Composition for Twelve Instruments

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Composition for Twelve Instruments (1948, rev. 1954) is a serial music composition written by American composer Milton Babbitt for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, harp, celesta, violin, viola, cello, and double bass. In it Babbitt for the first time employs a twelve-element duration set to serialize the rhythms as well as the pitches,[1] predating Olivier Messiaen's (non-serial) "Mode de valeurs et d'intensités", but not the Turangalîla-Symphonie (1946–48), in which Messiaen used this device[clarification needed] for the first time in the opening episode of the movement titled "Turangalîla II".[2]

Babbitt's use of rhythm in the piece was criticized by Peter Westergaard in Perspectives of New Music: "can we be expected to hear a family resemblance between a dotted half note followed by a sixteenth note (the opening 'interval' of duration set P0) and an eighth note followed by a dotted eighth note (the opening 'interval' of duration set P2)?"[3] He would later employ an approach based on time-points,[4] which Westergaard described as a solution to the above problems.

The combinatorial tone row used may be represented: 0 1 4 9 5 8 3 t 2 e 6 7[5]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Taruskin, Richard (2009). The Oxford History of Western Music: Music in the Late Twentieth Century, p.168. ISBN 9780195384857.
  2. ^ Robert Sherlaw Johnson, Messiaen, revised and updated edition (London: J. M. Dent; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989): 94.
  3. ^ Westergaard, Peter (1965). "Some Problems Raised by the Rhythmic Procedures in Milton Babbitt's Composition for Twelve Instruments", Perspectives of New Music 4, no. 1: 109–18, citation on p.113. Quoted by Taruskin, Richard (with "half note" changed to "quarter note") (2009). The Oxford History of Western Music: Music in the Late Twentieth Century, p.168. ISBN 9780195384857.
  4. ^ Taruskin (2009), p.166-167.
  5. ^ Babbitt, Milton (2011). The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt, p.94. ISBN 9780691089669.

Further reading[edit]

  • Borders, Barbara Ann (1979). "Formal Aspects in Selected Instrumental Works of Milton Babbitt," Ph.D. dissertation, Lawrence: University of Kansas.
  • Hush, David (1982–83). "Asynordinate Twelve-Tone Structures: Milton Babbitt's Compositions for Twelve Instruments (Part 1)". Perspectives of New Music 21, nos. 1–2: 152–208. Cited in Vander Weg (2000), p.56. ISBN 9780815335283. Also cited in Cited in Mead (1989), 11:1, p.45. doi:10.2307/745948. Also cited in Dubiel 1990 28:2, p.251 ISSN 00316016. Also cited in Roig-Franconi (2001) 41, p.88 ISSN 00695696.
  • Hush, David (1983–84). "Asynordinate Twelve-Tone Structures: Milton Babbitt's Compositions for Twelve Instruments (Part 2)". Perspectives of New Music 22, nos. 1–2 (Fall-Winter/Spring-Summer): 103–16. Cited in Mead (1989a), 11:1, p.45. doi:10.2307/745948.
  • Hush, David (1984). "Asynordinate Twelve-Tone Structures: Milton Babbitt's Compositions for Twelve Instruments". Perspectives of New Music 23, no. 1 (Fall-Winter): 278–97. Cited in Mead (1989b), 3, p.168. ISSN 073-6913.[clarification needed]