Prolegoma to Tetra-
-chordal Structure

Preface to the online edition


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The absolute truth that is intrinsic to the further development of Western music is that meaningful harmonic development requires ending twelve tone equal tempered tonality and forging a new method of organization that allows for total indeterminacy in tuning and intonation, so that any harmony, not simply one defined as "consonant," may be possible—what James Tenney termed the result of John Cage’s "aesthetic revolution."

Defined by the argument that a music is granted coherency through the observance of its structural axioms alone—the prominent example being triadic structure in tonality—Prolegomena to Tetrachordal Structure consists of a speculative and practical look at organizing sound, both line and harmony, according to contemporary, ahistorical interpretations of the ancient Greek greater perfect system through the construction of octave species, their modulations, the octave species within an aggregate, the composition of a line, and examples of larger compositions, including an appendix of selected study scores. Built upon the musicological and theoretical works of Curt Sachs, Harry Partch, James Tenney, and John Chalmers, the conclusions are formatted to align with the developments in non-equal tempered musical studies, including those of the structural characteristics of the tetrachord put forward by Chalmers in Divisions of the Tetrachord.

However, the ultimate goal is not a theoretical treatise, but a practical guide, akin to a workbook, that might shift the reader to a state in which they may comprehend, engage, and execute music in such a way that it is universal, despite the tuning or temperament, and is, in its indeterminacy, a non-exclusionary and communal experience. The hope for the future is that the development of a structure that enables an open, objective musical practice may facilitate a musical experience that will not be artistic or scientific, but natural, and the necessity must not be that it sounds pleasant or ugly, but that it sounds, that we are open to listen, and that we choose to sing so that we may be able to listen.