Talk:Tone row

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Maybe this article would better fit under the heading Twelve-tone technique, the tone row only being an element of it. -- Tsja

I agree. I'm thinking there should be a big article on 20th century harmony/composition, maybe starting with the late impressionists and moving up to the sorts of things sibelius and Schnittke were doing.JFQ

That would be great! Gingermint (talk) 20:52, 4 October 2010 (UTC)


I also agree that this is not the place for this article. Where it should be, I'm not sure. I hope to get a decent article on the subject together in the next few weeks, so I've been thinking about where it should go. Here are things as I see them:

  1. The tone row in twelve-tone music is analogous to harmony in tonal music - it is what makes it tick, what holds it together, but it isn't the thing itself. Also, a google search for "tone row system" comes up with a mere 22 matches. The article should be elsewhere.
  2. One alternative is Twelve-tone technique which you could also call Twelve tone technique, Twelve-tone music, Twelve tone music, Twelve-note music, Twelve tone system and so on. This is an awful lot of alternatives, and I wouldn't know which one to go with. It may not be a problem, but I think there is a better solution.
  3. An apparent solution is to place the article at dodecaphony, which is a synonym for "twelve tone technique" and all those other things in No. 2 above. Unfortunately, this is not a particularly widely used term (Google reports around 1000 matches), and in my view its use is becoming rarer.
  4. Another way is to place the article at Serialism (around 7000 Google matches) or Serial music. This is not the same thing as twelve-tone music; twelve-tone music serialises only the pitches, while "serial music" is a more general term where any element of the music may be serialised (such as the durations of notes, the dynamics, the method of attack, etc). However, serialism could cover all these things, "total serialisation" (where all elements of the music are serialised) as was practised by Pierre Boulez and others, as well as "simple" twelve-tone music which was its ancestor.

It's this last solution which I think is the best. You can't have an explanation of total serialisation without covering all the basic twelve-note stuff anyway. If you make the two things different articles, anybody reading the serial music article would also have to read the twelve-tone article, so they may as well go in the same place. You can't put them both at "twelve-tone technique" because not all serial pieces are twelve-tone pieces, but you can put them both at serialism, because all twelve-tone pieces are serial pieces.

Whew! I sort of feel I'm answering a question that hasn't been asked, but if nothing else, I've convinced myself that an article at serialism or, if there is another meaning of that word, serial music is the way to go. Anybody else have any thoughts?

By the way, JFQ, an exhaustive explanation of all 20th century compositional techniques would probably give too long an article to be much use, but I think a list of such techniques, with links to pages on each of them could be very useful (it would let us see what hasn't been covered yet, for a start). --Camembert

List of 20th century classical compositional techniques, or could this be done at 20th century classical music?Hyacinth 22:39, 27 Dec 2003 (UTC)


Just to clarify what happened with the above - we currently have serialism which covers twelve tone music as well, at least for now. This article can continue to live though, and I'm planning to spruce it up somewhat. Details about how the row is transformed is probably best suited to the serialism article, but I think we can have stuff here about the way rows can sometimes be constructed in quite intricate ways (esp in Webern). --Camembert

OK, now we have serialism and twelve-tone technique as well as this article. I thought about incorporating this article into twelve-tone technique, but thought it was worth keeping it separate in the end. I might change my mind later, but for now at least, I'm reasonably happy with things. --Camembert 19:36 Apr 21, 2003 (UTC)

I vote to keep this article. Hyacinth 02:03, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

What about "twelve tone composition"? 01:56, 13 October 2005 (UTC)mightyafrowhitey

German Translation?[edit]

Why do we need the German translation of 'Tone Row' on the English page? --Woodgreener 18:57, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

We don't. The interwiki links at the side take care of that already. It should be removed. - Rainwarrior 22:58, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


Is the 13-tone row from Shostakovitch's 13th string quartet worth mentioning here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:57, 2 June 2013

Under "Nonstandard tone rows", you mean? Sure, why not, if there is a reliable source to support the claim it is actually used as a row (which should not be difficult to find).—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:56, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Non-free images[edit]

User:Werieth fairly recently removed some files (Image:Schoenberg - Op. 25 Minuet Trio opening.png, Image:Schoenberg - Op. 25 Minuet Trio P-6 melody.png, Image:Schoenberg - Op. 25 Minuet Trio I-0 melody.png, and Image:Aggregate Von Heute auf Morgen.png) from this article with the edit summary, "See: WP:NFC". Since this doesn't seem like a clear or good reason to remove images I undid the edit. What part of NFC should we see and why? Hyacinth (talk) 01:36, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

We don't need non-free examples when we have free samples. WP:NFCC#1 Werieth (talk) 02:24, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
And given that some of the samples are pre-1923 we can get free recordings of them too. Werieth (talk) 02:28, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

The article now has no sample of tone rows realized as melodies (without Image:Schoenberg - Op. 25 Minuet Trio opening.png). Hyacinth (talk) 05:12, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm confused. If Werieth is correct and there are free examples, why have they not been substituted, instead of just removing the non-free ones? On the other hand, it is terrific to learn that there are pre-1923 recordings of these Schoenberg pieces. This is news to me—where can I find them?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:47, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
I never stated that the recordings are pre-1923 but rather that the source work is. We just need someone to record the work and release it under a free license. Werieth (talk) 01:23, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Ah, I see. The work itself is out of copyright, so a recording of it can be released under free license. And yet, the score itself is still under copyright? Does this have to do with the difference between print and recording copyright law?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:33, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Again depends on the source of the score, if the image comes from the original work its free, if not, it can be re-created using the original to avoid any possible copyright issues. Werieth (talk) 03:55, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Could you please quote policy or law to clarify and support your claims? Hyacinth (talk) 10:17, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Works published prior to 1924 have had their copyright expire. Depending on the source, (some are known for embedding or changing data) similar to the canary trap, their changes may or may not exist, and thus may or may not add additional copyright issues. Given the possible complications and associated issues, it is almost always preferred to go to the original source and not a third party since the original is not copyrighted any derivatives are thus freely licenseable, where if a newer version is used it may be a derivative of a non-free work. One similar example I can think of is with a British museum. They scanned a large number of images that are out of copyright and are claiming that a new copyright exists because of they scanned the old art. Depending on the country and associated laws that may or may not be true. In order to avoid those headaches going to the source and using it bypasses any headaches that may arise. Werieth (talk) 04:30, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
[@Werieth's comment of 31 March, not the one of 14 April.] It is beginning to sound like the problem stems from quoting this passage from Whittall, rather than from the original score. Is this what you are trying to tell us, Werieth?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:29, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
That sounds like the long version of "yes". According to this, all Hyacinth needs to do is create the example directly from the Schoenberg score, instead of relying on Whittall's recent book, and this will then be a copyright-free image.Withdraw comment, I obviously don't know who or what I am responding to. I thought Werieth was replying to my question, and simply misplaced the comment. So, Hyacinth, it appears that this question is yet to be answered.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:13, 14 April 2014 (UTC)