Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

NEWTONAL FUGUE: THOMIC

  

The thomic is, in some ways, the most rewarding of the Thomes & Phases techniques. In the same way that tonal music (the interplay and flux between consonance and dissonance) fulfils its profoundest potential using contrapuntal textures, so Newtonal music finds its greatest potential for expression in the application of the phase principle to the purely melodic treatment of the thome material. In fact, in this type of composition, the phase structure virtually disappears as the various combinations of the thomes are examined and explored.

 

Most interesting is the continuity between tonal fugue and Newtonal thomic. This continuity is, of course, not unique to Newtonal thinking. However, in addition to (for example, and most obviously) Schoenberg’s use of diminution, augmentation, inversion and retrogression when applied to the atonal tone-row, one may add, in the specific context of the thomic; stretto, false entry and other devices associated with tonal fugue.

 

When experimenting with the combinations of thomes, the degree to which such combinations reflect either a predominantly tonal or an atonal bias is entirely a matter of choice and musical preference.

 

I offer this piece as proof positive that the theory of Newtonality and the techniques of Thomes & Phases can be considered as a continuous development of and from the techniques of the tonal era. If free counterpoint, the most demanding of all tonal textures, can be rendered in Newtonal terms, then anything else is child’s play. Indeed, I have proved this to be true many times in both large and small scale compositions.

 

(I will be engraving the ms score with Sibelius, so it will be viewable/downloadable shortly)

Views: 226

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Interesting Simon. Thanks for listening.

Quite a few people have expressed an interest in this, so I will shortly be uploading the score - with explanatory notes - to Sibelius. Will definitely be posting the lnk - probably under a new discussion title. (Watch this space... or one nearby!)

Simon Godden said:
I'm intrigued to know more about the workings of Newtonal Thomic. Do you have a link where I could learn more about it, perhaps.

After listening to it, it sounds like an overlapping of different keys, not unlike the music of Shostakovich.
The shifting harmonies are intriguing but I feel the ending on an A major triad a little disappointing. Also I don't feel the 'neo-classical' textures and phrasing make for any more interesting music than, for example Stravinsky in the slow movement of Symphony of Psalms or passages from Orpheus.
That said, any tool that facilitates the composing process in this era of having to invent a sound world for every new piece, is a worth looking at.
Very enjoyable piece! I liked the mellow character very much... since I've tried to listen to modern music day and night (the past year), and never could I enjoy it endlessly... But this music could follow me everywhere, without annoying at all!
What gives it a nice nuance is also, that your personal style (which I don't know, but is probably in there), does not overwhelm the listener. Most modernists force upon their audience, a work that is mostly a pain in the butt, to listen to!

And to calm you a litte bit - I do hear a new style in this work... It is pretty much as you define it a nice mixture of tonality and atonality. I believe to be schooled enough to notice that. The baroque end, though must have been a joke, or? Maybe a tribute to Bach...

Greets again and good luck. I'll get back to this, when my studies continue and my head gets more music-y

Ario
Highly intelligent observations – many thanks. Yes, I can see why you think the ending is a bit of a crowd pleaser… nothing could have been further from my mind, however.

I do hope you will look out for the follow-up discussion which will include link to the sib. score and explanatory notes. I can assure you, newtonality is a totally fascinating subject!


Michael Tauben said:
The shifting harmonies are intriguing but I feel the ending on an A major triad a little disappointing. Also I don't feel the 'neo-classical' textures and phrasing make for any more interesting music than, for example Stravinsky in the slow movement of Symphony of Psalms or passages from Orpheus.
That said, any tool that facilitates the composing process in this era of having to invent a sound world for every new piece, is a worth looking at.
Hello Ario

Thank you once again for your observations; intelligent and thoughtful, as always.

If you learn nothing else from newtonal thinking, remember it is no crime to consciously pay homage to your spiritual and technical inspiration. (Until I discovered LVB, I considered the high Baroque as the pinnacle of musical achievement. And… do not whole passages of the ninth sound exactly as if they had been written by Handel?)

Do look out for my next discussion. This will contain the link to the Thomic score and detailed explanatory notes.

I’ll be back teaching shortly, so I may be a little slow replying to comments etc…!


Ario said:
Very enjoyable piece! I liked the mellow character very much... since I've tried to listen to modern music day and night (the past year), and never could I enjoy it endlessly... But this music could follow me everywhere, without annoying at all!
What gives it a nice nuance is also, that your personal style (which I don't know, but is probably in there), does not overwhelm the listener. Most modernists force upon their audience, a work that is mostly a pain in the butt, to listen to!

And to calm you a litte bit - I do hear a new style in this work... It is pretty much as you define it a nice mixture of tonality and atonality. I believe to be schooled enough to notice that. The baroque end, though must have been a joke, or? Maybe a tribute to Bach...

Greets again and good luck. I'll get back to this, when my studies continue and my head gets more music-y

Ario
Thank you for your comments. As you expressed an interest, here’s the score version with explanatory notes.

http://composersforum.ning.com/forum/topics/newtonal-fugue-thomic-s...



Simon Godden said:
I'm intrigued to know more about the workings of Newtonal Thomic. Do you have a link where I could learn more about it, perhaps.

After listening to it, it sounds like an overlapping of different keys, not unlike the music of Shostakovich.
Thank you for your comments. As you expressed an interest, here’s the score version with explanatory notes.

http://composersforum.ning.com/forum/topics/newtonal-fugue-thomic-s...




Ario said:
Very enjoyable piece! I liked the mellow character very much... since I've tried to listen to modern music day and night (the past year), and never could I enjoy it endlessly... But this music could follow me everywhere, without annoying at all!
What gives it a nice nuance is also, that your personal style (which I don't know, but is probably in there), does not overwhelm the listener. Most modernists force upon their audience, a work that is mostly a pain in the butt, to listen to!

And to calm you a litte bit - I do hear a new style in this work... It is pretty much as you define it a nice mixture of tonality and atonality. I believe to be schooled enough to notice that. The baroque end, though must have been a joke, or? Maybe a tribute to Bach...

Greets again and good luck. I'll get back to this, when my studies continue and my head gets more music-y

Ario
Thank you for your comments. As you expressed an interest, here’s the score version with explanatory notes.

http://composersforum.ning.com/forum/topics/newtonal-fugue-thomic-s...




Michael Tauben said:
The shifting harmonies are intriguing but I feel the ending on an A major triad a little disappointing. Also I don't feel the 'neo-classical' textures and phrasing make for any more interesting music than, for example Stravinsky in the slow movement of Symphony of Psalms or passages from Orpheus.
That said, any tool that facilitates the composing process in this era of having to invent a sound world for every new piece, is a worth looking at.
The piece has attractions. The use of Baroque rhythms is a reference to you-know-who. I am not sure composers need yet more theory... but if you are brought to inspiration by systematic thinking, then I am glad for you.

The rules, for someone who knew not what for, derived from vocal counterpoint, the standard for counterpoint for centuries. Singable intervals also made for good listnening, but the ear can accomodate more than the voice, so the ranges increased, rhythms became more bold. And that was taken to the breaking point - and past it...

I was reminded of Arcadelt when I listened to your work [for the density]. And earlier, where counterpoint made less harmonic sense - which is where the 20th Century got the idea to go for broke.

Which rules to keep, which to change? There is no Church telling a would-be Palestrina to thin the texture so we can discern the words. Everyone does everything, and that means nothing is ever wrong. This makes counterpoint/fugue today, to me, problematic. The average intelligent listener has trouble with fugue to begin with. It's math. Math listening is work: worthy work.

When writing a fugue that is not an exercise, I wonder if contrapunalists consider their audiences by now. The 20th did very badly with convincing the general public that the counterpoint was going to last forever. Most organists I know stick to very clearly written fugues. Some "modern fugues" oft played go back into the 1930s. Organists usually have a natural love for the practice. The public - I don't know, anymore.

Good luck with your new ideas ...sylvester.
Sylvester, there's a bit of a fugue battle going on in the music dissection forum. Your intellligent contribution would make for interesting reading

Sylvester Wager said:
The piece has attractions. The use of Baroque rhythms is a reference to you-know-who. I am not sure composers need yet more theory... but if you are brought to inspiration by systematic thinking, then I am glad for you.

The rules, for someone who knew not what for, derived from vocal counterpoint, the standard for counterpoint for centuries. Singable intervals also made for good listnening, but the ear can accomodate more than the voice, so the ranges increased, rhythms became more bold. And that was taken to the breaking point - and past it...

I was reminded of Arcadelt when I listened to your work [for the density]. And earlier, where counterpoint made less harmonic sense - which is where the 20th Century got the idea to go for broke.

Which rules to keep, which to change? There is no Church telling a would-be Palestrina to thin the texture so we can discern the words. Everyone does everything, and that means nothing is ever wrong. This makes counterpoint/fugue today, to me, problematic. The average intelligent listener has trouble with fugue to begin with. It's math. Math listening is work: worthy work.

When writing a fugue that is not an exercise, I wonder if contrapunalists consider their audiences by now. The 20th did very badly with convincing the general public that the counterpoint was going to last forever. Most organists I know stick to very clearly written fugues. Some "modern fugues" oft played go back into the 1930s. Organists usually have a natural love for the practice. The public - I don't know, anymore.

Good luck with your new ideas ...sylvester.
Many thanks, Sylvester. I enjoyed ALL your observations. (This is one piece of theory, however, I feel particularly strongly about!)

Thought you might like this to look at - or throw things at!

Sylvester Wager said:
The piece has attractions. The use of Baroque rhythms is a reference to you-know-who. I am not sure composers need yet more theory... but if you are brought to inspiration by systematic thinking, then I am glad for you.

The rules, for someone who knew not what for, derived from vocal counterpoint, the standard for counterpoint for centuries. Singable intervals also made for good listnening, but the ear can accomodate more than the voice, so the ranges increased, rhythms became more bold. And that was taken to the breaking point - and past it...

I was reminded of Arcadelt when I listened to your work [for the density]. And earlier, where counterpoint made less harmonic sense - which is where the 20th Century got the idea to go for broke.

Which rules to keep, which to change? There is no Church telling a would-be Palestrina to thin the texture so we can discern the words. Everyone does everything, and that means nothing is ever wrong. This makes counterpoint/fugue today, to me, problematic. The average intelligent listener has trouble with fugue to begin with. It's math. Math listening is work: worthy work.

When writing a fugue that is not an exercise, I wonder if contrapunalists consider their audiences by now. The 20th did very badly with convincing the general public that the counterpoint was going to last forever. Most organists I know stick to very clearly written fugues. Some "modern fugues" oft played go back into the 1930s. Organists usually have a natural love for the practice. The public - I don't know, anymore.

Good luck with your new ideas ...sylvester.
Attachments:
I played your Thomic, read your explanation, which was not critical to have to enjoy the notes.
You are a gifted composer, so you can take criticism. Your fugue sounds fine: there is no method of deconstructing your own, private fugual technique.

Is it attractive to listen to? Yes, if you like that sort of dense thicket of contrapuntal sound. I sometimes do, very much. The best thicket I know that relates is the first movement of the Music for Strings Celesta, Percussion - Bartók. it evolves from a germ in a clever way. And it adds up to something that a musician with reasonable knowledge would come to deeply appreciate.

The rules you made, and carried out were impossible to follow, by ear. With no harmonic goal/no real progressions, other than direction to the closing pedal point, I think you might be missing some of the joy of writing contrapuntally.

Since the glorious days of mass fugal treatment, no one has been able to sustain the listener's interest in fugue. Shostakovich tried. His fugues are played, but not adored. I know that Medelssohn had a crush on Bach, but his fugues (as well-wrought as they are) have no great fan club.

Be prepared to defend your turf. The reasoning for "thomic" reads circularly.
I still think this is a great springboard for creation. But do not fail to remember your patient listeners. Can they really hear "thomic?"

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Sign up info

Read before you sign up to find out what the requirements are!

Store

© 2020   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service