Ki Hyang Chung
Integral Serialism and the Rise of the International Avant-garde
-After World War II, the serialism of Schoenberg and his followers was taken up with an
individualizing touch by composers of various nationalities and stylistic inclinations.
-The message their new works carried was that any aesthetic is capable of being
reinterpreted and vitalized in highly personal terms.
-Olivier Messiaen (in Paris) and Milton Babbitt (in America) represent such a movement.
-Messiaen introduced nonordered twelve-member sets of numerous parameters (pitch,
rhythm, dynamic, density, intensity, attack, register) in his Mode de valeurs et
d'intensité of 1949.
-Messiaen integrated wide-ranging emotional expressiveness, deeply religious in tone,
with a minutely organized means of intellectual control. Those means involve new sounds,
new rhythms and harmonies, and new modes of relation between music and life in both
the natural and spiritual realms.
-Messiaen's pupil, Boulez continued to investigate the organizing potential of expanding
and contracting rhythmic cells.
-Boulez tackled a larger Beethoven-like four movement form in the guise of his Second
Piano Sonata (1947-48). Here, nonrepetitive, nonhierarchical rhythms achieve a welter
of polyphonies and relationships that, in spite of demonstrable cellular structure with
respect to both pitch and rhythm, no ear could reasonably be expected to hear.
-Boulez, "Structures la" (1952)
---adapted one of Messian's pitch modes
---limited rhythmic values to the same range
---discloses a direct equation between pitch and duration.
-Stockhausen developed ideas with respect to serialism, electronic music, and
the composer-performer relationship.
-Stockhausen, "Kreuzspiel" (Cross-Play)
---the timbres are directly linked to the registers of pitch construction.
---non-Schoenberg approach, though using two hexachords.
-20th Music Analysis Trend
-As Berio has noted, music has been moving from an objective activity (fulfilling a specific social function) to a subjective one (as a vehicle of expression and for personal
Serialism: The United States of America
:claim of the idea "time point sets" wherein the various note values are identified by their position at
the point of attack within the bar.(e.g. All Set for jazz ensemble, 1957)
:the clarification of the principle of combinatoriality which is like total serial organization of pitch,
register, dynamic, duration and timbre created a structure of intense interrelationships, detailed in his
article "Some Aspects of Twelve Tone Composition" (e.g. Three Compositions for piano)
:resolved performance problem through creating tape works, made by composer using electronic
:a protagonist for the cause of American music in 1920s, Babbitt’s teacher and colleague at Princeton.
:illustrated pitch series allied in a functional way to chosen rhythmic units (e.g. String Quartet)
:stated that the serial organization of tones must be and is regarded as a settled fact.
:his works such as Piano Variations (1930), Piano Fantasy (1957), Connotations (1962),
Inscape (1967) show his gradual development of serial procedures.
:also, views the series as an option without obligatory inclusion (as shown the plainness of style in Duo for Flute and Piano, 1971)
:claim of a theory of twelve -note usage that rejected pitch equivalency, and the idea of 'metrical
:many of the generation who had been committed to serial composition began to veer away from it
and to consider it as only one among numerous options.
:suggests something of the loosening hold of strict serialism
:claim of two concepts: the nonserial use of the total chromatic, and metrical modulation--which has
proven to be of his most identifiable traits.
:layered textual forms.
Sung Joo Lee
Serialism and The European Old Guard
-Serialism, more specifically, the twelve-note compositional approach, appealed to the younger and
middle composers in Germany, France, Italy, England, Poland, and Russia in the post-war period.
-The Serialist movement in the 1950-60s adopted and personalized dodecaphonic procedures.
-The idea of an orthodox Serialism gives way to a more general integration of the total chromatic.
-Stravinsky revealed a Serialist predisposition.
In Memoriam Dylan Thomas (1954)
--for tenor, string quartet, and trombone quartet
--the basic motif; E-Eb-C-C# -D
--printed score with brackets and identifications
--"Dirge Canons"; cellular, contrapuntal manipulation to an alternation of the instrumental color
component (string quartet and trombone quartet)
Canticum Sacrum (1955)
--5 movement work for tenor and baritone soloists with chorus and orchestra
--the extension of serial procedures to a 12-pitch order
--includes an organ part for the first time
--1st mvt.; organ’s contrapuntal interludes are similar to a Bach Toccata
-----A bitonal juxtaposition (B-D/B-D-F ), or diatonic-octatonic linkage
-----serves as a frame to the piece as a whole
-----the entire mvt. is performed in exact retrograde, to a different text, in the concluding fifth
--work for piano and orchestra
--emphasis on two-note melody, prominent harmonic fifths, canon, ritornello patterns and
--tonal implication, Russian melodic manner
Shostakovich, Soviet Russia, and Serialism
-In Russia, after 1945, Serialism was criticized, a target for a censure.
-The possibility of dodecaphony, and a whole range of expression, including post-Webernist, emerged
little by little.
-Shostakovich; freer attitude from the 1960s.
--String Quartet No.12; use of twelve-note idea, with a systematic exploration of the total chromatic.
Britten, England and Serialism
-Britten also examined the possibility of twelve-note composition.
Songs and Proverbs of William Blake (1965)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960)
--the harmonic rhythms of the same sequence of structural significance
--the English predisposition for tertian harmony and cross-relations.
-The diversity of interest and intent in twelve-note writing appeared.
-Lutoslawski; Funeral Music (1956)