Section 34.6 Non-Twelve-Tone Serialism
Serialism also includes music that is not twelve-tone but does use a series of notes that maintains its order and employs inversion, retrograde, and retrograde inversion of the series. An example is found in Stravinsky’s Septet from 1953. 1
Here is the series with pitch-class integers (abbreviated “pc” for pitch class), and without registral displacement. Arrows connect repeated notes.
We notice that B (pitch integer 11), A (9), G (7), F♯ (6), and G♯ (8) are repeated in the series, with A, G, and G♯ occurring three times each. Below is the normal form of the 8 pitch classes in the 16-note series.
Such a series could imply E or A as a tonal center. Note that Stravinsky’s Septet is not strictly serial but contains serial elements. Such an example shows us that serialism can be employed in ways other than the strict, original twelve-tone version.