Post-Tonal Theory: Musical Technology For New Modes of Expression and Representation
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My research this summer explored post-tonal music theory, a system of organizing the twelve-pitch classes of the Western musical scale such that the harmonic hierarchy that exists in conventional music is deconstructed and all pitch classes, and therefore harmonies constructed as aggregates of those pitch classes, are no longer organized hierarchically. The system of functional harmony that governs conventional music is thus replaced by a system in which harmonic structures are treated absolutely instead of relatively, as harmonic relationships no longer serve specific and consistent functions in the way of leading into other harmonies. The research was carried out in three phases. The first phase involved becoming acquainted with the theoretical principles that form the foundation of this system. Second, the theoretical concepts were brought to bare via analysis of actual musical works composed in this mode. Lastly, as a hands on culmination of both the theory and the practical application of this system, I composed my own musical work for piano by employing the methodologies proffered by my study of post-tonal music theory.