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Old 09-03-2005, 07:37 AM
M G Jacobs (mgj32)
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Default This is an experiment and I do

This is an experiment and I don't know where it is going--quite possibly to the point where I feel I have experimented enough, and then it will just stop and be thrown away. The purpose in doing it is simply to actually DO something with the whole tone scale, or scales, since there are two of them, which if played one after the other starting from the same tone has something of a chromatic feel.

The only "rule" in whole tone composition is, apparently, that the blurry feel imparted by the scale be kept interesting, which means using more than the augmented chords which are the only ones available, if you stick to the idea of the 1,3 and 5 tones being basic. One way of maintaining interest is through melody. In practice melodies, even using the whole tone system, tend to have diatonic elements, and this means using more than augmented chords. One way to keep the whole tone feel is to switch between the two scales, as often as every chord or two. If the feel is maintained, the whole tone rule is also.

One thing I want to find out in this experiment is how far one can go with accidentals and keep the feel. (I mean tones accidental to the scale; not those needed to write something using the system.) I have never read a discussion of accidentals in whole tone composition. Although I imagine there are some, I thought it would be more immediate and meaningful if I simply went ahead and came up with some music that would require them. In an early measure, for instance, I have used a straight Bb chord. In the three black note system, there is no F. In the two black note system, there is no Bb or D. I suppose one might say he has switched between the two systems in the same chord, which makes no sense. In any case, the question is still one of feel. Is the shimmer of the whole tone scale maintained, or does it turn dull, or maybe glaring?

As I indicated, this is on-going, and may well just end when I'm done, even if the music isn't done. I am currently in the middle of a chromatic build-up to a waltz section, which I can't get going on until I come up with a theme that works as a waltz.

I will post the piece again when something more is completed. Any comments are and will be welcome, but I would especially be interested in knowing if and where the sense of whole tone-ness disappears to someone else's ear.

all best,
mgj

<center><table border=1><tr><td>whole tone experiment
Shady Lady 9-2-05.not (86.7 k)</td></tr></table></center>

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