The Matrix

I shit you not, this is supposed to be music related.

Would you believe me if I told you that music has matrixes?

No?  Neither would I, EXCEPT IT DOES.

In music theory, we do a lot of musical analysis.  It’s fairly standard fare, and you actually have to use it quite a bit to understand how to play the music in a logical way.  For instance, a basic piece might move from the Home key (or tonic) to the 4 (or sub-dominant), the 5 (the dominant), and then the Tonic again.  Most simple pop songs follow that scheme, actually.  By analyzing a piece of music like this, I can know when to stress certain notes to have a more dramatic effect: taking our earlier example, I could play C, F, G, C.  By playing in a  crescendo to the G, I cause these four notes to be more musical.

Musical analysis helps with playing music like this; but this was a simple, classic chord progression.  What happens if we start playing music that has a whole new set of rules? For instance, what about 12 tone music?

12 tone music is music that utilizes the western world’s notation, but in a very strange way: instead of being in a key, 12 tone music has none.  12 tone music uses every note possible, all 12 tones, hence the name.  The issue with this is that it’s impossible to distinguish a singular home key.  ’cause there isn’t one.

So, how do we analyze something without a tonic? Through class pitches.

o,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,T,E.  Each one of these has a corresponding note.  C = 0, C# = 1, D = 2, etc.

But to make these of any use, we have to put them into a matrix.

Once you’ve made and filled out a 12×12 grid, you have your matrix.  And you use it to find out where the groupings of important notes are, and so on and so forth.  A new form of analysis.

My big issues are as follows: first, the fact there’s a matrix at all.  I avoided complex maths for this exact reason! They had matrixes, music did not.  Now I find it has since Schoenberg invented 12 tone music in the late 19th century.  Screw you, buddeh!

Secondly, I have issues analyizing music that, for the most part, sounds like my cat is walking on a piano.  Just sayin’.


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