Chapter 15.


Principles of TONL

I recommend experimenting with this approach to see how it can work for you.  It is by nature a very flexible approach to composition, one that is meant to give the composer a fluctuating level of guidelines.  When one feels the need for more strict governance one can revert to a very strict usage of the serialised method, when one feels too restrained, they can explore any of the various paths out.  The idea is to not allow any singular compositional style take over the composition; to remain limber and able to shift into and out of tonality and atonality quickly.

As was mentioned earlier, the music that I chose to illustrate TONL, were chosen because they isolated the musical elements of harmony and melody.  If we were to start manipulating other aspects of the music and working with other variables, certainly these factors would affect how TONL could be used.  Plans to further expand TONL scope would certainly include forays into ‘quasi-improvised’ music, TONL’s application in pop music settings, and re-harmonising existing pieces to show how TONL can be subtly used to ‘re-grab’ a listener’s attention. 

Principles of TONL

︎ TONL has rules, and follows them when needed.

︎ TONL’s purpose is to express ideas, programmes, and feelings in the most accurate way possible.

︎ TONL embraces traditionally tonal elements and serial elements in a carefully weighed dichotomy where neither takes precedence over the other.

Generalisations presented herein

︎  The more a row resembles a ‘tonal series,’ the freer we need to treat it.  The more a row resembles an ‘atonal series,’ the less free we should treat it.

︎  When directly using the tone-row for composition, emphasise consonant intervals.  Obviously dissonant intervals will be used, but their overabundance can easily make a passage tedious and clunky. The dissonant interval’s strength is lessened.