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Contemporary counterpoint - a rich subject. here is the link to the score of the thomic - the Newtonal version of fugue.

 

For those unable to access Scorch/Sibelius I've supplied the pdf file.

 

I would love loads of feedback on this, as I feel this might constitue a possible future for true "believers". Please forward!

 

http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/index.php?sm=home.score&scoreID=16...

 

Also, for those who didn't join the previous discussion, I've attached the mp3.

 

 

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Scorch has always been a touch tetchy. I will check out the pdf creator - a device I confess I've never used before, having never had to.

Kristofer Emerig said:
Sweet. The Sibelius site says it won't allow me to print though. Could you print it into PDF Forge and provide a PDF file for us here Nick? The little Scorch window's not terribly good for sight reading at the harpsichord.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/
I look forward to your comments, now that you can print it up!

(What a brilliant piece of software)

Kristofer Emerig said:
Nick, It's really easy. Take it from me, I hate all of this techy-computer crap, but it's a necessary evil with which one must contend if one is to enjoy the benefits. I think once you download and install, it'll just show up quite on its own in your Print menu on any installed applications (you don't need to open it separately). When you choose to print to PDF Creator, it'll prompt you to name and save the file somewhere, and voila!

Nick Capocci said:
Scorch has always been a touch tetchy. I will check out the pdf creator - a device I confess I've never used before, having never had to.

Kristofer Emerig said:
Sweet. The Sibelius site says it won't allow me to print though. Could you print it into PDF Forge and provide a PDF file for us here Nick? The little Scorch window's not terribly good for sight reading at the harpsichord.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/
Let me give a brief reply first – I may get back to you later if I have time to consider your questions in more depth.


The thome is not a tone-row in the Schoenberg sense, though, as you intimated, it does share with the atonal tone-row some functional characteristics – particularly in relation to contrapuntal usage.

The thome may consist of as many or as few notes as the composer wishes. The process by which thome sets are arrived at may also be profoundly simple or damnably complex – if you’re lucky, it’s the former case! The point to be made is that the thome itself defers to no tonal principle, irrespective of any tonal characteristics it might or might not appear to posses; any characteristics – tonal or atonal – imparted to the thome are created purely by the phase structure of the musical argument. In other words: there is nothing *intrinsically* tonal or atonal about a thome. Therein lies, in my opinion, its beauty and purity – best expressed, enunciated, in the thomic.

(Out of interest: I ‘m currently engaged in composing a set of 24 preludes employing some of the simpler Newtonal forms and techniques. The original thome set was arrived at by throwing the letter names into a hat and drawing them out at random)

There are many general features of Newtonal thinking which distinguish the thomic from its tonal (classical) counterparts. I think what you have discerned in this particular piece is my personal respect for the great traditions of tonal counterpoint. All the greatest compositions of the tonal era have been, overtly or subtly, profoundly contrapuntal in texture, from Handel to Elgar. Howsoever, to be specific: ALL the “rules” of classical harmony and counterpoint can be disregarded in Newtonal composition. It is virtually axiomatic in Newtonal composition that the fundamental Newtonal ideal cannot properly be pursued if the composer constantly has to serve tonal principles. “You cannot serve two masters”! – This is spiritually and practically true. (I refer you to the general observation at the end of the thesis). So, for example: parallel fifths, any intervallic leaps, crossing parts (sometimes extreme), harmonic false relation; all these are permitted. And, of course, most importantly of all, at no point during the enunciation of the thomic material is it *necessary* to defer to any of the rules or conventions of tonal/classical harmonic progression.

Newtonal counterpoint is, in some respects, easier than tonal counterpoint – but in its OWN respects, it’s a lot harder!

Personally, I find it endlessly fascinating.


Kristofer Emerig said:
Two initial comments/questions Nick.

You've related to me your connection to twelve tone practice. I notice this subject is almost a tone row. Is there a particular reason the leading tone (taken from the initial note, I know the term doesn't really apply in the tonal sense) is missing? Does the Thomic construct mandate a certain set of tones?

I also noted that much of this is pretty conforming and good tonal part writing, if one takes a quick, general scan. There are some glaring exceptions, like the leap into the diminished 2nd in m61b3, but one could, glancing at this briefly, easily mistake it for imitatio in hyperitono (although the answer is chromatically "real"). Can you elucidate more on the specific characteristics which distinguished it from fugue/canon?

Incidentally, I like it a lot, especially with the score.
I need to think about this, Kris. Let me get back to you. (Thank God that not all the responses I get are as clear and incisive as yours, else I'd be here till Doomsday!)

Kristofer Emerig said:
Nick,

Thanks for a comprehensive reply. Would you agree then with the sentiment that Newtonality is a rigorous theoretical approach to or explanation of a practice which must necessarily have been taking place among modern contrapuntists in a post-modern setting in which all of the paradigms have been long shattered and the "rules" of tonality obliterated (or generally ignored)? What I'm suggesting is that we all choose to some extent precisely how tonally disciplined to be, or how far out to the edge of tonal sensibility to migrate, depending on our taste and purpose. Aren't we all engaged in a sort of Newtonal dialectic, like it or not?

Nick Capocci said:
Let me give a brief reply first – I may get back to you later if I have time to consider your questions in more depth.


The thome is not a tone-row in the Schoenberg sense, though, as you intimated, it does share with the atonal tone-row some functional characteristics – particularly in relation to contrapuntal usage.

The thome may consist of as many or as few notes as the composer wishes. The process by which thome sets are arrived at may also be profoundly simple or damnably complex – if you’re lucky, it’s the former case! The point to be made is that the thome itself defers to no tonal principle, irrespective of any tonal characteristics it might or might not appear to posses; any characteristics – tonal or atonal – imparted to the thome are created purely by the phase structure of the musical argument. In other words: there is nothing *intrinsically* tonal or atonal about a thome. Therein lies, in my opinion, its beauty and purity – best expressed, enunciated, in the thomic.

(Out of interest: I ‘m currently engaged in composing a set of 24 preludes employing some of the simpler Newtonal forms and techniques. The original thome set was arrived at by throwing the letter names into a hat and drawing them out at random)

There are many general features of Newtonal thinking which distinguish the thomic from its tonal (classical) counterparts. I think what you have discerned in this particular piece is my personal respect for the great traditions of tonal counterpoint. All the greatest compositions of the tonal era have been, overtly or subtly, profoundly contrapuntal in texture, from Handel to Elgar. Howsoever, to be specific: ALL the “rules” of classical harmony and counterpoint can be disregarded in Newtonal composition. It is virtually axiomatic in Newtonal composition that the fundamental Newtonal ideal cannot properly be pursued if the composer constantly has to serve tonal principles. “You cannot serve two masters”! – This is spiritually and practically true. (I refer you to the general observation at the end of the thesis). So, for example: parallel fifths, any intervallic leaps, crossing parts (sometimes extreme), harmonic false relation; all these are permitted. And, of course, most importantly of all, at no point during the enunciation of the thomic material is it *necessary* to defer to any of the rules or conventions of tonal/classical harmonic progression.

Newtonal counterpoint is, in some respects, easier than tonal counterpoint – but in its OWN respects, it’s a lot harder!

Personally, I find it endlessly fascinating.


Kristofer Emerig said:
Two initial comments/questions Nick.

You've related to me your connection to twelve tone practice. I notice this subject is almost a tone row. Is there a particular reason the leading tone (taken from the initial note, I know the term doesn't really apply in the tonal sense) is missing? Does the Thomic construct mandate a certain set of tones?

I also noted that much of this is pretty conforming and good tonal part writing, if one takes a quick, general scan. There are some glaring exceptions, like the leap into the diminished 2nd in m61b3, but one could, glancing at this briefly, easily mistake it for imitatio in hyperitono (although the answer is chromatically "real"). Can you elucidate more on the specific characteristics which distinguished it from fugue/canon?

Incidentally, I like it a lot, especially with the score.
Thanks once again for an intelligent and thought-provoking response. To answer you properly would, in all seriousness, take pages and pages. So, I will try to summarize and compress my ideas.

I don’t doubt for one moment that many ( if not, most) contemporary classical composers have felt the necessity of addressing the problem of continuity between tonality and atonality, both from the philosophical and the practical angles – especially considering the general decline in the credibility of pure atonalism on the concert platform. Indeed, I would be very surprised if many (if not, most!) of these composers have not evolved their own form of “Newtonality”. (It is such a logical, rational view, surely many people will have come up with it simultaneously?) However, I can only speak for myself. I know (from years of practical experience) that Newtonality/Thomes & Phases really works, consistently and on all levels: intellectually stimulating; emotionally and spiritually satisfying.

“Aren't we all engaged in a sort of Newtonal dialectic, like it or not?”

I think it is more accurate to say that all composers who have acknowledged atonality as an inescapable fact of life are – in fact, *must be* - engaged in some form of “Newtonal” dialectic. So, not *all* composers will be thus engaged. A composer who wishes to write tonal music need have nothing to do with “newtonality”; a composer who wishes to write “purely atonal” music – and who persists in the mistaken belief that such a thing is actually possible (that no reference need be made - in the actual modus-operandi of the language being used - to the tonal antecedents from which atonality derives its very existence) need have nothing to do with “newtonality”: but a composer who recognizes the Newtonal principle, must have everything to do with “newtonality” - whatever name they choose to give to it.

It’s important to distinguish between true “newtonal” music and tonal music that has been pushed to the extreme limits in expressing the consonance/dissonance principle. For example, Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue op. 133 sounds, in places, like Stockhausen, but it is *always* a tonal composition.

I offer my own version of “newtonality” – Newtonality (with Thomes & Phases) – as a fairly universal solution to one of the great conundrums of contemporary composition: the “problem” of atonality. The advantage, I suggest, of my “version” lies precisely in its universality, that it can be virtually all things to all composers – just like the consonance/dissonance principle – while remaining at all times faithful to the absolute newtonal principle: atonality cannot exist except by relation to tonality; both must be defined before atonality can take its place as an element in a practical musical language.



Kristofer Emerig said:
Take your time Nick; Work comes first. Eating is probably not more important than philosophizing, but it's certainly more urgent.

Nick Capocci said:
I need to think about this, Kris. Let me get back to you. (Thank God that not all the responses I get are as clear and incisive as yours, else I'd be here till Doomsday!)

Kristofer Emerig said:
Nick,

Thanks for a comprehensive reply. Would you agree then with the sentiment that Newtonality is a rigorous theoretical approach to or explanation of a practice which must necessarily have been taking place among modern contrapuntists in a post-modern setting in which all of the paradigms have been long shattered and the "rules" of tonality obliterated (or generally ignored)? What I'm suggesting is that we all choose to some extent precisely how tonally disciplined to be, or how far out to the edge of tonal sensibility to migrate, depending on our taste and purpose. Aren't we all engaged in a sort of Newtonal dialectic, like it or not?

Nick Capocci said:
Let me give a brief reply first – I may get back to you later if I have time to consider your questions in more depth.


The thome is not a tone-row in the Schoenberg sense, though, as you intimated, it does share with the atonal tone-row some functional characteristics – particularly in relation to contrapuntal usage.

The thome may consist of as many or as few notes as the composer wishes. The process by which thome sets are arrived at may also be profoundly simple or damnably complex – if you’re lucky, it’s the former case! The point to be made is that the thome itself defers to no tonal principle, irrespective of any tonal characteristics it might or might not appear to posses; any characteristics – tonal or atonal – imparted to the thome are created purely by the phase structure of the musical argument. In other words: there is nothing *intrinsically* tonal or atonal about a thome. Therein lies, in my opinion, its beauty and purity – best expressed, enunciated, in the thomic.

(Out of interest: I ‘m currently engaged in composing a set of 24 preludes employing some of the simpler Newtonal forms and techniques. The original thome set was arrived at by throwing the letter names into a hat and drawing them out at random)

There are many general features of Newtonal thinking which distinguish the thomic from its tonal (classical) counterparts. I think what you have discerned in this particular piece is my personal respect for the great traditions of tonal counterpoint. All the greatest compositions of the tonal era have been, overtly or subtly, profoundly contrapuntal in texture, from Handel to Elgar. Howsoever, to be specific: ALL the “rules” of classical harmony and counterpoint can be disregarded in Newtonal composition. It is virtually axiomatic in Newtonal composition that the fundamental Newtonal ideal cannot properly be pursued if the composer constantly has to serve tonal principles. “You cannot serve two masters”! – This is spiritually and practically true. (I refer you to the general observation at the end of the thesis). So, for example: parallel fifths, any intervallic leaps, crossing parts (sometimes extreme), harmonic false relation; all these are permitted. And, of course, most importantly of all, at no point during the enunciation of the thomic material is it *necessary* to defer to any of the rules or conventions of tonal/classical harmonic progression.

Newtonal counterpoint is, in some respects, easier than tonal counterpoint – but in its OWN respects, it’s a lot harder!

Personally, I find it endlessly fascinating.


Kristofer Emerig said:
Two initial comments/questions Nick.

You've related to me your connection to twelve tone practice. I notice this subject is almost a tone row. Is there a particular reason the leading tone (taken from the initial note, I know the term doesn't really apply in the tonal sense) is missing? Does the Thomic construct mandate a certain set of tones?

I also noted that much of this is pretty conforming and good tonal part writing, if one takes a quick, general scan. There are some glaring exceptions, like the leap into the diminished 2nd in m61b3, but one could, glancing at this briefly, easily mistake it for imitatio in hyperitono (although the answer is chromatically "real"). Can you elucidate more on the specific characteristics which distinguished it from fugue/canon?

Incidentally, I like it a lot, especially with the score.

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