Thesaurus Of Abstract Musical Properties

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The discovery and application of abstract musical properties has had a prominent role in compositional and theoretical literature during the past 40 years, and an accumulation of source material has been produced that makes a single cross-referenced source essential for standard working procedures. Abstract musical properties, most often associated with analytical or compositional systems, are presented here in an unbiased context that allows the reader freedom of association and interpretation. This type of reference is an important tool for anyone who uses set-class analysis in coursework, or independent thesis research.

This book is intended to help verify musical intuition and has an immediate practical application for composers and theorists curious about intervallic properties and transformational potentials of any pitch-class set. It can provide supplemental material for coursework involving theory, analysis, and stylistic awareness of compositional or analytical styles, and also for learning and confirming economical presentations characteristic of recent music-theoretical literature. Organized in two parts, the first is a profile of all set-classes in charts allowing quick comparisons among them, including set-class reference tables, set-classes arranged by ascending interval-class vectors, and a summary of transformational invariances. The second part focuses on individual set-classes, listing its contents, subsets, and significant references to the collection in musical or theoretical literature. Internal segmentations of each set-class that are more structurally informative and memorizable than prime-forms are offered. Three appendices, an extensive bibliography, an index of selected analytical viewpoint and styles, and an index of terms are also included.

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Editorial Reviews

A collection of charts and diagrams to simplify the process of comparing sounds to others of similar or complementary size and interval structure, with references to individual set-classes in musical and theoretical contexts and tables for comparing set-classes of similar and differing numbers of elements. The thesaurus, which assumes knowledge of the application of set theory to musical procedure, can be used as supplemental material in courses involving theory, analysis, and stylistic awareness of compositional styles. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

JEFFREY JOHNSON is currently full-time instructor of Music Theory in the Choir Academy of the Boy's Choir of Harlem.

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Table of Contents


Conventions and Applications

Set-Class Profiles

Set-Class Reference Tables

Set-Class Invariance Vectors

Invariance Vectors Between Set-Classes and Literal Complements

Set-Classes Arranged by Ascending Interval-Classes

Individual Set-Classes









Appendix I: Chromatic Set-Class Listings

Appendix II: Set-Classes Listed in Ascending Order by Cardinality

Appendix III: A Listing of Transformational Cycles


Index of Selected Analytical Viewpoints and Styles

Index of Terms

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