View Full Version : Dodecaphony, tonality, atonality and Alban Berg

Nov-22-2004, 22:39
Hi all,

I'm gathering information about the above topics for a small dissertation I'm writing.
So if any of you have any good links, storys or anecdotes about any or all of the topics listed in the subject, feel free to share them.
I'm not looking for anything groundbreaking, so feel free to write if it's just a tidbid, since I have a fairly tight plan about what I'll write... so it's just to "spice" the dissertation up, and maybe start a debate on the subjects at hand.
My work will be in Danish, but I'll try to make a summary of it in English when I'm done (sometime during January) and share it with you here.


Jan-06-2005, 15:12
Hi Corno

Did you get this dissertation completed...? any chance of the English summary which I am sure will make a very interesting read?

Jan-07-2005, 00:15
Hi John,

I'm in the midst of writing it while fighting a persistent fever and a soar throat with the extra additions of a nice influenza. - It's to be turned in on the 17th and an English summary might follow in the weeks following the deadline.

Jan-07-2005, 01:03
Excellent Thomas.... I'd really like to have a read if you do get a chance to do any of it in English.


Happy New Year by the way.,..:)

Jul-28-2007, 02:55
Oops, this might be a little too late. But anyway, as I have read, contemporary atonal pieces use dissonant counterpoint, with an approach opposite to what traditional counterpoint says. With this technique, first-specie counterpoint must all be dissonances, and consonances are "resolved" through a skip, not step.

Alban Berg, is one of the composers who produced works using this technique, which gives importance on every note of the chromatic scale, also known as the twelve tone technique. Resulting sound would be lacking in tonal center, otherwise atonal.

Jul-28-2007, 14:35
Hi Music9! Of course it's never too late to talk about dodecaphony! Do you know that the father of Dodecaphony is Arnold Schoenberg? Alban Berg was one of his pupils. The other was Anton Webern. Schoenberg actually preferred this technique to be called pantonal rather tonal. This compositional method became a breakthrough in 20th century musical style and paved the way for serialism in rhythm and even articulation!

Jul-28-2007, 22:50
Hi music9,

What kind of resolutions are we talking about? What intervals or chords would resolve to what others? Can you give us some examples?

Hi avrile,

Erm, I think you meant "pantonal rather than atonal," not tonal? What examples can you give of works that have serialism of articulation?

avrile and music9- What are some of your favourite works that were composed using these techniques?

Aug-04-2007, 02:23
In Baroque counterpoint, strict melodic progression are as follows (7-8, 4-3, 2-1 or 2-3).. etc meaning the 7th note of the scale must be followed by the 8th, the 4th note must be followed by the 3rd of the scale... etc. Good intervals are thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, octaves or unisons, anything beyond these intervals, must be resolved. For example the tritone (+4 or -5) must be resolved by an interval of a 3rd / 6th. Example (Key of C) the interval B-F must be resolved by C-E (-5 to M3) and the interval F-B must be resolved by E-C (+4 to M6)

In Dissonant Counterpoint, the traditional rules are reversed, so the tritone, sevenths, and the seconds or ninths, are good intervals, while the traditional conconances are used as passing hamonies. In first-specie counterpoint, no consonances are allowed; additionally, the melodies themselves consisted in the main of dissonant intervals, which means the traditional rules for a melodic line was abandoned. If any consonant melodic intervals were used, they were immediately dissonanted (i.e. counteracted by the introduction of a pitch related dissonantly to one of the 'consonant' pitches, which is usually a skip from such pitch).

Sep-22-2007, 12:46
It seems to me that Alban Berg follows the word of the law, but not the spirit.
In his violin solo, he manipulates the twelve tones in such a way that triads result.
He does the same thing in the barroom piano scene in Wozzeck.

In another scene in Wozzeck, he emphasizes one tone over the other eleven,
thereby abusing a rule that notes can be repeated.
This is in direct opposition to the goal of 12-tonality, which is to escape the tyranny of one tone.