A Primer for Atonal Set Theory Author(s): Joseph N.

Straus Reviewed work(s): Source: College Music Symposium, Vol. 31 (1991), pp. 1-26 Published by: College Music Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40374122 . Accessed: 22/01/2013 07:30
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Pedagogyof Music Theory

A Primer for Atonal SetTheory1
JosephN. Straus
its earlier days, set theoryhas had an air of the secret society about it, withadmissiongrantedonly to those who possess the magic password,a forbidding technical vocabulary bristlingwith expressions like "6-Z44" and as the sterile "intervalvector." It has thus oftenappeared to the uninitiated to inaudible and mathematical of arcane, concepts uninteresting application musical relationships.This situationhas created understandablefrustration has grownas discussions of twentiethamong musicians,and the frustration literaturehave come to be in theoretical the music professional century in this unfamiliar almost language. entirely expressed Where did this theorycome fromand how has it managed to become so Set theoryemergedin response to the motivicand contextualnadominant? of referential music. Tonal music uses only a small number tureof post-tonal sonorities(triads and seventhchords); post-tonalmusic presentsan extraorTonal music sharesa commonpractice of musicalconfigurations. variety dinary and voice leading; post-tonalmusic is more highlyself-referenof harmony - each work defines anew its basic shapes and modes of progression.In tial are constrained tonal music, motivicrelationships by the normsof tonal synand function as primary music, motivesbecome independent tax; in post-tonal was needed, free In this situation, a new music theory structural determinants. and flexibleenoughto describe a wide range tonal relationships of traditional The structural novelties of post-tonalmusic of new musical constructions. to rethink even the most basic elementsof music, pitch and caused theorists a new theoryarose, flexible and powerful interval.On this new foundation, describe a new musical world. to enough This new theoryhas its roots in work by Milton Babbitt,Allen Forte, David Lewin, RobertMorris,GeorgePerle, and John Rahn,but it has flowered
SET THEORY HAS A BAD REPUTATION. LlKE SCHENKERIAN ANALYSIS IN

1 This article is adapted from my Introductionto Post-Tonal Theory, an undergraduatetextbook recentlypublished by Prentice-Hall.

This content downloaded on Tue, 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

M. Robert Morris. This content downloaded on Tue. annotated bibliographyof post-tonal theory.but as an arrayof flexible tools for discovering and interpreting musical relationships.Since equivalencerelationships set theory.At its best. particularly"Some Aspects of TwelveTone Composition. atonal set theoryis not Despite its occasionally forbidding particularly complicated. it has much more general applications throughout tonal music. "Twelve-Tone Invariantsas Musical Quarterly 46 (1960): 246-59. Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress. Two important profoundnew perspectives on this basic material.It is best understoodnot as a community rigidlyprescribedpractice.it should be emphasized at the outset that equivalence does not mean identity. 1987). mentto twentieth-century music. 1987). not on the theory possible rich and interesting hearings of the finest musical works of the twentieth century. Our musical notation reflects that equivalence by giving the same name to muchof atonal octave-related underpin pitches. and Berg. Example 1 shows two melodic lines fromSchoenberg'sString No. and George Perle. OctaveEquivalence There is somethingspecial about the octave. Webern. 1980).** tional Determinant. including particularly twelve-toneserial music. Basic Atonal Theory (New York: Longman.3 2A complete.'* Journal of Music Theory 5/2 (1961): 72-94. 1973). John Rahn.just a commitare needed computersor advanced degrees in mathematics small integers. 1981).No high-powered . 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .It should be emphasized that these has occasionally can and shouldbe enjoyably audible. 3 Although atonal set theory is most closely associated with the "free atonal** music of the range of postSchoenberg.at least in its basic applications.If set theory relationships veered into the inaudiblyarcane. one fromthe beginning Quartet measuresfromthe end. but a of local dialects and subcultures." The Score and I. of the firstmovement and one a few 4. 1987). The Structureof Atonal Music (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress. The basic concepts presented in this article are drawn from Babbitt*s work.5th ed.2 Set theoryis not a single language. eds.and much else besides: David Lewin. Magazine 12 (1955): 53-61.the abilityto add and subtract and some good will. "Set Structureas a ComposiCompositional Determinants.compiled by Martha Hyde and Andrew Mead. their theoretical categories have broad application in post-tonal music. (Berkeley: Universityof California Press. and also from three widely used books: Allen Forte. What follows is a primerof basic concepts of atonal set theory. A.2 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM in many different directions. appearance. that should be blamed on the excesses of makes itself. The field as a whole originates with Milton Babbitt's influentialarticles and teaching. Composition withPitch Classes (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress. may be found in Music TheorySpectrum11/1 (1989): 44-48. Serial Composition and recent books offer Atonality. the theory individualpractitioners. Straus (Madison: Universityof Wisconsin Press. Although these articles focus on twelve-tone music. Pitches separated by one or more octaves are usually perceived as in some sense equivalent. Some of Babbitt's central concerns are presentedmore informally in Milton Babbitt: Words About Music. Stephen Dembski and Joseph N.

equivalent. There are manydifferences contain both because sound they equivalent ticulation. 4. No. No. but they rhythm. a Gl. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .the purpose of invokof the musical surface. 1. ing octave equivalenceis not to smoothout the variety the beneath thatlie surface. 11. Op. particularly of one single unversions different as two understood still are they rhythm. I Til 1'i| I'^^^J This content downloaded on Tue. they derlying In Example 2. the openingof Schoenberg'sPiano Piece. etc.StringQuartetNo. only a B. Op.Piano Piece. Two equivalentmelodies (Schoenberg.lendingunityand but to reveal the relationships coherenceto musical works. i liLj I 'i I viol™ I iJiJIlJJJ-i^ i J. first movement). and a G. JiuJ*io » _ ii A ^ i/' ^ \\ ! // M i i i c* 1^1 IJLJ 1 1 1 I 1 in theirrange and Althoughthe two lines differin many ways. 1).). Two equivalentmusical ideas (Schoenberg.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 3 Example 1. Moderate / ^~ -^-^^ arbetweenthe two collectionsof notes (register. comparethe firstthreenotes of the melodywiththe sustainednotes in measures 4-5. As with otherequivalences. 11. Example 2. are In other idea. words.

For the most part. we are referring to a specific pitch.for example).a pitch class is not a single thing. Postexample. as are all the Cts and Dts. A*i. the tonal systemgives Bt and At instrument equal-tempered In forexample. in reality. Composers may occasionally noequivalent functionally tate pitches in what seems like a functionalway (sharps for ascending and flats for descending.but. and DW» is arbitrarily assigned the integer 0. Bl>is not equivalentto A*.A pitch and all the otherpitches one or more octaves away fromit are membersof the same pitchclass. we is are not to some particular pitch C. Bt. D is a memberof pitch-class2. it is a class of things. in all octaves. largely post-tonal are also equivalent. but to pitch-class referring phony C. Ds. and Etts.determined primarily legibility. In C-maJor. are membersof scale-degreeS. tonal music uses twelve pitch classes. Notation Integer Tonal music uses seven scale degrees or step classes. All Bts. for and At. and cannotbe accuratelynotatedon musiC.They are traditional music (as in figuredbass numbers. Ct and Dt are membersof pitch-class 1.however. Set theorycustomarily uses a "fixed do" notation: The pitch class containingC.for convenience. all the CXs. and different G-major.When we say thatthe lowest note on the cello is C. and so on. and Dl4>sare membersof a single pitch class. As long as we avoid committing the "numeromathematical without logical fallacy" performing operations regardto their This content downloaded on Tue. and so on. for example) and useful for representing certainmusical relationships. Pitch-classC is an abstraction in cal staves. This distinctionis have different 2 3 and very scale-degrees in where notes that are enharmonically abandoned music.At.a pitch class will be represented musical notation. We can notatethat pitch on the second ledger line When we say thatthe tonic of Beethoven's FifthSymbeneaththe bass staff. musical roles. Even on an like the piano. in Integersare simple to grasp and to manipulate. Our theoretical and analyticalpurposes are best served by cutting the notational and assigningintegersfrom0 through11 to through diversity the twelve pitch classes.the notation is functionally by simple convenienceand meaningless. Os.4 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM Pitch Class It is usefulto distinguish betweena pitch (a tone witha certainfrequency) and a pitch class (a group of pitches one or more octaves apart fromone another). Enharmonic Equivalence In common-practice tonal music. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Sometimes. functions. At is t2 whereasBt is lo.

If we are concernedabout the dithe by we can precede it is ascendingor descending.C-DX. fora related This content downloaded on Tue. majorthirds.in general. PitchIntervals names to inA theoryof post-tonalmusic has no need to give different and fourths diminished as such absolute tervalswiththe same size. Similarly. 12 = 24. -1. to suggest the idea of descending) and sometimesuses numthe distancebetweentwo widely bers largerthan 11 (forexample. for which mod 12 is an abbreviation.we will findthema greathelp.addof 12) does not changepitch-class 12 (or a multiple identity. A major thirdis consonantwhile a diminishedfourthis dissonant.Intervalswith a 4See Rahn.-13. as are Bt-Ft. are third. thengo up or down one or more octaves.from0 to 11 inclusive.and set theory frequently In a mod 12 system. and 35 are all equivalentto 11 (and to each other) because they are related to 11 (and to each other) by adding or sub. In tonal music. any more than our lives are "mathematical"just because we count our ages in integers. the numberof semitoneswith either a plus sign (to indicate an ascending interval)or a minus sign (to indicatea descendinginterval).Basic AtonalTheory. 23. In arithmetical terms. In music that doesn't use diatonic scales and doesn't systematically and even betweenconsonanceand dissonance. Set theory (for example.twelve hours after 12 (or multiplesof 12). Mod 12 Every pitchbelongs to one of the twelvepitchclasses.-12 = 0 = 12. and so on. such distinctions functionally is an intervalthat spans threesteps of a diatonic scale. example. bers to model musical relationships "mathematical" The theoryand the music it describes are not.The intervalsbetween C and E and between C and Ft both contain foursemitonesand are both instancesof interval4.measured numberof semitonesbetweenthem. A for crucial.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 5 . whether rectionof the interval. ing or subtracting reliesupon arithmetic modulo Thus. you arriveat anothermemberof the same pitch class. 19.it seems cumbersome distinguish more accurate and intervalnames. A pitch intervalis simply the distance between two pitches.such numbers separated mod 12 equivalents. therefore. If you begin with a memberof some pitchclass. It's just like tellingtime tracting numbers uses negative sometimes fouro'clock it's fouro'clock again. while a fourth spans four steps. of the numerological discussion fallacy. 12 is a modulus. It is easier misleadingto use traditional semitones of they musicallyjust to name intervalsaccordingto the number contain. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .to represent of their are discussedin terms pitches)but.4 Set theory uses nummusical implications thatare interesting and rewarding to hear.

Whetheran intervalis consideredorderedor unordereddepends on our interests at the time.6 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM plus or minus sign are called directed or ordered intervals. * LsJLnJ L8JL3J * * The relationship is not as obvious as the one based on orderedpitch intervals.l'p'hiHinjlyj'flnr H'r^l^] Wie bin ich froh! noch ein-mal wird mir al . I^J.the highpoint classes to be intervallic heard."Wie Example 3. based on orderedpitch pitch intervals are easy to hear.Considerthe melodyby Weberngiven analytical particular in Example 3. also relate to the opening three-note in a more subtle way: they but figure. The orderedpitch intervalsfocus attention on the contourof the line. but it is still not hard to hear.The unordered pitch intervalsignore contourand concentrate on the between the pitches. To calculate an orderedpitch-classinterval.tet so! The intervallic ideas of its openingnotes echo throughout the line. Motivic development bin ich froh!"fromThree Songs. via orderedpitch intervals(Webern. The threemelodynotes at the beginning of the second measure. 25). have the same unordered intervals (see Example 4). pitch via unordered Example 4. The opening figure can thus be understood in termsof its orderedand unordered simultaneously pitch intervals. The orderedpitch intervalsformedby its firstthreepitches occur again in two otherplaces. Motivic development pitch intervals.The second fragment spans a rest and helps to link two lines of the poem. The thirdone of the melody and the last of the twelve leaps up to a high G>.Cl-F-D. pitch-classintervalscan be thoughtof eitheras orderedor unordered.If we are concernedonlywiththe absolutespace between two pitches(an unordered interval). 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .les griin und leuch. its balance of risingand fallingmotion. we need only the numberitself. These echoes. Op. entirely spaces Pitch-ClassIntervals A pitch-class interval is the distancebetweentwo pitchclasses. Like pitch intervals. in measure2 (D-B-Bt) and measure3 (C-A-Gt). envisionthe pitch classes This content downloaded on Tue.

22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . to get fromone pitch class to any otherpitch class. neverhas to travelfarther Let's returnone more time to our Webern melody.by imitating Example 6).4 in both the same as the unordered pitch-classintervalbetweenA and Ct unordered cases. The unordered pitch-classintervalbetweenCf and A is 4.sometimesby imitating pitch intervals. Df.That registrally 1 and 4 (G-Di). in order. Notice thatthe fromthatbeorderedpitch-classintervalbetween A and Q (4) is different ordered tweenCf and A (8). We noted that the last fourpitch classes were the same as the firstfour.tet 9 11 3 so! The contoursof the two fragments (theirorderedpitch intervals)are different.directionno longer matters.but the orderedpitch-classintervalsare the same: 9-11-3. is 8. Excluding the unison. . This content downloaded on Tue. Excludingthe unison.sometimesby imitatingits orderedpitch inand sometimes.All we care about now is the space betweentwo pitchclasses. contour. one than six semitones.but given a different contour. This similarity the rhyme offthe melodicphraseand of reinforcing is a nice way of rounding in the text: "Wie bin ich froh!. Notice that the unorderedpitch-classintervalbetween Ct and A is .thereare only six different pitch-class intervalsbecause. because it is only 4 semitonesfromany Cf to the nearestavailable A.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 7 arrangedaround a circularclockface and count clockwise (or envision a piano keyboardand countupward) fromthe first pitchclass to the second. pitch-class the same as those formedby the firstthree notes of the figure (G-E-Dt): E-Dt is 1. the firstfourpitch classes are the same.as the last four:G-E-Dt-Ft (see Example 5). (Dt-Ft). its unordered tervals. In the Webern melody discussed above. . but the same orderedpitch-classintervals. The entire melody develops musical ideas fromits opening figure. Unordered pitch-class availare calculatedfromone pitchclass to the otherby the shortest intervals able route. Different orderedpitch intervals: -3+11+3 +9 -13 3 +3 orderedpitch-class intervals: Wie bin ich froh! 9 11 3 und leuch.thereare eleven different pitch-classintervals. for example. Example 5. und leuchtetso!" For unordered pitch-classintervals. and G-Dt is 4. G-E is 3. The orderedpitch-classintervalfromQ to A. its orderedor unorderedpitch-classintervals(see more subtly. and Ft togetherin a low collection (G-Dt-Ff)containsundefinedthree-note register.eitherup or down.This change of contourmakes something interesting happen: it puts the E up in a high registerand groups the G. These are exactly 3 intervals ordered (G-Ft).

we can do so in fourdifferent ways.If we call it a 3. we have expressed the intervalin its simplest. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . you will be betterable to see the larger brushstrokes.and 1 (semitone) are all membersof interval-class1.its compounds. 1. rightdown to the individual If you standback a bit.the numberof occurrencesof each of the dicating. If you stand a few inches away froma painting. If we call it a +21. to the highest. from interval describe the want to we for interval.8 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM Example 6.what you see depends upon It's like describingany object in the world where you stand. If we call it a 9. pitch-class the lowest note in the Webern melody. you may be aware of the subtlestdetails.11 (major seventh). intervals ordered pitch-class nnr>rHf»iwrftttr4vJnt- -"" .and many pitch its inversionswith respect to the octave are membersof the same interval class. we have reduced a compound intervalto its simple equivalent. Interval-Class Content The sound of a sonorityis determinedto a significantdegree by its interval-class content. pitch-classinterval.If we call it a 21. Piece. Developmentof the initialmelodic figure. B3. One of the nice thingsabout music is thatyou can hear a single object like in manydifferent an interval ways at once. as thoughit were possible to stand in several different places at the same time. we express only its size. and overall design.conveyingboth the size of the intervaland its direction. 11. . appropriate six intervalclasses.for example. example. If. Justas each An unordered pitch-classinterval individual contains pitches. for example.most abstractform. 13 (minorninth). Thus. There is no single "right"place to stand. we have describedit veryspecifically. you should be willing to move fromplace to place. so each intervalclass contains many pitch-class A individual intervals. ordered pitcfrmteixals .It's just thatsome are more concreteand specificwhile othersare more generaland abstract.GI5. to the shapes the appreciate painting. Example 7 refersagain to the three-note sonorityfrom Piano No.This can be summarizedin Scoreboardfashionby inin the column. Op. pitch interval. given pitch interval.None of these labels is better or more correctthanthe others. pitch intervals23 (compound major seventh). orderedpitch We thushave fourdifferent ways of talkingabout intervals: unordered and ordered unordered interval. Schoenberg's This content downloaded on Tue. " ****-* ■ """"""' ^S^ ^^^"^^ Ultuuirn1/! U^sitrfrrvals [iJUill is also called an intervalclass.

(Stravinsky. Interval-class content of a contrasting three-note sonority The Rake's Progress. 11. or 6). Op. 1.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 9 Example 7. Scene 1).in this it necessarilycontains three intervals Like any three-note sonority. Interval-class content of a three-notesonority (Schoenberg. j 7Q ^^sS^f^^E^^^ls^^^^ 5 35:= class Interval of number occurrences 12 0 10 3 4 0 | | 5 2 \ 6 0 This content downloaded on Tue. (and in this is fromthe sonoritiespreferred How different by Stravinsky the pas2 in Example 8! These 1 and labeled Rake's The from his Progress. Piano Piece. 5. 1). Moderate "7^-^-^^ "T^^ I"1 1' "TTTi n \^^§-j A rJmmmmm^4r * class Interval ^ of number I 1 2 0 3 110 4 5 6 0 -^ &\ - 1 1U h» ff" "^ occurrences 11111 . Act I. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 4 no and case one occurrenceeach of interval-classes 2. 3. opera sage sonoritiescontainonly 2s and 5s. Example 8. No.

The first in an interval of interval-class number of occurrences vectorgives the number 1. however.it can offer perspective formations. only a few basic sonorities . ^ j 11110 3 4 5 6 ii^ ifi7Tr^m i 2 2 iL. Interval fortalking abouttraditional tonalmusic.is 101100 and so on. Post-tonalmusic. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . ^ fi 1 This content downloaded on Tue. IntervalVector forthe major scale. ^n. ■ i&.. Example 9. vectorsare notreallynecessary .four kinds of triads and five kinds of There. Example 9 calculates the intervalvectorforthe major scale. G-Gt-B.are regularly in use.10 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM The interval-class contentis usually presentedas a stringof six numbers with no spaces intervening. in Example7. way of summarizing Even thoughthe intervalvectoris not as necessarya tool for tonal muon traditional sic as forpost-tonal an interesting music. Their difference in theirintervalvectors. class: 12 Interval | tr j^g^J. the second numbergives the numberof occurrencesof interval-class2. The interval vectorforthe sonority and the intervalvector for the sonoritiesin Example 8 (A-B-E and D-E-A) in sound is clearly suggestedby the difference is 010020. ^ I l l l ' 2 ' • ' ■ • *•' 4 totalnumber 9 4 l^l^l4!^!0'1 ofoccurrences: ' __! <.The intervalvectoris a convenient theirbasic sound. Intervalvectors can be constructed for sonoritiesof any size or shape. This is called an intervalvector.confronts us seventhchords witha huge varietyof musical sonorities.

First. The intervalvector of information . interval trasting Pitch-ClassSets Pitch-classsets are the basic buildingblocks of much post-tonalmusic. It has only one tritone(fewer than any other 5 interval)and 6 occurrences(more than any otherinterval)of interval-class what This probablyonly confirms and fifth. As with any seven-notecollection. This is an extremely and rareproperty (only threeothercollectionshave it).060603. Op.register. intervalsformedwiththe first second note. set. of the major scale are immediately Certain intervallicproperties apparent fromits intervalvector.it contains a different of the major scale has anotherinteresting property numberof occurrencesof each of the intervalclasses. 25.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 11 each interval class. of closely and distantly tonal traditional the hierarchy possible classes in the major scale. This content downloaded on Tue. pitch-class ano.presentsa starkeither/ the intervalvectorforthe whole-tone scales are suggestedby theirconof the two or.thereare 21 intervalsin all. E. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . G]. Suite forPiin from the Gavotte F.It is like A pitch-classset is simplyan unordered . fourth whichcontainsthe perfect vectormakes the same kind we alreadyknew about this scale. and so on.Example 10 shows five different rhythm. collectionof pitch-classes.the Notice the methodicalprocess of extracting thenthose formedwiththe note are extracted. The contrasting properties vectors. Schoenberg's [Dt. of interval to the unique multiplicity In comparison scale. characteristics a motive withoutmany of its customary identifying occurrencesof a single and order. but the interval available about less familiarcollections. and it makes important relatedkeys.

it is oftenhelpfulto put it into a simple. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Op. - ^ • - s^ a It is expressed in a varietyof ways. 25).compact. (\ A f (ifo /fi^K ffn \ ^ ^ /i r ===== i». A single pitch-class set expressed in five differentways (Schoenberg.fromSuite forPiano.12 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM Example 10. Conmusical figures can represent the same pitch-classset. versely. unityand diversity be achievedby selectinga pitch-class set (or a small number of different pitchclass sets) as a basic structural thatbasic unit in unit.4 \k\jk * ' 26 *tf~^"\ l rit. thatcoherence is determined by the use of pitch-classsets.and thentransforming various ways.Gavotte.easily graspedform This content downloaded on Tue. In a great deal of post-tonalmusic. but always retainsits basic pitch-class and interval-class A balance of compositional can identity.manydifferent To aid in recognizinga pitch-classset no matter how it is presentedin the music. NormalForm A pitch-classset can be presentedmusicallyin a varietyof ways. we search for coherence. When we listen to or analyze music.

comparethe inthe left. It is just a convenientway of writing has no particularstabilityor priority. Schoenberg's "changing in two ways with Five Orchestral Pieces. See "Set Structureas a Compositional Determinant.To determine notes.in contrast. many different in use. Q-F-A. E] [G#. then arbitrarily pick the orderingbeginningwith the pitch class represented by the smallest integer. This notationalconventions are currently article adopts Rahn's formulation. There will be as many different ways of doing this as there are an can begin on any of the pitch in since the classes set.6 For most sets. 3. A-Q-F. be written 2. choose the orderingthat is most packed to which is most packed to the left.G-Dt-E-F. with the smallestpossible intervalbetween the firstand last notes. C. To put a set in normal form. Choose the orderingwhich has the smallest intervalfromthe lowest Gavotte of theset from note.compare from chord" famous the and so on. The normalformof a pitch-classset is similarto the root positionof a sonorities that triad." 6Allen Forte (The Structure of Atonal Music) and JohnRahn (Basic Atonal Theory)differslightly in their definitionof normal form.withinan octave. the inversionsof a triad are generated however. ordering pitch classes in the set. This content downloaded on Tue. and Gi-A-B-C-E. In this article.its pitch classes must be arrangedin ascending order.compressedways of representing differences can occur in many positions and spacings. clear.5 way of writing of a sonority a pitch-classset makes it easy to see the essential attributes and to compare it to othersonorities. Excluding doublings. B. There are important tonal theory. No.themostcompressed The normal form called the normalform.can out as E-F-G-Dt. 3. E. In traditional fromthe relativelymore stable root position. A.F-G-Dt-E. If two or more orderingsshare the same smallest intervalfromthe lowest to the highestnote. here is the step-by-step procedure: 1. first to from second-to-last). the normalformis evidentfromsimple inspection.the intervalfromDt to G is only 6). (The set fromSchoenberg'sGavotte.(The normalform to thehighest Schoenberg's is [Dt.(For example. 16.in thatboth are simple. If all of the comparisonsof Rule 3 still produceno clear choice. F.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 13 . If the determination first and second-to-last the between tervals first and third-to-last between intervals the not is still notes. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Unfortunately. The normalform.and Dt-E-F-G).writethe pitch classes ascending withinan octave. and F-A-Q are 5 The concept of "normal form" is original with Milton Babbitt. 4. Op. but this results in only a small number of discrepancies. G]. sets so thattheycan be more easily studiedand compared. E-Gi-A-B-C to from lowest an 8 highest: only has smaller interval the since it normal is the form. can be written Of these. (For example. normal formswill be given in square brackets.forexample. and withthe smallerintervals packed towardthe botbut tom.

simplyadd 8 (mod 12) to each elementin the set to create a new set [1. 7.) Transposition refersto lines of pitches. When we The termtransposition traditionally a tune from C to G major. resentedby the expressionTn.its transposition normalform). 11] by pitch-classinterval8. pitch-classsets circled in Example 11 are all transpositions This content downloaded on Tue. we transposeeach pitch. This der. in ortranspose major some interval. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . by pitch operation preserves the ordered pitch intervalsin the line and thus its contour.Because contouris such a basic musical feature.The four a result. 3. 4. [Ci. For example. 7]. Transposinga set (not a line) of pitch classes (not pitches) is somewhat To transposea pitch-classset by some intervaln. F. A] is designatedas the normalformsince its first pitchclass is 1. 8. an operationrepdifferent. to transpose[5. it is easy to recognizewhen two lines of pitches are related by transposition.transposition of one another. simply add n to each pitch class in the set. rule fordetermining ber of exceptionsrelatedto the fourth A pitch-classset is a collection with no specified order or contour. If the will be also (with a small numfirstset is in normalform.As of a set preservesneitherordernor contour.14 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM in a three-way tie accordingto Rule 3. which is lower than5 or 9.

«* r~fl *hi " \.fill 1 ^ l Trp\ I ( Ak"(i|J \ \ Dmpf.Concerto Example 11. (Tijnimermit ' - I i " ■ / / I / Iffhr \ '/ 1/ I " ^ /mil / Dmpf.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 15 equivalentpitch-classsets (Webern.ca40 F1mi " ========^=^ obis==EE^^m=^=^==== . iD I I . V \ VI -s- ===== M ¥r>i 1 ■ l^ -• l^^^^Jr.) --mivpmpfX ^EE^=^=^ ==H" ■ I I . 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 24. i I" 1 [I ■ This content downloaded on Tue. Sehr Langsamo . Op. Transpositionally forNine Instruments. second movement).

F. a deeperunity beneatha complexmusical surface. positionalmeans of creating to one of the songs from Considerthe beginning of the piano introduction Schoenberg'sBook of the Hanging Gardens. A.* " [BKI>. F] To | I % " = == * . C]. 15. the righthand of the piano transposes[Bt. [F. 3. [Bt. This content downloaded on Tue. Sehrruhig(* = 4£> (« Gesang (fc -JsL-i* /' Klavier \ \ = E l . Second.each of themcontainsinterval-classes 1. theyall have the same intervalvector. it transposesagain. F] in normalform. Dt. the B in the thirdset. Dt. and no others.IAYttJ* */ PP ' n^!^- Jj. and consequently. resulting and projects it through a transpositional That succession of path: TO-T3-T7. in G#. the Df has the same position in the firstset that the D has in the second set. in normal form.and theirorder. D. this time to sultingin [O.When the music continuesin measure 2. Op. i . F. 15. G#].First.as they are is particularly clear when the sets are written beneaththe score in Example 11.16 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM in manyobvious ways.G»] T3 I ■ [F.Transposition of a set of pitchclasses may changemanythings. Transpositionally equivalentpitch-class path (Schoenberg. in measure4.E. For example. The music thus takes an initial musical idea T7.A. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . No. Op.h . D. and the At in the fourth set. thingsin comtheystill have two important This mon.Book of the Hanging Gardens. reThen.C] pocorit.This gives them a similarsound. D. and 4. theircontour. is but it preservesinterval-class content.G». «P ■ [d.transposition is an important comone of only two operations thatdo so.theycontainone-to-one correspondences amongtheirelements. 11). theirmannerof presentation.including theirpitchand pitchThese sets are dissimilar class content. and a transpositional Example 12. E. shown in Example 12.Along with inversion.T7- I ■ == -^-'^ ppp The openingfour-note hand of the piano describesa certain melodyin the right pitch-classset. Withall of thesedifferences. sets. F] to T3.

Bt-Dt-F.each ascendingpitch intervalis replaced by a descendingone and reversed traditional tonal practicerequiresonly that interval vice versa. No. applied to lines a line of pitches. Pitch-class 1 invertsto -1. not only by the transpositional equivalence of threepitch class sets. 7The eleventh song fromSchoenberg's Book of the Hanging Gardens has been analyzed briefly by Tom Demske ("Registral Centers of Balance in Atonal Works by Schoenberg and Webern. 0-3-7. not intervalqualities (major can become minor. Furthermore.The second are arranged but theirintervals val-class content. or 11. in great and compelling detail by David Lewin ("Toward the Analysis of a Schoenberg Song (Op. versa).and vice sizes be maintained.The inversionof pitch-classn is 12-n. Inversionally Moderate) QX-. Example 13.- ^ fi\ } V InlMl tfHf^ 13 3 1 3 1 Comparethe firsttwo sets circled in the example. invert." In TheoryOnly 9/2-3 (1986): 60-76). In inverting . firstand thentranspose." Perspectives of New Music 12/1-2 (1973-4): 4386). This content downloaded on Tue. Op. 15.7 its large-scalereproduction Inversion inversionis an operationtraditionally Like transposition. No. and. My brief discussion is indebted to the latter. 3 invertsto 9. a compoundoperationexpressedas TnI. Afterwe we will transposein the usual way. exactly mirrors transposition firstthreenotes of the melody. 11). Example 13 shows again the opening of Schoenberg'sPiano Piece. They have the same interin reverseorder. It is best understoodas Inversionof a pitch-classset is a bit different. 1. and so on.order is preservedand contouris of pitches. 2 invertsto 10. but by of a small-scalemotivicidea. 11.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 17 the intervallicsuccession of the levels.where "I" means "invert" and "Tn" we will always invert means "transposeby some intervaln. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." By convention. equivalentpitch-classsets.The passage is thus audiblyunified.

7].the firstelement in one set will usually correspondto the last elementin the other. The conceptof index number sets offersa simplerway both of inverting and of telling if two sets are inversionallyrelated. 3.Conversely.to inversionally the operationTnI on some pitch class. Here again are the firstand thirdsets fromExample 13. They have the same interval-class are in reverseorder. 9. To perform the operationT4I on [10. 1972). 1. the firstelementin one set corresponds elementin the other.the second to the second. The normalformof (6. • The concept of "index number"was firstdiscussed by Milton Babbitt in "Twelve-Tone Rhythmic Structureand the Electronic Medium/*Perspectives of New Music 1/1 (1962): 49-79. we will add corresponding elementsand call that inversionally and both sum an "index number. and Van Solkema (New York: Norton. and last to first). 2. Downes. we subtracted corresponding transpositionally set and called that difference When comparing number. (12-4)+5. (12-3)+5. These two sets are related at T5I. 3. As before. Notice that if we write this new set in reverseorder [10. 3."When two sets are relatedby transposition to the first sets are in normalform. to apply the operationT5I to the set [1. Brook. 10) is [10. 2. for example. simplysubtract it fromn. 4. simplyinverteach memberof the set in turn. l)+5.but generallywhen you inverta set in normalform. and so on. (12-7)+5) = (4. Any two sets in which the corresponding elementsall have the same sum are related by inversionand thatsum is the index number.inverting a set in normal formproduces the normal formof a new set written backwards. 1. eds. 3. but the intervals content. second to second-to-last. simplyadd themtogether.Remembering we get ((12to invertbeforetransposing. 10). 148-79. He developed this concept in many of his articles. 4-6) = (6. 11] and [6. This is because inversionallyrelated sets are mirror images of each other. 4-1. 2. 10). Now comparethe firstand thirdsets.we get 5 (mod 12) in each case.To findthe index numberfortwo related pitch classes. subtracteach eleperform mentin turnfrom 4: (4-10.For example."Perspectives in Musicology. 1971). these two sets are related by inversion. eds. 10]. 8. reprinted in Perspectives on ContemporaryMusic Theory. To inverta set.8 When we compared elementsin each related sets. 41 it will be in normal form. Bo ret z and Cone (New York: Norton. written in integer notation:[7. 6]. the resulting set will be in normalformwritten backwards. 2. If we add the pairs of corresponding elements(firstto last. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . including "ContemporaryMusic Composition and Music Theory as Contemporary IntellectualHistory.18 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM set has the same intervalsreadingfromthe top down as the firstdoes readin ing fromthe bottomup.There will be some exceptions.the second to the second-to-last. Sets related by inversioncan always be written this way. When two sets are related by inversionand both are in normal form. 6]. and so on. 151-84. 4-2. 1. 2. just apply T5I to each integerin turn. This content downloaded on Tue. Again. 2." the "transposition related sets.

[D.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY Set Class 19 Consider the followingcollection of pitch-classsets. 5] [6. 3] [0. 8] [5. 3] [0. 5.they all have content. 0. 8. F. 9] chosen set which is In the firstcolumn. the whole-tonescale. prise set is a memberof the set-class. Bt]. sets thuscomThe inversion. Al>. a to passage (omitting sets circled of number 14 a with in sures 5-8) is shown Example pitch-class of the same members are sets these All of or joined by a beam. 11] [8. 9.2. 1] [10.4] [1. containsonly threedistinctmembers:[Q. 6. 11. gins with an inversionof the set.the firstentryis an arbitrarily Each of the twelve sets levels. 7. pitch-class set class. [2. or either pitch-class twenty-four transposition by Each class. all given in normal form.a set class contains twenty-four class of the diminThe set fewer. composer can create underlying musical surface. to the othereleven. 10] [7. F#. which is similarlytransposedat each of each pitch-classset the twelve levels. In the second column.By using membersof a single set class in a the same interval-class coherencewhile varyingthe a composition. Now consider all twenty-four is relatedby transposition is relatedto all of the others Each of the twenty-four of these sets together. containing symmetrical ished-seventh chord. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 0. 2] [11. 3.4. can lend musical coherence Op.for example.B]. 9. The sets in a set class are all related to each otherby eitherTn or TnL As a result. 2. 6] [3. Eb.the rest have betweentwo and twentyfour. 11. 10.0] [9. is even more so). This content downloaded on Tue. this one (althoughone set. 8. 0] [9. is an important Set-class membership part of post-tonalmusical structure. 8] [5. No. Let's look yet again at the openingsectionof Schoenberg'sPiano Piece. sets. and [C. 7. Few sets are as redundant E. 4.Everypitch-classset belongs to a single set class. Justas a pitch class contains many equivalent pitches and an interval class contains many equivalent intervals. twelve of the each at transposition transposed The second column beis related to the remainingeleven by transposition. has however. 2] [11.as in the first. Most set classes containtwenty-four members.7] [4. 5. 11. 6. G. 11] [8. Normally. 1.A set class lent sets. as A]. 4] [1.7] [4. 6] [3. 1. a set sets called of related a pitch-class family closely single. 9] [6. 5] [2. 10] [7.a set class contains many equivamembers. 10. 1 to see how set-class membership in meavaried repetitions the brief The varied surface. 3. 1] [10.

position. are sepaa varied formwith a highpoint These are the same pitch rated in time but associated as contourhighpoints. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . [Bt. as a chord.It is articulated and. is also partof at least one smallEach note in this large-scalestatement of anothermemberof the same set class.both the left-hand highestthreenotes in the measure are membersof the set class. Bt. thenG arrivesto complete the set-statement. It occurs as a melodic fragment. by contourand by register mode of attack. C]. Varied presentation L_ 1 >> > 1 1 In the firstthreemeasures. Ai]. over a large span. by This content downloaded on Tue. The passage is virtuallysaturatedwith occurrencesof this set class. B] but also part of the registral grouping[G. Some are related content. B]. In measures 4-5. A. In measure 3. In measures9-11.[Ft. classes as the firstthreenotes of the piece and the sustainednotes in measures 4-5. The chords as a whole is also spannedby a large-scalestatement in meain measures 2-3 presentGt-Btin the bass. B. members A. of members Example 14. the highpointG is part of not only the sustainedchord [G. pitch pitch-class by transsome All inversion. The B in measure scale statement 1 is part of the collection [G.Some of the laterstatements have the same openingthree-note some the same content. forexample. the Gt is restated. When the chords return sures 10-11. Additional throughchord and the out the passage. D]. are members of the same set As in class. the G#is part of the of the set class are sprinkled collection[G#. is formedin the middle of the textureand still another. B]. [Gk G. the opening melody returns of Gt. a single continuousmelody descends from its highpointon B.20 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM of a single-setclass. the melody is reduced to a two-note of this figureare that reaches up to G (two immediaterepetitions fragment in omittedfromthe example). and as a combinationof melody and chord. In measures 4-5. The passage in the bass.An entirenetwork of musical associations radiates fromthe melodic figure. is formed by the movingpart in the tenorvoice. Bt]. An additionalmemberof the set class. B-G-Gi. Gi. These threenotes. In measure 10. Gf.

Opus 11. (If we transpose [1. George Perle discusses its intensive use of this same three-notemotive (which he calls a "basic cell") in Serial Composition and Atonality. 5. 11. 7] as an example.See also Allen Forte.([0. 6. Invertthe set and repeatsteps 1 and 2.(014) is the mostpacked sets are all membersof to the left and is the primeform.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 21 an initialmusical idea grows and tonal music. "The Magical Kaleidoscope: Schoenberg*s First Atonal Masterwork. 1.10 Here is the procedurefor findingthe prime formof a set class. Of these. No. Set-class 3-4.(Take [1. 4. 1. The numberafterthe dash on gives its position on Forte's list. Rahn. and Gary Wittlich. 6.) is morepacked 4. Allen Forte. 7. More familiarly. No. ([1." Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute 5 (1981): 127-68. 5). He identifies each with a pair has compiled a well-known of numbersseparatedby a dash (for example. form.two begin with0: 034 and 014." Perspectives of New Music 13 (1972): 41-55. The numberbefore the dash tells the numberof pitch classes in the set. 5. Considfew set classes.thereare surprisingly eringthe largenumber 9 Schoenberg*s Piano Piece. mal forms. 3-4).is a member. 6] is more packed to the leftthan [0. 2. No. select the one with the "most normal"of norand use thatto name the set-class as a whole. 6]. 6]. Forte's names are widely used.) 3. First. our example. Op. called the primeform. 7] invertsto (11. 6. Comparethe resultsof step 2 and step 3. list of set classes. 7.) 2. is the fourth set classes. Of the pitch-classsets listed at the beginningof the previous section of twenty-four this article. 5.conventionsfor notatingprime formsvary fromsource to source. for example. has been widely analyzed. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . This optimalform.includingthe books by Forte. This content downloaded on Tue.but witheven greater intensity. 4. of pitchclass sets. Transpose the set so that the firstelementis 0. 10 As with normal form. Put the set into normalform.9 Prime Form There are two standardways of naming set classes. If that set is transposedat T7. 2.Those twenty-four we say that each of the set class with prime form(014). 7]. and Morris cited in the notes to this article. The normalformof that set is [5." In the rest of this article. 5. 5. so (0126) is the primeformof the set class of which [1.set classes will be identitheirprime fied by both theirname accordingto Forte and. 6. 6. 6.) Lists of set classes are available in manypublishedworks. whichever to the left is the primeform. the resultis [0. "Intervallic Set Structurein Schoenberg's Op. 6]. we get [0. a proto as puttinga set in primeform: cess usually referred 1. Forte's list of three-note set classes is to look at all of The second common way of identifying the membersof the set class. develops as the music proceeds. in parentheses. 1. 1. 7] by Tn. 1. 11. 11]. begins with 0 and is most packed to the left. those sets "is a (014). 5.

There are also only twelve nonachordjust twelve different and octachord-classes.accurate nomenclature and collections.A reliable music theory fornotes. ourselvesin a new world and. thereare 220 distincttrichords. pairs of are not related to but that have the same interval-class content. it is an indispensablefirststep toLike Adam in the Garden of Eden. The use of Pieces.'* of Music Theory thelabel "Z" to refer to thisrelationship is a coinageof Allen Forte's (see The Structure of Atonal Music. There are pairs of sets (one pair of tetrachords. This content downloaded on Tue. accurate. mustnot stop there. In Example 15. At this very basic level.is not true. If the membersof a set class are like sibknit nuclear family. set theoryinvolves namingthings. While naming cise.findingpreand consistent musicalobjects. we find ward musical understanding.but they won't be as closely related to each other as sets that are membersof the same set class. ours has been to develop a flexible.just as his first task was to name all the beasts of the field and fowl of the air. but these can be grouped into trichord-classes. 11 The Z-relation described Content of a Colshipwas first by David Lewin in "The Intervallic lectionof Notes. ways of describing thingsmay be a low-level analyticalact. Z-relation or inversionmust have the same Any two sets related by transposition interval-class content. an excerptfromthe thirdof Stravinsky's Pieces for in the occurrences of 24-26 4-Z15 measures are (0146) StringQuartet.21-24). Similarly. classes.11 themis the Z-relation(the Z doesn't stand for anything Sets in the Z-relationwill sound similarbecause theyhave the same interval-class content.but it mustcertainly startthere.then Z-related sets are like first lings withina tightly cousins. strongly linkedto the similaroccurrences of 4-Z29 (0137) in measures27-28.however. hexachords) each otherby eithertransposition or inversionand thus are not membersof the same set class. Sets thathave the same intervalcontentbut are not transbetween or inversions of each otherare Z-related and the relationship positions in particular).The converse.22 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM For example. and fifteen threepairs of pentachords.Intervallic Relations between a Collection of Notesand Its Complement: An Applicationto Schoenberg's Hexachordal Journal 4 (1960): 98-101. and 50 hexachord-classes. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .intervals.thereare only 29 tetrachord-classes 38 pentachord-classes and septachord-classes).

The Z-relation(Stravinsky. Example 15. all will contain taken and its set pitch together. n elements. [3. For any set. 9. sa longueur en toute 1\itti glissezavec Varchet . howits of. On most set lists. complement. example. complement distribution of similar a have set and its ever. 6. look through Relation Complement The its complement. Any will contain 12-n elements. of 10. 7]. 23 r ifi . 4. [8. 5]. 3). its complement For any set containing betweena set and its compleintervallic There is an important similarity intervalsa set has in whatever that to seem ment. in the size of the sets (except for of each intervalis equal to the difference This content downloaded on Tue. 2. complement twelve classes. abundance. sets. the Zbut you will have to related hexachordsare listed across fromone another.1 jfc. 1. [ MEiz=a=±jl sonsi«els\yV ^L^ 4-Z29 (013 7) Jll 1 J | ±== anotherset with a Any set with a Z in its name has a "Z-correspondent. vice and few will have out." different prime formbut the same intervalvector. Pieces for StringQuartet.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY No. the pitch classes it excludes constitute is for set the 11. the list forthe Z-relatedsets of othersizes. that a complementalways of occurrences in number the difference the For complementary intervals. It might suppose logical It turns versa.i ri|/iiii j jY i i Tr ' I rir rr ' ^ 14 6) 4-Z15(0 tj^g. 0. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .

7. 0. 1] are not literal complements of each other. Wheneverthe aggregateis divided into two parts. 5] and [5.since they share pitch-class5. This content downloaded on Tue. For example. Babbitt discusses the development of his theorem about hexachords and its subsequent generalization in Milton Babbitt: Words About Music.theyare members set is related by transposition of the or inversionto the literal complement of intervals. relation (Schoenberg. 8. ^ ■= (01245689) 12 The intervallicrelationshipof complementary sets was firstdiscovered by Milton Babbitt with regard to hexachords. was the work of Babbitt and David Lewin (see Lewin's "The IntervallicContent of a Collection of Notes").so long as they are membersof complement-recomplements lated set classes. 6. If. This intervallicrelationship holds even if the two sets are not literally of each other. No. has the where it will be half that difference). J | v PP * u r*i * * H i i 1lfB FF I*** n 'im 8-19 pocorit. In otherwords. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .and therefore Complementtheyhave a similardistribution relatedsets do not have as muchin commonas transpositionally or inversionally of related sets. 11. 19. No.Little Piano Piece.24 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM If a tetrachord the tritone.the melody and the accompaniment companying sound because theycontaina similardistribution of intervals. vector021030. Example 16. The finalfour-note chordof Schoenberg'sLittlePiano Piece. The larger set is like an expanded version of its smaller complement. in time exactly 4-19 (O148)( . 9. 104-106. 10. 2). but they do have a similar sound because of the similarity theirintervalcontent. [3. other. Op. Generalizing this relationshipto sets of other sizes. The complement 19. Op. Howof complement-related set classes. forexample. a set class prominent thatpiece and throughout one commonin much of Schoenberg'smusic (see Example 16).each part will have a similardistribution of intervals.12 interval will have the vector465472. its eight-note complement of which The eight-note set has fourmoreof everything (except forthe tritone it has two more). 4.each ever. 2 is a formof 4-19 (0148). in any music in which The complement relationis particularly important the twelve pitch classes are circulating relativelyfreelyand in which the aggregate (a collection containing all twelve pitch classes) is an important structural unit. five of the pitch classes are played as a melody and the remainingseven are played in acwill have a similar chords.

class 4. 88-156."RelatingSets. In fact. in Music Theory see his reviewof Rahn.Basic AtonalTheory the use of matrices. 0.a hexachordalways has exactly the same intervalcontent If it is also relatedto its complement as its complement." "Intervallic Similarity IndexforPitch-Class "A Similarity (1979Sets/* ofNewMusic 18/1-2 Perspectives Morris. 14 see Allen Forte. the difference its complement.self-complemensets are members tary hexachords are those that are related to their complementsby either T. then it must be Z-related to If a hexachordis not self-complementary. Both sets are particularly set contains more 4s than these do. But a hexachordis exactlythe same size as its complement. Lewin describes 4 (1982): 138-55and his own Composition Spectrum Musical InterSee Generalized Functions. Robert of New Music 18/1-2(1979-80): 483-98. the complementary Comparethe intervalvectorsof these two sets: the vectorfor4-19 is 101310 rich in intervaland the vectorfor 8-19 is 545752." of New Music Perspectives 18/1-2 (1979-80): 498-502.13 discussing common tones under transposition suband axes of symmetry. 4. JohnRahn. include that final fourset class. 1]. Thus. and so are complements on. . 11. 70-78. usuallythrough the with PitchClasses.14 13 are discussedin Forte. 1980).1977). In otherwords.I. no four-or eight-note in the music. 7].29-46 and Rahn. 6.As a result. Lewin." Perspectives and David Lewin. of course.46-59. On inversional symmetry Force in Schoenberg'sMusic and Balance as an Organizing 51 and 91-95. But both of these [2. 9. and Injection of his Embedding in terms samephenomena vals.complementary one another. then This If not. Its complement of set-class6-1 (0123456). twelve-tone much for portant describedabove.considerthe hexachord members is [8. Most lists of sets place compleeight-note In Forte's set names. are a formof 8-19 (01245689). relations. by Tn or TnI.theyand theircomplements are Some hexachordsare "self-complementary" of the same set class. it is self-complementary. then it is Z-relatedto its complement.Twelve-Tone of California Press. University This content downloaded on Tue. CharlesLord.Rememberthat with complementary in the the numberof occurrencesof any intervalis equal to the difference size of the two sets. 15 see Rahn. Because of the the 4s are featured And notice how prominently chord sounds similar to the larger relation. 111. "Inversional Tonality (Berkeley: Thought. 3.the final four-note complement collection of which it is a part. and relationships In additionto the basic nomenclature atonal set theory has developed a relatively sophisticated vocabulary for the similarity and inversion."A Responseto a Response:On PC Set Relatedness.The Structure and inversion Commontones undertransposition of to the question. in sets.Basic AtonalTheory t 49and its musicalconsequences.The Structure On similarity of AtonalMusic. or T. 4-19 and 8-19 of each otheras are 3-6 and 9-6. For a simple example. sets across from ment-related sets always have the same numberfollowingthe dash. The complementrelationshipholds particularinterestfor hexachords. imis hexachords between intervallic particularly complementary relationship music.15 inversionalsymmetry of non-equivalent sets. note chord).Basic AtonalTheory. 445-60. 10. 5." Perspectives of New Music 6/2 (1968): 1-21. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 97-115. For Morris'sapproach AtonalMusic. 5-Z12 and 7-Z12. Journalof Music Theory25 (1981): 91Relationsin AtonalSet Analysis. and Perle.A PRIMER FOR ATONAL SET THEORY 25 The last eight notes of the piece (which.

1991). Michael Friedman. 21 See Wayne Slawson. Allen Forte. 22 Jan 2013 07:30:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ."A Generalized Model of Voice-Leading for Atonal Music**(Harvard University. "Aspects of Rhythmin Webern*s Atonal Music. they prior theoryof pitch organization.21 As crucial as these topics are to a complete understanding of a secure the construction have had to await post-tonalmusic.** Journal of Music Theory 31/2 (1987): 225-67. "Some IntervallicAspects of Pitch-Class Set Relations/*Journal of Music Theory25 (1981): 275-90. tory vocabulary there is more to music (and should be more to music analysis) than harmonic and motivic structure.19 of and timbre. "A Theory of Twelve-Tone Meter. The bad news is that we are to those eager to understand music. "Foreground Rhythmin Early Twentieth-Century Music. set contour.** Music TheorySpectrum3 (1981): 132-41.** Journal of the American Musicological Society 41 (1988): 315-48.26 COLLEGE MUSIC SYMPOSIUM set and superset relations.'* Music Analysis 2/3 (1983): 239-68. Allen Forte. The Structureof Atonal Music. 17 Forte's K and Kh relations are the best known models of set complexes. 16 Subset and superset relations are discussed in Forte. post-tonal still at a relativelyprimitiveanalytical stage. 24-29 and Rahn. "Rhythmin Post-Tonal Music: PreliminaryQuestions of Duration and Motion. "A Theory of Voice-Leading for Atonal Music'* (Yale University.** Music Theory Spectrum 6 (1984): 63-78.Now that a reliable theoryof pitch organization is in place. He has recently evolved a new model in "Pitch-Class Set Genera and the Origin of Modern Harmonic Species/*Journal of Music Theory 32/2 (1988): 187-270. Composition with Pitch Classes.20 theoryhas begun to branch out into voice leading. "The Color of Sound: A Theoretical Study in Musical Timbre.17 post-tonaltheoryis still in its Despite this sophistication.1984) and Henry Klumpenhouwer. tonal now enteringat least relativeinfancy. ChristopherHasty. compared particularly news and good news its fourth That offers both bad of century development. "New Approaches to the Linear Analysis of Music. Elizabeth West Marvin and Paul A. a rapid expansion into othermusical areas has become not only possible. "Relating Musical Contours: Extensions of a Theory for Contour. Laprade. to theory. 18 See Alan Chapman.** of Music Theory 25 (1981): 183-216. 115-117. ChristoJournal pher Hasty.**Music Theory Spectrum 2 (1980): 90-109.The good news is that in recent years. Martha Hyde.Of course. particularly22-30 and 60-87. 23-33. Generalized Musical Intervals. See also two importantrecent dissertations:John Roeder. with considerable effortstill devoted to comparatively rudimentary analytical acts. "A Methodology for the Discussion of Contour: Its Application to Schoenberg's Music. This content downloaded on Tue.**Music Theory Spectrum 8 (1986): 58-74.**Journal of Music Theory 29/2 (1985): 223-48. 19 See David Lewin. 20 See Morris.18rhythm. Basic Atonal Theory. like taking an invenor of harmonic describing motivic structure.16and ways of groupingset classes into interrelated complexes. Allen Forte. but an excitingfact of current post-tonaltheory. "On the Problem of Succession and Continuityin Twentieth-Century Music.

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