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#1661378 - 04/16/11 04:47 PM Horizontal Composition?
thared33 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/09/09
Posts: 14
I'm looking for a newer kind of method of composing. I came across something called the Equal Interval System and that's the closest I've come to anything having to do with horizontal composition.

What I'm talking about is either using some sort of interval pattern on your piano to create a line (ie: up a 3rd, then down a 2nd, down a 2nd, up a 4th, and so on), or actually look at sheet music and do the same thing there. So basically you map out a rhythm and know which note values you'll use, then you just fill in which notes by using some sort of horizontal method.

It's like creating tension, resolving notes, using either consonant or dissonant intervals to do that, etc which is basically some kind of melody composition. Can someone point out a book or any material out there that covers this? It seems like a quicker way to compose which will cut down on thinking about theory too much and uses patterns instead.

Edited by thared33 (04/16/11 04:49 PM)

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#1661411 - 04/16/11 05:41 PM Re: Horizontal Composition? [Re: thared33]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 469
I think what you are talking about is sequential chord progressions or modulations. When you go from lets say G minor to C minor to F minor to Bbminor, or A minor to B minor to C# minor to D# minor, you are moving by sequential steps. In the first example, you are moving up a fourth every time, and in the second example, you are moving up a major second every time. This is sequential harmony.

Here is a good resource for understanding of sequential chord progressions or other types of modulation.


Edited by Claude56 (04/16/11 05:42 PM)

#1664228 - 04/21/11 02:41 PM Re: Horizontal Composition? [Re: thared33]
AnonymousInvention Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 142
Loc: Florida
Depending on what kind of "sound" you want your music to have, there are several systems that have been used. Arnold Schönberg created the 12 tone system for his raw material to compose from. See the following link for more info:


Also Olivier Messian, at times, used "modes of limited transposition" for his method. See:


Both of these methods lead to more or less dissonant music if followed strictly. However, one can use the fundamentals of the systems, but not their strict application in all regards, to achieve a different result. For example, I just finished recording a gritty sounding jazz piece for organ (with foot pedals), drums and sax which loosely uses Schönberg's system. It will appear on the next AI CD.
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