Jump to content

Something dissonant...something dissonant


HeckelphoneNYC
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello YC

I really like dissonant music, and I want to write some dissonant things. But I just don't have ideas...and if I do have one, I don't know what to do with it. I do do some polytonal things in my music, but that doesn't really count as true dissonance. I really want to do something that just blows your ears out it's so dissonant, but I can't get an idea!

Suggestions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I want to write some dissonant things.

Suggestions?

Avoid consonant things?

:whistling:

It kind-of depends what direction you want to go and what "dissonance" means to you - i.e. how far OUT.

If you want to stay within a tonalist realm, learn jazz theory. Expanding your harmonic vocabulary with extensions/colour tones/alterations will give you a much broader palette of varying colours and degrees of dissonance from which to choose.

Otherwise, try some completely free improvisations. You'll be surprised at how interesting things pop up when you think less and play more...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It kind-of depends what direction you want to go and what "dissonance" means to you - i.e. how far OUT.

AS FAR OUT AS POSSIBLE!!! :D

If you want to stay within a tonalist realm, learn jazz theory. Expanding your harmonic vocabulary with extensions/colour tones/alterations will give you a much broader palette of varying colours and degrees of dissonance from which to choose.

I don't really like Jazz, even though I have heard it. A lot (I heard it all last night at some party)

Otherwise, try some completely free improvisations. You'll be surprised at how interesting things pop up when you think less and play more...

I do play...a lot. I play so I can write. I was trying to tell you that I play many times a day, but whenever I get something dissonant, it doesn't work! :sadtears:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AS FAR OUT AS POSSIBLE!!! :D

Then experiment. Invent. Try things that might not be possible. Hang out with someone and have them show you weird sounds. Ask them how you would notate it. Record the encounter. Find new ways to play old instruments. Buy a viola bow...use it on things. Incorporate improvisation - add an element of risk and chance.

Listen to more stuff that's as far OUT AS POSSIBLE.

I don't really like Jazz, even though I have heard it. A lot (I heard it all last night at some party)

:pinch: Please note I didn't say "write some jazz music" ... I said "learn jazz theory" . The name is misleading, but that's what we have to work with.

What I mean is "learn modern musical theory" and avoid limiting yourself harmonically, rhythmically, melodically.

I do play...a lot. I play so I can write. I was trying to tell you that I play many times a day, but whenever I get something dissonant, it doesn't work! :sadtears:

Make it work.

:dunno:

When you DO find something dissonant that you like, latch onto it and work it out!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then experiment. Invent. Try things that might not be possible. Hang out with someone and have them show you weird sounds. Ask them how you would notate it. Record the encounter. Find new ways to play old instruments. Buy a viola bow...use it on things. Incorporate improvisation - add an element of risk and chance.

Listen to more stuff that's as far OUT AS POSSIBLE.

:pinch: Please note I didn't say "write some jazz music" ... I said "learn jazz theory" . The name is misleading, but that's what we have to work with.

What I mean is "learn modern musical theory" and avoid limiting yourself harmonically, rhythmically, melodically.

Make it work.

:dunno:

When you DO find something dissonant that you like, latch onto it and work it out!

I do listen to stuff as far out as possible. What exactly IS jazz theory, anyway? (Oh dear...)

I've tried................................very hard. I hope I can make it work

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do listen to stuff as far out as possible. What exactly IS jazz theory, anyway? (Oh dear...)

I've tried................................very hard. I hope I can make it work

Go further out.

;)

Dig some John Zorn. His concert works are spectacular. I.e. Carny DAMN!!

...

Jazz theory is just the next logical step in regular tonal theory. Expanding 7th chords with extensions, alterations, modal chord/scale concepts, quartal voicings and so on.

If you want to stay within a tonally constructed world, but want to incorporate dissonance then start here.

...if you want to go FURTHER out, then get into more free-form/improvisatory musics. Graphical notation, conduction, free-improvisation, etc...

...if you want to go FURTHER still, dig some La Monte Young.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You cant have darkness without light and vise verse. Keep in mind that the dissonance wont be as noticeable without consonance in between. A piece can be predominantly dissonant, but it needs some consonance to play off of. The best way is to write a regular major or minor chord and put a few extra notes in between. There are a lot of different sounds that come from dissonance. Major ninths can sound very warm and rich. Diminished seven thirteenth chords sound very eerie and dissonant. Experiment, play around with some chords, see what works, what sounds good. Write like normal with notes in between. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Find new ways to play old instruments. Buy a viola bow...use it on things.

HAHAHAHA, that just struck me very funny for some reason.

To Heckel - dude, just escape the tonal realm. Don't think functional chords, but more like sonic entities. Like Robin says, don't think too hard. It even helps if you don't think it all. Hit random notes, chances are you'll run across something funky and attractive that you can play off of and experiment with. Come up with a motif and as part of improvisation play it in random keys with minimal tonal relation. Try and avoid using the same 7 or 8 pitches, use all 12, in a short amount of time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're thinking in terms of pitches, one of the most dissonant techniques I know of is Ruth Crawford Seeger's dissonant counterpoint. Listen to her Five Songs for one example. Not my cup of tea, although her text painting is quite good.

I was actually going to mention this also.

Essentially, she re-defines the "rules" of counterpoint such that what is traditionally dissonance is treated as consonance, and vice-versa. The hardest part that I had in developing a similar system like this is figuring out voice leading such that I didn't have huge redundancies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest getting a copy of Vincent Persichetti's Twentieth Century Harmony and working your way through the exercises.

Get some piano reductions of some of the ground-breaking works, too... Rite of Spring among them. It blew my mind when I realized the effects one could get just by stacking dominant 7th chords in different keys (RoS is "tonal," by the way--the last movement is clearly in D and the final chord is DEAD, interestingly enough)... the entire second half is based more-or-less on a five-note cell, too. Les Noces, Afternoon of a Faun, Schoenberg op. 11, Pierrot Lunaire, any Bartok quartet...

And that was all... five years ago that I figured that out? Once you get Persichetti's teaching in your head, "any note can follow any other note, and any tone can sound simultaneously with any other tone..." oh, the doors that opens! It then becomes your job to figure out your own approach to arranging tones. I like to work with modes and jazz harmonies (not necessarily in jazz styles) as starting points from which I just take off.

Nadia Boulanger taught her students, "write a lot of notes, keep the good ones." I agree with that, but I also caution you not to write dissonance just for the sake of writing dissonance, because then it runs the risk of obscuring what you are trying to say. Even RoS has moments of "consonance" (relatively speaking) that make it work. You're still young! Look to models, heavens yes, but don't force yourself into any kind of mold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello YC

I really like dissonant music, and I want to write some dissonant things. But I just don't have ideas...and if I do have one, I don't know what to do with it. I do do some polytonal things in my music, but that doesn't really count as true dissonance. I really want to do something that just blows your ears out it's so dissonant, but I can't get an idea!

Suggestions?

For anyone even moderately aware of the 20th century in classical music, this will be impossible to accomplish. My original post suggests as such.

Writing dissonance for just the sake of dissonance is lame anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For anyone even moderately aware of the 20th century in classical music, this will be impossible to accomplish.

Yeah. The only way to blow ears out today is by making it insanely loud :P

Whether writing dissonance for the sake of dissonance is lame or not, I'd not be so sure about though. That all comes down to what "dissonance" means to you and how you treat your idea thereof in your music. If, for instance, you define dissonance as tones that "don't melt together well", then writing dissonances may be seen as a way of separating musical lines/ideas (a polyphonic principle of sorts) etc. Or if you define it as "producing audible beating", then you may be doing it in order to produce very lively, never static tones, respectively in order to link certain rhythmic properties (beating) to harmonic ones (a link that was sought by many composers). Or you simply may be using it as a means of avoiding tonality, in order to allow your sounds to be heard as entities "on their own" and not just within a certain, preestablished context (as far as that's even possible - it certainly isn't totally). Or, you merely define it as "harmonies that sound clashing/uncomfortable to the tonally biased ear", in which case it may be an act of "rebellion" that certainly won't work anymore on musicians and people used to contemporary music - but will still produce some effect when unexpectedly brought upon people who aren't used to it at all. Or you may simply be doing it for yourself: As a "rebellion" against your own harmonic expectations, in order to forcible push your ear towards listening differently or whatever. And so on. There are tons of reasons -why- you might be doing this and many of them seem entirely legitimate to me.

I think there are few musical goals that are necessarily lame, as long as you approach them in a clever and considerate way.

And besides all this, I find it entirely legitimate to simply prefer the sound of those intervals/harmonies that are traditionally called dissonances, as one might prefer the sound of an oboe to the sound of a flute. A minor ninth -does- sound different to an octave (even if "in what way" contains many very subjective ideas), and if "dissonances" sound consistently "better" to you than "consonances", then that should be an acceptable reason to prefer the former to the latter when composing. The same way some people write for violin instead of e-guitar, simply because they may not like the sound of the e-guitar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your looking to write something dissonant I'd suggest a couple of ideas.

Go find a book, or something, on the 12 tone method of composition. And got find a table of pitch class sets.

If serial/atonal music isn't your thing (its not mine) go find a copy of Beethoven's Grosse Fugue and study the harmony he uses, don't concern yourself very much with the counterpoint though.

Polytonality (a misnomer) also can be used to create dissonant music. That help?

EDIT

In fact if your looking to write something extreme then DEFINATELY go study Beethoven's Grosse Fugue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...