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From ScratchWritings in Music Theory$
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James Tenney, Larry Polansky, and Lauren Pratt

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038723

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038723.001.0001

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The Chronological Development of Carl Ruggles’s Melodic Style

The Chronological Development of Carl Ruggles’s Melodic Style

(1977)

Chapter:
(p.180) Chapter 8 The Chronological Development of Carl Ruggles’s Melodic Style
Source:
From Scratch
Author(s):

James Tenney

, Larry Polansky, Lauren Pratt, Robert Wannamaker, Michael Winter
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252038723.003.0008

James Tenney presents the results of some statistical analyses that he carried out with the aid of a computer to study the chronological development of Carl Ruggles's melodic style. Certain aspects of Ruggles's music—the general shape of the melodic lines, the ever-present dissonant sonorities—are so consistent throughout all of his compositions that they give an impression of singular stylistic homogeneity. Tenney's results suggest just the opposite conclusion—at least with respect to his melodic writing. He goes on to examine significant changes in Ruggles's melodic style that are manifested in three ways: a gradual shift in the distribution of interval frequencies; a more and more effective avoidance of early recurrences of pitch classes; and an increase in the frequency and proximity of dissonance relations within his melodic lines.

Keywords:   melodic style, James Tenney, Carl Ruggles, music, interval frequencies, pitch classes, dissonance, melodic lines, compositions

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