#1
So, as a summer project, I've been taking an intense look at the "Schillinger System of Music Composition," a two-volume work by Joseph Schillinger which offers up a complete system of composing any type of music. I was drawn to it by research I did last semester on Gershwin's Opera Porgy and Bess (Gershwin being a long-time student of Schillinger). I was wondering if anyone else has ever used it, or even heard of it, and if not, if there would be enough interest in it for me to do a few lessons on it.

Thoughts?
#2
Looked at the Wiki, it was seriously lacking in explanation of the execution of it, but the idea seems rather interesting. I'd read the lesson/article, if one were to be written.
My gear:
Schecter C-1+ w/ Seymour duncan Jazz (neck) and Full Shred (bridge), with Sperzels
B-52 LG-100A 4x12 half stack
Rogue LX405 Bass
Yamaha classical
Some sort of acoustic Squier
Boss Flanger
Lyon Chorus
#3
Quote by SchecterC-1+Man
Looked at the Wiki, it was seriously lacking in explanation of the execution of it, but the idea seems rather interesting. I'd read the lesson/article, if one were to be written.

That wiki article is one of the worst ones I've read, actually, hence why I didn't post it. It really doesn't explain anything at all, plus it says it was "universally panned" when I've read glowing reviews of the work by such people as Henry Cowell and Nicolas Slonimsky.

But if I were to do it, it'd have to be a series (much like what Xiaoxi is doing with Set Theory), as it is really too dense to pack that tightly, I've used up 80 pages of graph paper, and I'm only on part 2 of 7 in the first volume.
#4
ive heard its awesome. i asked one of my theory teachers about it (does he know much about it, or know anyone in the local theory teacher scene) and he told me "take a trip to boston". Basically, what remains of its widespread pedagogy could probably be found in the textbook, or more likely, the composition department at Berklee (which began as the schillinger house). from the limited amount i've acertained, it basically is a way of laying out all of the musical posibilities for a given section (which is why some call if overly mathmatical), and picking from them, rather then just sitting down and trying to take it somewhere. hopefully someone whose a bit more knowledgable about it will post though.
all the best.
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#5
Quote by tehREALcaptain
ive heard its awesome. i asked one of my theory teachers about it (does he know much about it, or know anyone in the local theory teacher scene) and he told me "take a trip to boston". Basically, what remains of its widespread pedagogy could probably be found in the textbook, or more likely, the composition department at Berklee (which began as the schillinger house). from the limited amount i've acertained, it basically is a way of laying out all of the musical posibilities for a given section (which is why some call if overly mathmatical), and picking from them, rather then just sitting down and trying to take it somewhere. hopefully someone whose a bit more knowledgable about it will post though.

The beauty of the Schillinger system is that it lays out the methods for completely extracting from any given idea almost every possible manifestation of that idea from which the composer may pick and choose. Although Schillinger may suggest what choices he believes are most aesthetically sound, you can not follow the suggestions at all, and simply choose the ones you find the most appealing, and no blow has been dealt to the system at all.

For example: lets say you start with a 1 bar rhythmic pattern. As far as I've gotten, he has layed out how it is possible from that one bar rhythmic pattern to:
1. create various rhythms which serve as counter themes to the first pattern (all derived ultimately from the first pattern itself)
2. creating a large-scale formal structure from that pattern (he lays out many processes, and you choose the ones that fit your needs)
3. filling this large-scale structure in with individual passages derived from the first pattern without resorting to direct restatement of the pattern itself.
4. distributing the pattern across various instruments and voices (ie, your orchestrative technique is all derived from the first pattern)
5. Translating the rhythmic pattern into pitch representation.
etc.
#7
Hence why I didn't really learn anything from the Wiki article,
Well I'm interested. Hopefully enough people will be to warrant making a series about it!
My gear:
Schecter C-1+ w/ Seymour duncan Jazz (neck) and Full Shred (bridge), with Sperzels
B-52 LG-100A 4x12 half stack
Rogue LX405 Bass
Yamaha classical
Some sort of acoustic Squier
Boss Flanger
Lyon Chorus
#8
sounds like an interesting theory for composition. I'd love to read some articles/lessons on it.
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#9
For those who are interested. This is a classical piece written with a basis on the schillinger method:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c84rXbbO4_o


Here's another interesting example for Jazz. Its an experiment (more info in the video description). Apparently the Schillinger system is about taking the rhythm of one bar and applying it to the whole song formula. Pretty interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P05RcdzkPk&feature=related
Last edited by dogmax at Jun 15, 2011,
#11
I just did a search for "The Schillinger System of Musical Composition" on youtube.
#12
Quote by dogmax
For those who are interested. This is a classical piece written with a basis on the schillinger method:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c84rXbbO4_o


Here's another interesting example for Jazz. Its an experiment (more info in the video description). Apparently the Schillinger system is about taking the rhythm of one bar and applying it to the whole song formula. Pretty interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P05RcdzkPk&feature=related


Very cool piece, but it's not like you can't compose something like that without mathematics. I just don't see the point. Maybe if I knew what the goal of this was more clearly I'd appreciate it more. Can anyone explain? I read nmitchell's post and from what I can gather it's a way to eliminate guessing and experimentation by mathematically determining the best way to keep cohesion in any piece by deriving certain variations from one theme. But is that to facilitate analysis and organization of music or to have a surefire method of writing music that most likely won't sound bland and boring?
#13
Well those videos have just completely put me off the idea of looking into this any further...
#14
Quote by Sóknardalr
Very cool piece, but it's not like you can't compose something like that without mathematics. I just don't see the point. Maybe if I knew what the goal of this was more clearly I'd appreciate it more. Can anyone explain? I read nmitchell's post and from what I can gather it's a way to eliminate guessing and experimentation by mathematically determining the best way to keep cohesion in any piece by deriving certain variations from one theme. But is that to facilitate analysis and organization of music or to have a surefire method of writing music that most likely won't sound bland and boring?

Well, Schillingers system of Aesthetics is one founded upon the idea that the best aesthetic effects are achieved by utilizing mathematical processes that occur in nature. Schillinger believes that organic forms are not only able to be used in music, but that the best musical examples in history are embodiments of organic forms and processes. Now, this does not mean one has to use mathematics to arrive at this result: he mentions that the great compositional masters have all come about some of the processes intuitively (mentioning works by Bach and Beethoven). However, he is of the inclination that even their knowledge of it wasn't complete, and thus that a person with the full understanding of the processes involved will have a greater command over their creations.

As for the practical applications, it again all goes back to organic evolution. The primary use of the system is determining from a single fragment of an idea what sorts of passages evolve in the most organic way: both on the surface and on a deep structural level.

But this is not complex mathematics. The most complicated mathematical knowledge I've had is how to distribute (x+y)^2. Furthermore, its ideas are presented in such a way that any of them may be tailored to any aesthetic result desired, so it presents a method of composition that is objective, in that sense.
#15
Quote by griffRG7321
Well those videos have just completely put me off the idea of looking into this any further...

Before you turn away completely, check this out, another work written with the Schillinger System: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYuO5gSJNQU

As I've said, the processes set up in it can be applied to any desired aesthetic creation, so you can tailor it to your needs. The previous videos posted didn't suit your tastes, but as you can see from the one I posted, works from the opposite end are also possible with this system.

Bottom line, it is not a system that will make drone composers that all write the same type of music. On the contrary, both the avant-guarde and more traditional types of music are at home in this method.

(Another example is that Schillinger often uses his methods on examples from popular songs of his day, creating variations on them that remain in the same style as the original)
#16
ahh that's much better, it wasn't the style, they just sounded like poor imitations of those styles, will definitely check it out now
#17
Quote by nmitchell076

Well, Schillingers system of Aesthetics is one founded upon the idea that the best aesthetic effects are achieved by utilizing mathematical processes that occur in nature. Schillinger believes that organic forms are not only able to be used in music, but that the best musical examples in history are embodiments of organic forms and processes. Now, this does not mean one has to use mathematics to arrive at this result: he mentions that the great compositional masters have all come about some of the processes intuitively (mentioning works by Bach and Beethoven). However, he is of the inclination that even their knowledge of it wasn't complete, and thus that a person with the full understanding of the processes involved will have a greater command over their creations.

As for the practical applications, it again all goes back to organic evolution. The primary use of the system is determining from a single fragment of an idea what sorts of passages evolve in the most organic way: both on the surface and on a deep structural level.

But this is not complex mathematics. The most complicated mathematical knowledge I've had is how to distribute (x+y)^2. Furthermore, its ideas are presented in such a way that any of them may be tailored to any aesthetic result desired, so it presents a method of composition that is objective, in that sense.


That's pretty interesting. If you do find something on it please post it here, I'd love to read it. BTW, (x+y)^2 is the standard formula for a parabola isn't it? Excuse my ignorance but where does that *occur* in nature? Also how can you compose if there are no numbers to work with?*

*I know you were the one looking to learn about it so I don't know if you know the answer to that. Do you think it's kind of like the serialist method of naming notes that Xiaoxi posted where C=0 and B=11?
#18
Quote by Sóknardalr
That's pretty interesting. If you do find something on it please post it here, I'd love to read it. BTW, (x+y)^2 is the standard formula for a parabola isn't it? Excuse my ignorance but where does that *occur* in nature? Also how can you compose if there are no numbers to work with?*

well, the parabola doesn't occur in material objects, per se (although something moving up and down through the air would approximate it), but it occurs in number series representing numerical phenomenon in nature. Numerical phenomenon may be represented in music in such ways as the durations of notes (1 = eighth note, 2=quarter note, 3=dotted quarter note, etc.), the intervals between the pitches of a passage, the number of pitches in a passage, the number of voices playing at any time, etc.
*I know you were the one looking to learn about it so I don't know if you know the answer to that. Do you think it's kind of like the serialist method of naming notes that Xiaoxi posted where C=0 and B=11?

It was before set theory was developed. Schillinger actually likes to think more in terms of intervallic relationships rather then the pitches themselves. So, a pitch class that has the pitches [0 7 3 4] would be represented by schillinger as 7+8+1

However, Schillinger deals with far more then pitches. In fact, he considers pitch to be secondary in importance to rhythm. to quote the man himself: "Different types and forms of intonation - as well as different types of musical instruments - come and go like the fashions, while the everlasting strife for temporal plasticity [ie, movement in time, or Rhythm] remains a symbol of the eternal in music."
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Jun 16, 2011,
#19
Bump. So is there gonna be a lesson on this?
My gear:
Schecter C-1+ w/ Seymour duncan Jazz (neck) and Full Shred (bridge), with Sperzels
B-52 LG-100A 4x12 half stack
Rogue LX405 Bass
Yamaha classical
Some sort of acoustic Squier
Boss Flanger
Lyon Chorus
#20
Quote by SchecterC-1+Man
Bump. So is there gonna be a lesson on this?

In a week, I'll be done with book IV, and I hope to post a series of lessons covering all four of them before the summer is over.

The four books cover:
1. Theory of Rhtyhm
2. Theory of Pitch-Scales
3. Variation of Music by Means of Geometric Projection
4. Theory of Melody

The rest of the first volume (that I haven't gotten to yet) is:
5. Special Theory of Harmony
6. The Correlation of Melody and Harmony
7. Theory of Counterpoint.


Second volume covers a General Theory of Harmony, Theory of Fugue, Theory of Orchestration, and Theory of Composition. I hope to finish the first volume by mid-semester and the second volume by the beginning of next summer.

I'll probably do it chapter-by-chapter, so it'll be lengthy, but there's a LOT of material covered. It'll happen though.
#21
Awesome man, can't wait!
My gear:
Schecter C-1+ w/ Seymour duncan Jazz (neck) and Full Shred (bridge), with Sperzels
B-52 LG-100A 4x12 half stack
Rogue LX405 Bass
Yamaha classical
Some sort of acoustic Squier
Boss Flanger
Lyon Chorus
#22
I'm very interested in this. How has it helped you with compositions so far?

Can you link the books to this page or something, because I'm interested in buying them.
#23
This is really cool, as you can see by my title I love music and maths so I'm very interested in this. I have actually used geometric/arithmetic sequences to calculate a chord progression in my song Phalanx (It's on my profile, in the intro) if anyone is interested on what results they can produce. The scale ended up being melodic minor. I'd definitely be interested in what these lessons have to say about mathematics and music though.