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Writing Music that Speaks to the Human Spirit

A visit with Thomas McKenney, Professor, Composition and Music Theory

By LuAnne Roth
Published: - Topics: electronic music composition music

More on tonal systems and McKenney’s philosophy of music

Topics: Schönberg twelve-note system

“I believe that all art is a product of that society in which it exists, and our society has become much more conservative over the last number of years,” McKenney suggests. During the 1960s and ‘70s, America was experiencing social upheaval. “You had some composers who were using mathematical processes to write pieces and everything was intellectually conceived.” At the other extreme were composers who didn’t notate anything but geometric shapes. It was in this period of great experimentation that electronic music began to take hold. “Music is more tonally conceived now,” McKenney observes, and less experimental than it used to be.