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Syntonic Music

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syntonic (sn-tnk) adjective
Characterized by a high emotional responsiveness to the environment.
[From Greek suntonos, high-strung, internal linkintense, attuned, from sunteinein, to draw tight : sun-, syn- + teinein, to stretch.]

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"A music intending to communicate the psychic energy of actual tones could be called *syntonic* music. It would be based on an experience of tone, unconstrained by the intellectual concepts of the classical tonality system or made difficult by the habits and internal linkmemories of conditioning or academic training. ..Tonal relationships are included in the space relationships of syntonic music, but the rules, patterns, and cadences obligatory in a tonality-controlled music hinder the development of a syntonic internal linkconsciousness, (although they) undoubtedly have served a valid purpose for the European culture and its American and global prolongations. Today, however, as all cultural traditions disintegrate, the use of precisely tuned scales and essentially separate notes having an abstract intellectual existence on the background of empty space hides a psycho-musical inability to respond to the possibility of allowing the full vibrancy of the whole musical space to inspire (or inspirit) a new consciousness of Tone.

"In syntonic music, because the fullness of the entire humanly experienceable musical space is the fundamental reality, any sound can be used as part of a sequence (melody) or simultaneity (chord) of sounds. But this does not mean the absence of selection in the composition of a particular work of music internal linkintended to communicate a particular state or fulfill a particular personal or collective function or purpose. What is selected is from the whole musical space, and that wholeness remains potentially involved in the internal linkresonance of the total work. The internal linkprocess of selection is an open process.

"This approach to composing music essentially does away with the rules of harmony taught in schools. Chords with complex names and meant to reveal or maintain tonality become simply sound-simultaneities, or more or less complex modes of vibration of the musical space. Dissonant chords need not be resolved into consonance. Sound simultaneities may not be susceptible to being transposed or of being sounded in a different register without their tone quality being radically altered.   Many or most of the chords called dissonant in Western musical theory can generate, when their component sounds are properly spaced, a far more powerful resonance than so-called perfect consonances, because of the phenomena of beats and combination tones. Such chords are more than the sum of their parts. They defy intellectual, quantitative analysis. Similarly, a internal linkmemorable musical theme or leitmotif has an emotional-psychic power not explainable in terms of its intervals or the internal linkfrequencies of its notes.

"A chord is a sudden release of power; a melody is a process of release. When human beings acted as a unified tribe -- as a chording of consonant units within a stable whole -- the tribal chord of being (the culture and its psychism) was so basic that individually improvised melodies could arise from it. In classical Europe, tonality being he unquestioned reality of music, melodies could flow, rather aimlessly but spontaneously, for the sheer pleasure of making endless variations (musical arabesques) on the major or minor tonality pattern, issued from the perfect chord and its permutations. We are, however, no longer living in such a cultural situation.

"In syntonic music the notes of Western music, no longer basically held by the root power of tonality, are drawn into holistic group formations. Instead of emerging from a One (a tonic), they seek the interpenetrative condition of dissonant chords -- pleromas of sounds. ..The concept of pleromas of sounds does not imply a devaluation of melody per se. Neither does the concept of musical space as a continuum of vibrations imply that syntonic melodies should unfold as  perpetual glissando from note to note. It means that (as is the case in a great deal of Oriental music) the manner in which a sound is approached and ended is as important and significant as the actual pitch (or pitches) of the note."

"There are two basic ways of defining the nature of a melody. The first is as the temporal expansion of a fundamental unity to which every note of the melody can be referred. If unity means an intellectual and essentially geometric system of organization, the melody is like an arabesque. It fills a musical space defined by quasi-architectural structures (musical forms). Such melodies produce an *aesthetic* effect. This effect, however, usually is produced only when the consciousness of the hearers operates in terms of the culture in which the melody came (as it were) to flower. Music then is inspired by a particular culture's formulation of the ideal of "the Beautiful" -- an ideal which seems to be inherent in human nature.

"The second definition of a melody is *expressionistic*. In its primordial aspect it is internal linkmagical or sacromagical. In its modern individualistic aspect it is meant to communicate transformative states of internal linkconsciousness -- the struggles and passions of individuals... In their transpersonal aspect beyond individual passions, expressionistic melodies assume a deliberately transformative function, reviving at a higher level of human internal linkevolution the magic of ancient chants associated with evocative tones.

"Because expressionistic music does not mainly fulfill an aesthetic function, its essential characteristics are dissonances. From a cultural point of view, these may be discords -- that is, relationships which cannot be integrated within the limits of the culture's psychism. But tone relationships that are discords for the cultural mind are dissonances for the individual in a constant process of transformation."

- Dane Rudhyar, _Dissonant Harmony, Pleromas of Sound, Music Physician for Times to Come_  an anthology by Don Campbell, p. 281.

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