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This was originally posted here as part of a discussion which I thought suggested the question,"How can non-traditionally-tonal music be structured so that it will have meaning to the listener, and especially to the listener who is not a musical theorist?" It's been suggested that I make a separate discussion of it.

One of my own works may serve as an example to hopefully extend the discussion. This is a section of a longer work I composed which is partially atonal.  This part was composed more or less (but perhaps not strictly) following the rules for twelve-tone row composition, but attempts to create within that context a musical work having melodic and harmonic elements which structured it in a way that the average non-academic listener could recognize it as music.  It's called "Spring Equinox" for flute quartet (two flutes, alto flute, bass flute.)  The sound file was generated with software.


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Yes, and in Western music of various kinds the lack of tonic resolution has long been used as a special technique.  An example from folk music that most people will be familiar with is the American (but supposedly originally Scottish) tune known as Black Is The Color of My True Love's Hair, where the lack of a clear final note resolution in the melodic line gives the song a dreamy, meditative feeling.

Dane Aubrun said:

This verges more on psychoacoustics I'd guess. I'm no theorist (what is a musical theorist?) but it seems to me that the melody implies the harmony. I understand what "cadence" is. We need these terms so we can talk about it! In your example the first phrase implies a perfect cadence ("full close" in American?)


But then you could immediately follow with:

C'.... B..A.G....F.E.......D (half close/imperfect cadence) Which you felt unfinished - and that's what an imperfect cadence is about, it needs resolution. It could be resolved with the second phrase. However, rhythm comes into it, The E would occupy the whole bar/measure. 

Just a thought. Incidentally it works as a tone row, something that Geert was experimenting with. 

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