When it comes to music theory, matrices are an essential tool for understanding and analyzing musical structures. A row matrix is a specific type of matrix that is commonly used in music theory to analyze twelve-tone compositions. In this article, we’ll explore what a row matrix is, how to create one, and how it can be used in music analysis.

What is a Row Matrix?

A row matrix is a 12×12 grid that represents the 12-tone chromatic scale. Each row of the matrix represents a different order of the 12 tones.

The first row contains the original order of the 12 tones, while the subsequent rows contain transpositions of the original order. Each column represents a single tone.

Creating a Row Matrix

To create a row matrix, you’ll need to start with the original order of the 12 tones. This can be any order you choose, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll use the following example:

To create the first row of our matrix, simply write out each tone in order from left to right:

C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B

To create subsequent rows, you’ll need to transpose this original row by moving each tone up or down by a certain number of semitones. For example, if we want to transpose our original row up by three semitones, we would get:

E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D#

Continue transposing the original row until you’ve filled in all 12 rows of the matrix. Your completed row matrix should look something like this:


C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B
D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C C#
E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D#
F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E
F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E F
G G# A A# B C C# D D# E F F#
G# A A# B C C# D D3 E F F3 G
A A #B CC #D DD #E FF #G GG #
A #B CC #D DD #E FF #G GG #A
B CC #D DD #E FF #G GG #A 1
CC #D DD #E FF3 GG3 AA3 BB CC

Using a Row Matrix

Now that you have a completed row matrix, you can use it to analyze twelve-tone compositions. To do this, simply compare the rows of the matrix to the tone rows used in the composition. By comparing the tone rows to the rows of the matrix, you can identify any transpositions or inversions that may have been used in the composition.

For example, let’s say that a composer has used a tone row that starts with the following sequence:

By comparing this tone row to the rows of our row matrix, we can see that it is a transposition of the third row of the matrix. This tells us that the composer has used a transposed version of the original tone row in their composition.

Conclusion

Row matrices are an essential tool for analyzing twelve-tone compositions in music theory. By creating a row matrix and comparing it to the tone rows used in a composition, you can identify any transpositions or inversions that may have been used, allowing for a deeper understanding and analysis of the composition.

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