Glenview Academy

Twelve Tone Music School
Introduction to Twelve Tone Music

In music, twelve-tone technique, also known as dodecaphony, is a method of composition devised by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg. The technique is credited with revolutionizing 20th century music and has been influential both on classical and popular music. The basis of the technique is the ordering of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale into a particular pattern called a tone row. All melodic and harmonic material for a piece is derived from this row by a process of permutation.

Invented in 1923, twelve-tone technique was an essential part of New Music, particularly in Europe, during the early twentieth century. Many composers who did not adopt the technique nonetheless acknowledged its importance. The tone row itself can be manipulated to produce different effects: inversion (flipping the order), retrograde (playing the row backwards), and transposition (shifting the row up or down). These operations can be combined to produce even more variation.


The Different Types of Twelve Tone Music

There are four different types of twelve tone music. They are atonal, serial, integral, and free.

Atonal music is a type of music that does not have a tonal center. This means that there is no one note that is the starting point or home base for the rest of the notes in the piece. Atonal music can be very dissonant, meaning that the notes do not sound pleasant when played together. Many modern classical composers use atonal techniques in their pieces.

Serial music is a type of music that uses a series of pitches, or tones, to create its melody and harmony. The composer decides on a set order for these pitches, and all of the music is based on this order. Serial music can be atonal or tonal; it just depends on how the composer orders the pitches.

Integral serialism is a type of twelve tone technique that was developed by composer Arnold Schoenberg. In this type of composition, all twelve notes are used equally often throughout the piece. There is no one note that stands out as being more important than any other note. All twelve notes are treated as being equal in importance.

Free serialism is a type of twelve tone technique that allows the composer more freedom in how they use the twelve notes. The pitches can be used in any order, and there is no need to use all twelve pitches equally often throughout the piece. This type of serialism gives the composer

Pros and Cons of Twelve Tone Music

There are a few pros and cons to twelve tone music that students should be aware of before enrolling in a twelve tone music school.

On the positive side, twelve tone music can produce a more unified and consistent sound than other types of musical composition. It is also less likely to produce tonal ambiguity, which can be an issue with other types of music.

However, twelve tone music can be more difficult to grasp for beginning students. It may take longer for them to understand the concepts behind the music and how to create it themselves. Additionally, because it relies heavily on mathematical principles, it can be seen as cold or abstract by some listeners.

What is the History of Twelve Tone Music?

In the early 1900s, Arnold Schoenberg, an Austrian composer, developed a new technique of composition called twelve-tone or serial music. With this technique, all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are given equal importance and are arranged in a fixed order, or series. This order is then repeated throughout the work. Serial music was initially met with skepticism and opposition from the musical community, but it soon gained popularity and became an important part of 20th-century music.

Today, twelve-tone music is studied and performed by musicians all over the world. It has been used by some of the most famous composers of our time, including Igor Stravinsky, Alban Berg, and Anton Webern.

Where Can I Learn More About Twelve Tone Music?

If you’re interested in learning more about twelve tone music, there are a few resources you can check out. One is the website of the American composer Aaron Copland, which has a section devoted to twelve tone music. You can also find a number of articles and essays on the subject by doing a search on Google Scholar. Finally, if you want to get a more in-depth understanding of the theory behind twelve tone music, you can read one of the many books that have been written on the topic.


In conclusion, the twelve tone music school is a great way to teach children about music. It offers a structured and systematic approach to learning that can help children progress quickly. The school also provides a supportive and nurturing environment for children to explore their musical talents.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *