My Obsession With Whole Tones

So I guess it’s been a while since I’ve actually posted anything interesting, so I thought I’d share something. Anyway, I’ve been going through the numerous unfinished drafts I have in Finale, and I’m realizing I had it way worse than I thought. I mean I knew I that I was obsessed with the whole tone scale but now I have to wonder, was that really necessary to incorporate it into every single one? Either that or a regular augmented chord to “add interest”. This also led to my music being either keyless or modulating at every possible moment, because once again I thought it was interesting. Other things I used more than once were successive tritones, tone clusters, and purposeful dissonances such as the dyad of a minor ninth interval. I think the one that displays each of these qualities the most is one rightfully named “Whole Tone Study”. Written at the piano, it is only four pages with ideas still developing, perhaps because my study of whole tones remains unfinished. Although many of the dissonances cannot strictly be defined by whole tones, the influence of the whole tone scale is manifested quite plainly right from the get-go. [removed link]

Some of these qualities can be found easily in “The Tour” and the clarinet caprice. I don’t know why; it seemed that every chord progression somehow needed to include an augmented chord, and I knew that the whole tone scale was compatible with it. I’ve always wanted my chords to make sense: contain consonant chords, but have the chord progression stray from the diatonic. This was not the case with the example above, which tells me something. I was either experimenting or going crazy. Because now I sit at the piano and play something consonant, with chords un-extended, even staying within the key! I know my focus used to be to “make it modulate as much as possible in every direction while still making it sound good”. I achieved something to this extent with “Alfalfa”. But I don’t know what’s to go from here. The question is whether or not my obsession with whole tones was a phase or eternally part of language.

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