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Shoenberg Paper

Shoenberg Paper

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Published by Kevin Pescador

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Published by: Kevin Pescador on May 03, 2013
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Kevin FisherApril 27, 2013Analysis
KiesSchoenberg Questions/2 Statements1.
In twelve-tone music, what types of harmonies are avoided?a.
According to
article, all consonances are avoided. Thisincludes major and minor triads, including thirds, fifths, octaves, andunisons. This is the same for simple dissonances too, includingdiminished triads and seventh chords, which contain simple 2
 intervals. Schoenberg says this is not based on a specific rule, but thegeneral style of twelve-ton
e composers. Eventually, a “happy mixture”
containing some of these sounds will be established.2.
Was Schoenberg extremely public about his tone-row methods?a.
Schoenberg was not open or public about his use of tone-rows forapproximately two years. This is because he knew his colleagues andother musicologists would be perplexed about this concept. At thetime, he did not call this a tone-
row “system”, but a “method” as a tool
for composition. He did not even assume this method as a theory,either. He believed that you could use the tone-row as a tool and
compose music as one had previously done before this new “method”.
He did fear that other composers would become confused, andinevitably, they did.3.
How does Schoenberg feel about functional harmony?a.
Schoenberg does not believe in one idea of harmony. He believes that there are many different ideas out there in regards to compositionand structure. The main point he makes in the articles is that thecomposer must be conscious of his/her fantasies. The composer must have a sense of security and a sense of precision when writing musicbecause the ideas must be believable and convincing for thecomposer. Whatever chord progressions or fundamental movementsthe music is doing is irrelevant 
it is the process and backgroundstability by which the music is created that is more important.4.
What is a unit?a.
A unit is “the two
-or-more dimensional space in which musical ideas
are presented”. A phrase is an example of a musical unit. Schoenberg
explains this concept with the example of English words. No singleword can stand alone
it must coincide with other ideas. The same isfor music. One note on a page means nothing unless they are analyzedand controlled by the other notes surrounding the specific note. It isall about the bigger picture when it comes to units. A musical rhythm,harmony, or melody is nothing by itself 
it must be considered withother musical entities, which therefore deem a musical unit. A basicset, in the twelve-tone method, can be used in whole or in part, as theyare part of one musical unit.5.
What is retrograde inversion?
Retrograde means backwards and inversion means upside-down.Thurs, retrograde-
inversion, as discussed in Schoenberg’s articles, is
the concept of music that moves backward and upside-down. Thisprocess is used on the same tone-row. The inversion of the primeseries is in reverse order from last pitch to first. First, the inversionhappens. Then the inverted version is taken backwards so that theuntranposed retrograde inversion ends with the pitch that began theprime form of the series.
Schoenberg’s first composition with this
concept was the Piano Suite Op. 25.6.
What are Schoenberg’s thoughts on “sound”?
Schoenberg says that sound was once a dignified higher-quality of music. Now, he says, that idea has deteriorated. Now he thinks that sound is used as a screen by which the absence of ideas will not benoticeable. He believes sound is the vehicle for deep, intrinsic ideas.The sound changes often in his music, based on every idea. At somepoints, the sound and ideas are difficult to perceive because of therapid changes.7.
What does Schoenberg say about writing in canons?a.
There is no merit to writing canons in two or more voices. Schoenbergbelieves this because the 2
, 3
, or 4
voices just need to enter twonotes later than the previous voice and there will never be paralleloctaves. He believes canons and imitations should only occur toaccompany other voices, simply as a base. This would make theharmonies fuller and would bring out the main voices.8.
What is an advantage of twelve-tone composing?a.
An advantage of composition with a set of twelve tones is that the
ppearance of dissonances is regulated
Dissonances aren’t used to
spice-up consonances. The consonances are not of more importancethan the dissonances, but of equal importance.
I agree with Schoenberg’s statements on sound. When I was first exposed to“atonal” pieces such as Cage’s 4’33” and the twelve
-tone Op. 25 Schoenberg Suite, Iwas not exactly interested because it was not traditional, consonant sound that Iwas used to. After having read the Schoenberg article, I now understand that eventhough the sounds are not always pleasant, they are sounds connected to andaffiliated with other sounds. For example, a screeching cello bow on a roughpercussion instrument can be directly correlated with the sounds of the Holocaust dead camps.

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