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Hey guys, here's a short piano piece I wrote about a month ago as an exploration of pitch class set theory. That being said, I feel that the set that I chose (0247) is a little bit too "tonal" for you to really be able to tell that it was written using pitch class sets in the first place. So I'll probably end up wanting to give it another go. But I would love to hear your thoughts on what I do have, as well as any thoughts you might have on composing with pitch class sets, and what you might have done differently in order to create something that actually "sounds" like it was written using set theory. 

Oh and sorry for the mediocre sound/performance quality. :grin:

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On 4/25/2018 at 7:45 AM, Youngc said:

Can you tell me your process in creating this?


The main motif used was pretty much just a reordering of the original set (0,2,7,4,2) I used inversions and transpositions of the set, and registral displacement to write the rest. I also stacked sets on top of each other in a few parts in order to create harmony. I used a superset of the original set for the B section (which was just the pentatonic scale), and subsets of the original set for a couple of measures. If you'd like I would be happy to upload the score!

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On 3/17/2018 at 12:53 PM, Luis Hernández said:

I like this language (PC set theory).

Yes, the set you use sounds tonal, it's the triad plus the second, but even in that case the manipulations can be many.

I like the homogeneous and unique sound of this.


Thank you for your response! Would you mind giving me a few suggestions of the different manipulations that are possible, aside from inversions and transpositions? 

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@millert1409 Hi.

Yes, you can try (and use, of course) rotations.

Let's say if, for example, you have this set:   C - Db - F - G# - A, you can reorder:

Db - F - G# - A - C

F - G# - A - C - Db

G# - A - C - Db - F

A - C - Db - F - G#


Also you can use the complement set to one you have. Following Forte: The complement of set X is the set consisting of all the pitch classes not contained in X.

Also you can use subsets and supersets. Subsets are smaller groups of pitches of an original set. A superset is when you add pitches to a set.

This different manipulations can be used in other sections or phrases.

I also like to mix different harmonic systems or languages: a PC set can be transformed into harmony by fourths or fifths ir the intervals are present in the set. Then you can make a smooth transition. Or change de PC set into an eclesiastic mode if in the set you have the minimum (tonic and characteristic note).


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