Garritan Weekend Challenge – Twelve Tone Serialism

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This Weekend Challenge is truly challenging. During our Weekend Challenge – Piano I included a little trivia about the Fibonacci Sequence and it’s relationship to the piano. Riding that wave of nerdy bliss, I’m motivated this week to challenge you to compose twelve tone music. Don’t roll your eyes just yet. This can actually be a really fun puzzle to solve.

If you haven’t yet watched Vi Hart compose twelve tone music, this video is a must see:

Let’s review the rules of creating a twelve tone melody:

  • You have to use all 12 chromatic pitches in an order of your choosing.
  • No limitations on rhythm or octave.
  • You may repeat a note more than once before moving onto the next note.
  • You may go back and forth between two notes.
  • You can’t go back to the note two or more pitches earlier (because you’ve already used it, and it’s not a repeated note or a back-and-forth situation).
  • Loop it (hence the term “serialism”).

If composing twelve tone music isn’t your thing, chances are the last time you were challenged to try composing it was your junior year of college from that pesky music composition professor. This will be good for ya. If you teach music, I’d love for you to share the weekend challenges with your students. Composers of all levels are welcome.

Happy composing!

You may remember how our challenges work if you are a regular to the Garritan Weekend Challenge. If you’re new to the Garritan Weekend Challenge, welcome! This is simply a chance for you to practice composing and using Garritan sounds so when your next big composing gig hits, you’re well rehearsed. You can share your music in the comments section below or publish your tune on SoundCloud. It is a great opportunity to have other composers review your work. Most of all, it’s fun.

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