Four little notes


Something we all come to in 2016 and really every year is what to play and what to practice. So on my piano right is Non-tonal technical studies by Tonino Miano. It’s there because I want to try something I haven’t yet looked at. In other words, a new book, a new point of view.

On page 11 of Non-tonal technical studies is an exercise with a clever, non-obvious evocative, symmetrical group of 4 notes: C Gb B F, a grouping thing that might show up in music by

  • Arnold Schoenberg
  • Anton Webern
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Elliott Carter
  • John Coltrane
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Charlie Parker
  • Nicholas Slonimsky

or which anyone interested in intervals, or the sound of 4 notes, tonality, atonality, modality, and

  • pitch-class sets
  • octatonic and diminished scales
  • fourths
  • tritones
  • half-steps
  • major sevenths
  • fifths
  • transposition
  • re-ordering
  • piano fingerings
  • puzzles
  • intersections between music and math
  • diabolus in musica

might come across.

Actually, there are 24 ways to reorder those 4 notes. Each ordering, as per Nicholas Slonimsky can be described through colourful terminology that includes ultrapolation, infrapolation, interpolation which can be further modified with three prefixes: ultra, infra, and inter. Nicholas Slonimsky is the author of The Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic, Patterns, The Lexicon of Musical Invective, and the inventor of the grandmother chord.

Thus my simple request:

If you have 4 notes likeable, detestable, or interesting–for whatever reason–send them to me through email or post them in a comment.

I’ll collect and then re-post all examples received.

Here’s what John Williams might send.