A little more understanding

I learned something interesting from my friend Chris the code monkey this week. He said

Tonal music establishes a base, so that it means something to leave it and return, which you can hear in Bach. When you leave the base, you can feel tonal “gravity” pulling you back, and when you do come back, it’s a release of tension. There are many ways to create and release tension in music, and tonality is one way to do that, according to specific principles, with harmony.
And now you also know what “atonal” music is: music that doesn’t follow those principles for creating harmonic tension. Such music might have other rules, or create tension in some completely different way.

wow. That’s so cool!

Published by

Dinah from Kabalor

Author. Discardian. GM. Current project: creating an inclusive indie fantasy ttrpg https://www.patreon.com/kabalor

3 thoughts on “A little more understanding”

  1. Ah, so that’s the difference! My music teacher once taught me how this establishment of a fixed idea and its way of going from an explicit form to an implicit one and back again is called poetry and occurs everywhere you seek to make a point. You find it in the building of a subway where the initial idea is to get from Berry Lane to Chestnut Plains, which is then immediately abandoned and replaced with ideas about electricity, how the tracks are to be curved and so forth, only to come back to the integration, which is the construction of the thing that takes people from here to there and it only does because one was able to drift from Berry Lane and let the gravitational pull bring the driftings home. If the subway was built in an atonal way, you’d leave Berry Lane and suddenly experience the car take off, only to walk up the escalator and go shopping at the mall.
    Subways don’t do this.
    Dreams do.
    The same thing applies to going to the bathroom. If you’re really feeling the urge, you get the idea of going to the can, and this idea alone (especially the feeling of being separated from its manifestation) creates tremendous tension which is only relieved when you get to it in real life, i.e. taking a dump. But first you must stray from the original idea of doing it to things like finding a toilet, getting in there and opening the lid. I don’t suppose there is a man or woman alive who doesn’t know the kind of harmonic tension this can build and the incredible relief to return to the original idea.
    If you do this in an atonal way, on the other hand, you will end up either
    a) singing “God rest ye merry gentlemen” backwards on the toilet seat
    b) drinking out of the toilet or
    c) shitting in the bathtub
    …but that’s already kinda tonal again because it’s a return to the essence of the original idea.


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