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I'm giving a short talk for the London Composers Forum on the Newtonal principle, and the technique of Thomes & Phaees, this coming Monday, 16thmarch. Please contact me if you wish to attend.

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Not really interested in that it seems to be revamping what many composers intuitively know and do without worrying about the mechanics and minutiae of how it’s done.

A recent thread evolved into a discussion about just this and concluded that tonal or atonal, composers could be “hybrid”, mixing the two ad lib.  They don’t want to bureaucratise composing, turning it into a clerical procedure but rather write from the heart which they can do with a degree of competence, having a grounding in basic harmony and counterpoint. In short, if they’re atonal, they’ll know what they’re doing.

It wasn’t that Schoenberg didn’t understand atonality, it was that he didn’t understand that music was a medium of communication at a level beyond the intellectual (most times, anyway).  He missed that point entirely. His hopes to invent a new, universal language by formalising atonality took no account of listeners’ perceptions and expectations.

Your ideas may be very right for some students and let’s hope it makes them “better” composers. So I hope the talk is received well.

Cheers, 

Dane

Hello Dane. Thanks for taking the trouble to reply. I've  had hundreds of discussions , live and online, about this idea and am always willing to have one more! The point about the Newtonal principle and Thomes and Phases is that it addresses precisely the minutiae of how to combine tonal and atonal material into a solid structural technique - which is easily adaptable to many different composer's personal styles.
the Newtonal principle - that it's impossible to consider atonal material as an independent musical force - was entirely new in 1979 when I discovered it. As for Thomes and Phases, it's simply a technique, like serial technique, or sets, or whatever! You speak of writing from the heart, but composition is as much a science as an "art" and without a highly rigorous technique, music simply falls apart. Thomes and Phases supplies the science aspect of the combination of tonal and atonal material. That's all.
The proof that Schoenberg didn't understand atonality lies in the famous principle: " the emancipation of the dissonance" . A physical and intellectual impossibility.
sadly, I have only half and hour this time, but am sure the LCF will give me more opportunities in due course.
once again. Many thanks for your intelligent thoughts on this.
cheers, Nick c



Dane Aubrun said:

Not really interested in that it seems to be revamping what many composers intuitively know and do without worrying about the mechanics and minutiae of how it’s done.

A recent thread evolved into a discussion about just this and concluded that tonal or atonal, composers could be “hybrid”, mixing the two ad lib.  They don’t want to bureaucratise composing, turning it into a clerical procedure but rather write from the heart which they can do with a degree of competence, having a grounding in basic harmony and counterpoint. In short, if they’re atonal, they’ll know what they’re doing.

It wasn’t that Schoenberg didn’t understand atonality, it was that he didn’t understand that music was a medium of communication at a level beyond the intellectual (most times, anyway).  He missed that point entirely. His hopes to invent a new, universal language by formalising atonality took no account of listeners’ perceptions and expectations.

Your ideas may be very right for some students and let’s hope it makes them “better” composers. So I hope the talk is received well.

Cheers, 

Dane

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