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#1
I don't understand why people would bother going through the hassle of making their music atonal. Why would people do that? What's the point of not having a tonic?
#2
Uh...cause it can still sound good?
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#3
Quote by Zombiechao
I don't understand why people would bother going through the hassle of making their music atonal. Why would people do that? What's the point of not having a tonic?

To hear something new, instead of what we've been hearing for the past 800 years.
#4
I'll do one, it'll blow your mind.


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#5
Well obviously it can still sound good. But what's the point of bothering not to have a tonic?
#7
Yeah but why and how does it let people make new and better melodies and harmonies?
#8
Quote by Zombiechao
I don't understand why people would bother going through the hassle of making their music atonal. Why would people do that? What's the point of not having a tonic?

You must be new to writing music. The more music theory you learn the better. Some people choose to use theory as guidelines (what to play when) but you can also use that knowledge to be creative. Not all pieces of music need to be completely in the same key or mode. Atonal music can sound very good and be interesting and challenging. If musicians didn't experiment with music theory music would be very boring and wouldn't evolve.
#9
Listen to the Beatles (or a ton of other good, creative bands) and you'll hear how they will "borrow" notes from other keys and scales to transition between chords that might usually sound dissonant. Its all about context too. That's why music has infinite possibilities as far as originality and creativity.
#10
Yes but why can atonal music sound good?
Edit: How does atonalism help a composer make music?
Last edited by Zombiechao at Dec 18, 2009,
#11
Quote by Zombiechao
What's the point of not having a tonic?

Not having a tonic.

In fact, I'll digress and ask you, what's the point of having a tonic?
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Last edited by travislausch at Dec 18, 2009,
#12
Quote by Zombiechao
Yes but why can atonal music sound good?

Good is subjective.

Try replacing a few of your questions with tonal instead of atonal:
Why would anyone make a tonal composition?
What's the point of having a tonic?
Why can tonal music sound good?

They're not really the sort of questions you can give a definitive answer to.
#13
The point of a tonic is that it is easy to make. It is difficult to make music atonal. Composers often use serialism, tone rows, dissonant chords and special scales to make music atonal. Why should they bother?
#14
Quote by 12345abcd3
Good is subjective.

Try replacing a few of your questions with tonal instead of atonal:
Why would anyone make a tonal composition?
What's the point of having a tonic?
Why can tonal music sound good?

They're not really the sort of questions you can give a definitive answer to.

Very much this.

The whole problem with this thread is that OP is looking for a straight answer to an abstract question.

You might as well be asking why Da Vinci painted Mona Lisa to be a brunette instead of a blonde.

People write atonal music because it's what they want to write at the time.

Quote by Zombiechao
The point of a tonic is that it is easy to make. It is difficult to make music atonal. Composers often use serialism, tone rows, dissonant chords and special scales to make music atonal. Why should they bother?

Why shouldn't they? If someone is sufficiently skilled to make atonal music with relative ease, who's to say they shouldn't?

Stop trying to objectify things that are purely subjective.
Q: Favourite Pink Floyd song?
A: The one where they get wicked high and play Emin and A for an hour.
Last edited by travislausch at Dec 18, 2009,
#15
More to the point, why shouldn't they?
Actually called Mark!

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#16
The Mona Lisa was based of a real person who I assume was also a brunette.
What I'm asking is how atonalism could help me write better stuff.
Edit: I don't care whether anybody else writes atonalist stuff. I want to know why I should?
Last edited by Zombiechao at Dec 18, 2009,
#17
Quote by Zombiechao
The point of a tonic is that it is easy to make.

And? What is the point of having a tonic?

Quote by Zombiechao
It is difficult to make music atonal.

No more difficult than making music tonal.

Quote by Zombiechao
Composers often use serialism, tone rows, dissonant chords and special scales to make music atonal. Why should they bother?

Serialism - is a genre, you can't really use it. It's a bit like saying composers use britpop.

Tone rows - tonal composers use melodies, don't they?

Dissonant chords - Tonal composers use dissonant chords.

Special scales - the chromatic scale which includes every note? Sounds a lot easier than the major or minor scale.

Edit:
Quote by Zombiechao
The Mona Lisa was based of a real person who I assume was also a brunette.
What I'm asking is how atonalism could help me write better stuff.
Edit: I don't care whether anybody else writes atonalist stuff. I want to know why I should?

There's no reason why you should, but then again there's no reason why you should write music at all.
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at Dec 18, 2009,
#18
Atonalism is difficult for me to do so why should I do it?
The kind of answers I want in this thread are something like, "Most songs end and begin on the tonic, with atonalism there is no tonic and therefore an atonal song doesn't have to begin on a tonic. So atonalism give you more freedom when composing."
#19
Quote by Zombiechao
Atonalism is difficult for me to do so why should I do it?
The kind of answers I want in this thread are something like, "Most songs end and begin on the tonic, with atonalism there is no tonic and therefore an atonal song doesn't have to begin on a tonic. So atonalism give you more freedom when composing."

Well you just answered your own question. What do you need us for?


And in your opening post, and even in the thread title, you ask "Why would anyone make an atonal composition?". We answered that question. If you meant to say "why should I make an atonal composition?", you should have posed the question as such.

But then, someone questioning the way various people use the rules of music probably would question the rules of the English language, wouldn't they?
Q: Favourite Pink Floyd song?
A: The one where they get wicked high and play Emin and A for an hour.
#20
I gave one tiny very insignificant reason why somebody might use atonalism.
You gave an answer of because they want to.
I want at least three reasons to make an atonal composition or even maybe four.
#21
john coltrane..erik dolphy...miles davis...john mclaughlin...phillip glass...john cage..are a few who have explored the wonders of atonal...

today..to interweave some of its aspects into tonal music ... mostly in the jazz idiem..is very challenging for a musician/composer...and to some extent..the listener

the "why" of it...thats another topic altogether..

play well

wolf
#22
TS, truly great composers spend all their lives studying music and training their ears. After so long, their ears have "heard everything" so to speak. So they start to write new types of music that havent been explored yet
#23
Quote by Zombiechao
Well obviously it can still sound good. But what's the point of bothering not to have a tonic?


"
Their music arose from what was described as the crisis of tonality between the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century in classical music. This situation had come about historically through the increasing use over the course of the nineteenth century of
ambiguous chords, less probable harmonic inflections, and the more unusual melodic and rhythmic inflections possible within the style of tonal music. The distinction between the exceptional and the normal became more and more blurred; and, as a result, there was a concomitant loosening of the syntactical bonds through which tones and harmonies had been related to one another. The connections between harmonies were uncertain even on the lowest—chord-to-chord—level. On higher levels, long-range harmonic relationships and implications became so tenuous that they hardly functioned at all. At best, the felt probabilities of the style system had become obscure; at worst, they were approaching a uniformity which provided few guides for either composition or listening. (Meyer 1967, 241)
"
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 18, 2009,
#24
The best answer to this question is "shits and giggles".
i don't know why i feel so dry
#25
Quote by Zombiechao
Yeah but why and how does it let people make new and better melodies and harmonies?

well new because its not done a lot. "better" is up to opinion really.
#26
haha damn this thread is funny


For me playing diatonic chord progressions sound awful. very bland and very boring. Its like cooking you add spices to make something taste better... well you can use modal interchange to make a song sound "better"


zombiechao is a case where he should have grew up using his ear first more than learning from a teacher. There definitely is a benefit for learning on your own before learning diatonic harmony.


Basically zombiechao, using atonal helps you create something more original, and for me, helps me express my feelings through music a lot more. Im also pretty big into improv, and soloing over just the modes is pretty god damn boring.
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#27
Quote by Zombiechao
I gave one tiny very insignificant reason why somebody might use atonalism.
You gave an answer of because they want to.
I want at least three reasons to make an atonal composition or even maybe four.


If you cant justify it to yourself, what makes you think we can?
#28
Quote by BBell
haha damn this thread is funny


For me playing diatonic chord progressions sound awful. very bland and very boring. Its like cooking you add spices to make something taste better... well you can use modal interchange to make a song sound "better"



Why would the spice be a change in harmony.

Why not a change in phrasing, note choice through melody, timbre of the sound, composition instrumentation, effects.

There's far more going on in music, and the diversity in artists that use the same chord progression is a perfect example.

This is not intended to be a bashing, but don't forget about these other elements, or chances are big you might end up disliking music in it's entirety in some years.

To further elaborate on ur cooking analogy.

You could eat French cuisine all day, but isn't there a day you just want to eat popcorn, a cheeseburger or some sweets.

Just saying

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Dec 18, 2009,
#29
IT seems to me like a lot of folks lump in atonality and dissonance. They are NOT the same thing. Dissonance is the clashing of harmonies, and often works to reinforce the tonic and add motion to tonal music. For example, the V7-I motion that's at the center of tonal music is one of dissonance to consonance. That's why it's resolution is so final.

Atonal music is music WITHOUT a key center. Therefore it cannot be dissonant because the notes/chords aren't LEADING ANYWHERE. Look up "The Emancipation of the dissonance"- it's one of the first truly atonal writings and it explains everything from a theoretical perspective. 12 tone technique is often considered by many to be the only route to "Proper" atonality as anything less often deceives the ear into perceiving a key center of some sort.

In closing- ATONALITY (LACK OF KEY CENTER) and DISSONANCE (TENSION REQUIRING RESOLUTION) ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS. IT'S TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SCHOOLS OF MUSICAL THEORY.
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Anything is possible with music which is sooo awesome


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#30
Quote by 12345abcd3

Serialism - is a genre, you can't really use it. It's a bit like saying composers use britpop.


Serialism is also the name for the technique used to write serial music. It can be based on tone rows (twelve note or otherwise), chordal progressions or on rhythmic patterns.

Tone rows - tonal composers use melodies, don't they?


Indeed, tonal composers have been known to use note rows. Mozart uses one halfway through the last movement of his 40th Symphony: every note of the chromatic scale except for the tonic is used.


Dissonant chords - Tonal composers use dissonant chords.


And atonal composers often employ consonance, borrow progressions from tonal music, although they may or may not be distorted to disguise this fact.


Special scales - the chromatic scale which includes every note? Sounds a lot easier than the major or minor scale.


Whole tone scales and octatonic scales are also used to create atonality, although it's worth noting that all of these scales are used in "tonal" music.

EDIT: Just thought I'd include some awesome atonal/serial compositions

Schoenberg String Quartet No.3 - I

Berg Lyric Suite - V and VI - The final movement, largo desolato, is especially beautiful, with a moving homage to Wagner half-way through.

Berg is a great example of an atonal composer who makes reference to earlier music.
Last edited by National_Anthem at Dec 18, 2009,
#31
Quote by Eastwinn
The best answer to this question is "shits and giggles".


Agreed. Quite frankly.
#32
This is very similar to asking "Why should I paint abstract art when I find landscapes so much easier?"
#33
Why does anyone do anything? Because they felt like it. That's the long and short of it.
#34
Quote by Zombiechao
Edit: I don't care whether anybody else writes atonalist stuff. I want to know why I should?


Do you want to write atonal music? Do you have to write atonal music?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you should write atonal music because you want to or because you have to (probably for school).

If the answer to these questions is no, then you shouldn't write atonal music.
#35
Quote by Zombiechao
I want to know why I should?

Someone holding a gun to your head?
#37
.... why would anyone write music at all? why would anyone write pop songs? rock? blues? jazz? country? metal?


honestly, it seems to me that you think you shouldn't write atonal music because it's difficult. if that's the case, then don't. If you don't want to do it and don't have to do it, then don't do it. Just like I'm probably never going to write a country song.
#38
Quote by KenjiBeast
IT seems to me like a lot of folks lump in atonality and dissonance. They are NOT the same thing. Dissonance is the clashing of harmonies, and often works to reinforce the tonic and add motion to tonal music. For example, the V7-I motion that's at the center of tonal music is one of dissonance to consonance. That's why it's resolution is so final.

Atonal music is music WITHOUT a key center. Therefore it cannot be dissonant because the notes/chords aren't LEADING ANYWHERE. Look up "The Emancipation of the dissonance"- it's one of the first truly atonal writings and it explains everything from a theoretical perspective. 12 tone technique is often considered by many to be the only route to "Proper" atonality as anything less often deceives the ear into perceiving a key center of some sort.

In closing- ATONALITY (LACK OF KEY CENTER) and DISSONANCE (TENSION REQUIRING RESOLUTION) ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS. IT'S TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SCHOOLS OF MUSICAL THEORY.

im not sure i agree here. dissonance does deal with tension requiring resolution. but that tension is caused by notes what have wave lengths that clash. you can have a lack of tonal centre all you want, but that doesnt mean the harmonies wont be dissonant. the very fact that you have nothing to resolve to because of the lack of tonal center means it will actually be more dissonant sounding. your ear will keep wanting the notes to resolve but they dont. now im not saying everything in atonal music is dissonant, but i wouldnt say there is none.
#39
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
im not sure i agree here. dissonance does deal with tension requiring resolution. but that tension is caused by notes what have wave lengths that clash. you can have a lack of tonal centre all you want, but that doesnt mean the harmonies wont be dissonant. the very fact that you have nothing to resolve to because of the lack of tonal center means it will actually be more dissonant sounding. your ear will keep wanting the notes to resolve but they dont. now im not saying everything in atonal music is dissonant, but i wouldnt say there is none.


Atonal music is based off of the "Emancipation of the dissonance" i.e. the failure to recognize dissonance as a theoretical construct.

It might "Sound" dissonant, but the intentions behind a truly atonal piece differ greatly from the tonal concepts of tension-resolution.

1. Tonal music requires a tonal center (i.e. a place for tensions to "resolve to")
2. The concept of tension is completely useless if there is nowhere to resolve to (tonal center)
3. The concept of tension and dissonance are moot in regards to atonal theory because there is no tonal center.
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Anything is possible with music which is sooo awesome


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I just learn the formula, apply it to a key, and use said notes on fretboard. Why? Cuz I'm not a pussy.
#40
Quote by KenjiBeast
Atonal music is based off of the "Emancipation of the dissonance" i.e. the failure to recognize dissonance as a theoretical construct.

It might "Sound" dissonant, but the intentions behind a truly atonal piece differ greatly from the tonal concepts of tension-resolution.

1. Tonal music requires a tonal center (i.e. a place for tensions to "resolve to")
2. The concept of tension is completely useless if there is nowhere to resolve to (tonal center)
3. The concept of tension and dissonance are moot in regards to atonal theory because there is no tonal center.


its incredibly hard to write a true atonal piece, as the human ear automatically directs itself to resolution.
even many of choernberg's compositions are somewhat tonal
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