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An Electronically Generated Complex Microtonal System of Horizontal and Vertical Tonality

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The possibility for chordal tonality as an organizing principle for aperiodic tones is demonstrated. Such tones can be quite useful musically, for they sound richer than sinusoids and still permit certain stable intervallic structures among themselves that would not be present were complex periodic tones used instead of these structures. A novel microtonal tuning model that supports a new horizontal and vertical or chordal tonality is extrapolated from Pierce [1]. Since stability of novel intervallic structures is largely partial format dependent and is basic to harmonic function and to vertical tonality, electronic tone generation, because it makes possible these novel stable structures, permits the production of horizontal and vertical tonalities with novel intervals that function in a form-building and orienting way equivalent to traditional harmonic tonality but with a different sound. The model suggests that traditional harmonic tonality is that vertical as well as horizontal tonality which is promoted by the use of periodic and quasiperiodic tones. Embodiment of such new tonal systems in relatively inexpensive special-purpose or dedicated electrophonic keyboard instruments is recommended.

JAES Volume 19 Issue 10 pp. 851-858; November 1971
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