in it.





.
Hi Paul – thanks for comments thus far.

Far from confusing matters, “newtonality” (you could invent any word you like to describe the principle) clarifies them. It was precisely the need for such clarification that drove me to develop this theory.

One thing I can state categorically: Thomes & Phases – the *business* end of newtonality – is a fantastic composing tool, full of every kind of nuance, possibility and subtlety any composer could ever want. So far I have only scratched the surface… and it’s only as complex as the user wants, depending on the context in hand.


Paul Evan Magee said:
Hi Nick,

I visited your website with the intention of reading details your Newtonality idea. This interests me because I hear so much made of Western music being an indoctrinated, for want of a better word, tonal system which is not adopted in other areas with more than 12 tones for examle, which I completely disagree with and think flies in the face of hundreds of years of progress. Mozart in particular and Beethoven to a lesser degree, would surely turn in their graves if they were to listen to experimental music without grasping the basics first although I am sure this does not refer to you.

I'm afraid I will have to return to your page on Newtonality to get into your brain because my first attempt was strained somewhat. Instead, I found myself scrolling up and reading your comments on 'The God Delusion' by Dawkins which coincidentally, I was on the verge of buying last weekend in Waterstones having finished 'The Greatest Show on Earth' recently.

I may have jumped the gun by writing to you, but consonance and dissonance occur all the time in music with motion in my case. Even if I were to exclude my melodic line altogether and I were to pause on a particularly dissonant harmony on a particular beat , I would be wholly confident that it would be justified with respect and relative to the music and chords that precede and follow it. Sure... the form of a piece of music doesn't need to be constricted by a 'key' so why confuse matters by inventing your own system?

As I said, I have not yet read or absorbed the full text of your theory, although I will endeavour to do so as I am sure you have faith in it.





.
How about, you write/compose short examples of thomes in different phases in a very simple manner, so people can actually grasp the feel of what you so scientifically put on paper/screen...

Think of Schönbergs "Harmonielehre" which is full of examples and excercises... (Or you might just as well, write a "Theory-Etude")

I looked up your Fugato from "She", but analysing a piece from a computer is really a pain in the butt!
What I understand from Newtonality's principles though is the simple thought of giving an atonal piece a tonal nuance and vice versa. To the point that it can even reach 50 - 50!

(Please correct me if I'm wrong)... Furthermore, I'd like to know, which 'rules' of Newtonality should actually be followed under any circumstance, to catch the right aesthetics of this method?

Regards
Ario
Hello Michael

Sorry that was “hard work”.

I’m guessing you viewed the version on my little website? For more musical examples go to the version at Sibeliusmusic.com. Hope this helps.

Newtonality, of itself, has no purpose as such. It’s a particular view of the development of Western music, generated by the need to define the precise meaning of atonality as an element of compositional techniques.

Yes, I did define consonance and dissonance… many times!!!!!!!

I’m afraid one does have to, in a sense, meditate of this stuff for a while. Sorry.

“Newtonality”: Your observation here is perceptive. As best I can recall – it was 30 years ago! – the term was indeed an amalgam of Newton (a hero of mine) and *tonality* + *new*. But its important not to get hung up on terminology. One could call it “Joe Bloggs’ eccentric ideas about atonality and tonality”. .. but “newtonality” is simpler.


Michael Tauben said:
Wow, that was hard work. I have to confess I didn't finish the exposition of your theory and I feel that it suffers from a lack of actual notated examples. All the theoretical writings I've read from Tovey to Schenker are awash with them and I would ask that you provide some in order to aid comprehensibility.

I'm not sure what the purpose of the theory is. I'm not sure you defined 'dissonance' or 'consonance', perhaps I missed it.

Is your theory so called because it has something to do with Newton (?) or is it New Tonailty?

Anyway, some musical illustrations would be very helpful.
Hello Ario

Yes, I think your idea of doing a practical demo version for people to analyze would be very useful. In fact I have contemplated this for some time now, but simply haven’t had the time to pursue it properly.

Re “fugato”… I know it’s a long score but you could print it up(?).

(If you give me a mailing address I will send you a copy of the ms for Tanto Meglio)

Remember… Newtonality is just a name for a generalised theory. Thomes & Phases is the real business end.. and it is only my own interpretation of the newtonal principle. Perhaps you could come up with your own personalized version?

50/50 is not a bad thing to aim for – I prefer to say that the “D” phase is everything, because the intermediate state is where the tension is really explored. The best Newtonal piece would be one long “D”phase.

Ideally, the listener should be no more aware of the juxtaposing of tonal and atonal material in a Newtonal piece, than they would be aware of the juxtaposing of consonance and dissonance in a tonal piece. It’s the interplay of these polarities (or opposites) that’s important – the tension created between them and the linear musical argument that results from the exploration of these forces. Try mentally to picture tonality and atonality in exactly the same way you picture consonance and dissonance.

If there is a “rule” which applies in all circumstances, it is to explore the tension between two opposites, and, hopefully, through this exploration to express a genuine, deep musicality – such as one finds in the music of the tonal era. I know its possible.


Ario said:
How about, you write/compose short examples of thomes in different phases in a very simple manner, so people can actually grasp the feel of what you so scientifically put on paper/screen...

Think of Schönbergs "Harmonielehre" which is full of examples and excercises... (Or you might just as well, write a "Theory-Etude")

I looked up your Fugato from "She", but analysing a piece from a computer is really a pain in the butt!
What I understand from Newtonality's principles though is the simple thought of giving an atonal piece a tonal nuance and vice versa. To the point that it can even reach 50 - 50!

(Please correct me if I'm wrong)... Furthermore, I'd like to know, which 'rules' of Newtonality should actually be followed under any circumstance, to catch the right aesthetics of this method?

Regards
Ario
"The crucial viewpoint in Mr Capocci's thesis is that atonality is a property of music

definable only with respect to tonality, its diametrically opposed property. This might

be truer than most atonalists wish to acknowledge."

Got it in a nutshell, Kris. Thank you!

Thomes & Phases is a form of language: Newtonality is not – nor is it presented or meant to be received as an alternative *version* of the evolution of Western music. It is a particular view of the development of the language of composition formed around the absolute necessity of finding a precise definition of atonality as a practical element of compositional technique.


Kristofer Emerig said:
Streaker Ofinsky:

It's an effective rebuttal from a sophist standpoint, but I see little substantial in the

way of constructive thought. Taking a purely contradictory stance (line by line glib

dismissals) against a system of thought forces one into defining their position not in

terms of their autonomous beliefs, but rather the system they seek to refute, much like

the relationship between atonality and tonality expressed in Mr Capocci's thesis.

A wise man is measured not by the thoughts he can dismiss and disprove, but by the number

and variety of thoughts he can encompass and integrate into his world view. It is only

from this relativistic perspective that one can get within a system of thought, adopt

it's premises, and truly evaluate it's self referential logical consistency, rather than

debunking it from without based upon incongruous premises.

I will acknowledge that you have conceded at least one of Mr Capocci's tenets, although

you quickly soften your agreement with the claim that it is so obvious a conclusion as to

be superfluous to even mention:

"tonality is . . . an idea – an idea we invented. It is totally artificial. It’s a peg

on which we have hung our ideas about musical language – in particular, our ideas about

consonance and dissonance – what is “consonant” and what is 'dissonant'." -NC

I agree with all of that, but I do not think there are many people who wouldn't. We do

not need to invent a new language to say that. -SO

I think there are many like myself who wholly reject the notion that common practice

tonality, if I might simplistically pretend for the moment that such exists in one

unified corpus, is an arbitrary creation. The fact that it is an idomatic language the

nuances of which must be learned or culturally acquired in no way logically implies that

it is therefore arbitrary. Tonality's nascence lies in the fundamental ratios, and all of

it's psychoacoustic preferences and hierarchies but the most idiomatic, stylized, or

provincial, are soundly rooted in that phenomenon. It is as though the atonalist wishes

us to accept that because we were born without knowledge of the integral, and some

cultures might lack that knowledge altogether, it is some arbitrary thought, disjunct

from objective reality.

The crucial viewpoint in Mr Capocci's thesis is that atonality is a property of music

definable only with respect to tonality, its diametrically opposed property. This might

be truer than most atonalists wish to acknowledge.

The ascendancy of atonality might be likened to the shock jock phenomenon. Both achieve

their psychological impact solely through the transgression of learned parameters or

norms, and are thus so intrinsically tied to and dependent upon those norms which they

work to disintegrate, that they are destined to fizzle by pure entropy alone. Put another

way, the shock jock is only shocking until his act breaks down the moral fabric of his

audience to the point where rudeness is no longer discernible. While his schtick might

ridicule and scoff at the social norms surrounding him, it is entirely and inherently

dependent upon the existence of those norms. Likewise, atonality is only atonal so long

as its audience has a tonal language to assault. Atonalists who express the desire to

break down the system of tonality are somewhat like a virus which kills its host before

propagating itself, a Darwinian dead end.

Sorry about the formatting. I had to type this in notepad due to spotty internet.
"Look up *happiness* in any dictionary. You’ll find all the symptoms but not a mention of its origin. People are unhappy not because they don’t know what happiness means, but because they don’t know its cause."

The conversation isn't about happiness, though, it's about tonal and atonal. Those are well-defined musical terms. Some terms are well-defined. Some are not.

"Lots of dictionaries will tell you that atonality is the absence of consonance and dissonance."

Really? What is an example of that?

"For a composer confronting a sheet of blank manuscript, this definition is useless."

I don't know why a _definition_ should be useful for writing music anyway.

"unless one has first precisely defined what consonance and dissonance are?"

Do you own a music dictionary?

"But they are not conventions; they are *assumptions* which have acted as an impediment to a rational assessment of atonality."

Huh??

"But can you not see that this sentence only makes sense after you have specified a defined precisely what you mean by *tonal*"

I don't know why you're pretending that "tonal" isn't defined in music dictionaries, texts, etc., but you are.

"You simply cannot bandy them about on the basis that *Well, it doesn’t really matter what they mean*!"

No one said anything like that. You're claiming the terms are not conventionally defined. I'm claiming that you're wrong about that. Open up a music dictionary. If you don't understand the definitions there, we can help explain them to you.

"its one long “D” phase. Totally different concept."

No idea what you're talking about there.

"Where did you get the idea that there is anything subjective about the topics in hand?"

Definitions come from the way that humans use terms. Humans are subjects. In that sense, they are subjective. Also, not everyone defines everything the same way. There are no objective facts about whether something is a correct definition, it's just whether it's a definition that's used by some population or not.

Also, whether something [i]sounds[/i] tonal or atonal is a subjective matter. You can talk about objectively common tendencies there, but you'd still be talking about a subjective phenomenon.

"I certainly consider the definitions I have given objective realities."

There are no objectively correct definitions, period. Just more or less common ones.

""’atonal’ is a subjective designation”. No. It is not:"

Yes, it is. It's about what the pitch relationships sound like to individuals.

"it’s a state in an evolved language which must have an exact definition."

Music isn't like the fields of mathematics or physics. Many of its terms are never going to have the kind of widespread consensus of formulation by practitioners that terms in those fields have. However, even without universal formulations similar to "F=ma", terms like "tonal" and "atonal" have common, conventional definitions that are non-controversial. You simply need to look them up.
"It's an effective rebuttal from a sophist standpoint,"

LOL . . . I wasn't trying to rebut anything by the way. I had commented that "I'm one of those folks whose reaction has to be one of incomprehensibility . . . as best as I can guess, I would not agree with [you]--it's difficult to tell though without more background on your thought process, what precipitated your ideas, etc. You're also using some words in ways that are unfathomable to me--such as linking 'tonality' to a fundamental tone and its harmonic partials . . ." and so on. I was trying to sort some of that out, as Nick started explaining some of it to me.

"A wise man is measured not by the thoughts he can dismiss and disprove . . . "

As if there are laws about such things, rather than individual assessments . . . but who is aiming for the consideration anyway?

"The fact that it is an idomatic language the nuances of which must be learned or culturally acquired in no way logically implies that it is therefore arbitrary."

I hadn't used the word "arbitrary" anywhere. Is it that your view is that "If x is invented, then x is arbitrary"? I wouldn't agree with that.

"The crucial viewpoint in Mr Capocci's thesis is that atonality is a property of music definable only with respect to tonality, its diametrically opposed property."

As I noted in an earlier post: "Given how language works, with 'a' being the privative prefix, 'atonal' would be the complement of 'tonal', sure. Again, this shouldn't be controversial."

And just to reiterate, I primarily entered the conversation because much of Nick's "treatise" made little sense to me. That's still the case. Thre are many reasons for that, some of which I've shared in more detail.
I am enlightened, meanwhile... and don't want to join the discussion anymore.

Let me say one thing, and to offend Mr. Ofinsky: I only see the discussion becoming offensive...

The question is actually not "What is (a)tonality?" - It is much more: "How can I precisely define (a)tonality?"

And at this point, after having a more detailed insight into Mr. Capocci's work (and his former teacher's work), I've noticed the depth and value of this thought, and an attempt, to put research and theory into everything, that has been ignored by the 20th century composers: A definition and a foundation of theory, for modern music.
(I assume, that it was so hard, to neglect everything romanticism had brought upon music and it's styles, that nobody thought of naming their deeds in theoritical way... Schönberg did, but who else?)

So, try this thought... It's not only "Thomes and Phases"... But a conventional (and complex, unfortunately) way of putting all this chaos into order (Also it was the emancipation, not only of dissonance, but from formalities, which formed the avantgardistic modernism of the past century)....

Pay attention, and you'll feel the flow of this thought... order, where there hasn't been none - since a long time!
"to offend Mr. Ofinsky" -- I'm unoffendable, so don't worry about it. ;-)

At any rate, there are just far too many assumptions going on that would need to be sorted out, but where we're also experiencing resistance to that.

Some of this would much better be done in chat, in my opinion.

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