What is TONL?
Examples, bi-directional row usage, tonal implications
TONL is a new way to approach the 12-tone method. It is difficult to deny the universality that this method imposes, and by using the phrase 12-tone method in its title it at once becomes a misnomer. TONL may have its roots in the 12-tone method, but certainly contains equal influence of bi-tonal composition, traditional tonal composition, counterpoint, jazz harmony, cyclical javanese gamelan structuring, and many others. To explain the influence of all of these upon TONL is beyond the scope of this book, but I will point out some of the inspired facets where appropriate. TONL is not meant to be a method of analysis. It presents different ways to write music using a tone row as a starting point. More specifically, as will be seen in the section Composing with TONL, TONL is a direct way to translate emotion into music.
To give the reader a very brief idea of how using this method is different from traditional serialism we can take a cursory look at the example below.
(using green thumb row)
We will notice there appears to be no relation to serial music. The pitches don’t follow the tone row’s order, however pitches are represented almost totally equally. All pitches occur 3 times with the exception of F natural which is ever so slightly over represented with 5 occurrences, and F# which only has 2 occurrences.
A cursory examination of Trying to Save a Burning Picnic bars 1-7 (below) illustrates one of the many varying ways to use TONL.
Bi-Directional Row Usage
G Ab C E Eb B F A Bb F# D C#
The tone row used for this composition is: