Volume 15, Number 5, October 2009
Copyright © 2009 Society for Music Theory
Dyadic TC Lattices: Revisiting the TC/IS RelationshipDonald G. TrautREFERENCE: http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.02.8.3/mto.02.8.3.scotto.php KEYWORDS: Voice leading, transformation, neoRiemannian theory, parsimonious graphs ABSTRACT: This short study builds on Richard Cohn’s work by illustrating that dyadic transpositional combination alone accounts for the majority of noteworthy setclasses with the TCproperty. It presents six lattices of scs all related by TC and then analyzes the results as they relate to the 94 scs with IS.

[1] In an article from 1988, Richard Cohn explores the relationship between inversional symmetry and transpositional combination, especially as it relates to Bartók analysis (Cohn 1988). He argues that while it is well known that many of the pitch collections most important to Bartók’s music are inversionally symmetric, it is also significant that they can all be explained using transpositional combination (TC). He makes this clear in the illustration shown in Example 1. Here we see both the inversional axis (represented with a dotted line) and the TCproperty (shown beneath each figure) of several noteworthy collections. Indeed, collections such as Antokoletz’s “x” and “z” cells, along with the diatonic, wholetone, and octatonic collections, all parse into two transpositionally related pitchclass sets. As Cohn argues, while these collections are all inversionally symmetric, the presence of the TCproperty is not a mere coincidence that can be ignored. [2] While the crux of Cohn’s article is analytic in nature, he also mentions some of the more abstract elements of TC. Some of this comes in the form of simple statistics. As he writes: Of the 223 setclasses, 137 bear the TCproperty. Of particular interest for the present purposes is the relationship of the contents of this group to the contents of the group of ninetyfour bearing the ISproperty. Seventytwo setclasses bear both properties; that is, about threequarters of all ISsetclasses are also TCsetclasses (Cohn 1988, 24–25). He goes on to explain that the list of setclasses containing both IS and TC includes most of the important setclasses for Bartók analysis: These include the thirteen tetrachordtypes which can be realized as inversionallysymmetric structures of exactly four pitches; all of the partial and complete intervalcycles, including chromatic, diatonic, and wholetone sets; and all of the Tninvariant sets such as the octatonic collection and the “1:3 model” (Cohn 1988, 25). Since his goals for the article are primarily analytic, Cohn stops short of traveling further down this abstract path. But for those interested in this topic, there are still worthwhile questions to ask. Just what are the setclasses that have IS but not TC? Also, are there any distinctions among those sets that do have both IS and TC? [3] Cohn answers some of these questions in his dissertation (Cohn 1987). In this exhaustive study, he provides the theoretic groundwork for TC and illustrates its analytic importance in contemporary music. In addition to defining the operation and showing its role in music, this document contains appendixes listing various TC properties of all 223 scs. Of primary interest here are the categories into which Cohn places setclasses based on their TC properties.^{(1)} He uses four categories: 1) prime; 2) semiprime; 3) fully factorable; and 4) semifactorable. Prime scs—such as 412 (0236)—do not possess the TCproperty at all, while fully factorable scs—such as 417 (0347)—have a TC path stemming from a “simple operation” (TC3 of (04) in the case of 417). Semifactorable scs have TC, but their generative path traces back to a “mixed operation,” meaning one of the initial operands is a trichord or larger. The example Cohn gives is 619 (013478), which comes from TC1 of 311 (037). Finally, semiprime sets are those whose TC operands are both trichords or larger, resulting in a “complex operation.” This is the case for 631 (014579), which is generated when 311 (037) is transpositionally combined with itself. [4] Armed with further information about the role TC plays in the set universe, we may ask even more questions regarding the relationship between TC and IS. As stated earlier, it will certainly be interesting to know exactly which sets have IS but not TC. Further, now that we know that scs can be categorized based on their TC properties, it will be useful to see if there are differences among those sets that do have both IS and TC. With these points in mind, this paper adds to our understanding of the TC/IS relationship in two main ways. First, it presents lattices that contain all of the fully factorable setclasses. These are referred to as dyadic TC lattices because all setclasses produced can be traced back to a pair of dyads. This approach was first suggested by Robert Morris’s work, which used lattices to illustrate how small sets combine to generate larger sets (Morris 2001, 23). Second, it analyzes the results for the IS sets. While all sets produced on the lattices will be IS, we will see that not all of the possible IS sets appear; that is, they are not fully factorable. The paper concludes with a discussion of these remaining setclasses. [5] There are several things that need explanation in order to understand the lattices:
Example 2. Beginning of Lattice 1 (click to enlarge) Example 3. Middle stage of Lattice 1 (click to enlarge) Example 2 shows the beginning of Lattice 1. The six TC transformations result in six new sets, each of which is connected to (01) via the appropriate colored line. Example 3 shows the next set of transformations, which operate on the one trichord and the five tetrachords. Finally, Example 4 shows the final round of operations and thus presents the completed lattice for the (01) dyad. [6] Examples 59 present lattices for the remaining dyads. While the pruning process described above does not allow for illustrations of all TC paths, the individual lattices do reveal some relationships worth mentioning. For example, Lattice 1 (Example 4) shows a single path to 620 (the hexatonic collection), which then blossoms with three different paths to 912 (i.e., three augmented triads), two paths straight to the aggregate, and one idempotent transformation. In Lattice 2 (Example 5), TC 2 then TC 6 generates the wholetone collection (635), which then maps onto itself at the three even TC levels and straight to the aggregate at the odd TC levels. Each of the five tetrachords generated in Lattice 3 (Example 6) has at least one mapping that leads to the octatonic collection (828). Not surprisingly, Lattice 4 (Example 7) is dominated by the clear path from the augmented triad, to the hexatonic collection (620), and on to 912, with its three augmented triads. And finally, Lattice 6 (Example 9) generates only collections that are idempotent on at least one TC level. Example 10. Debussy, String Quartet, IV (click to enlarge) Example 11. Crumb, Five Pieces For Piano (click to enlarge) Table 1. Totals from dyad lattices (click to enlarge) [7] Generating these lattices can provide more context for analyses that incorporate TC. This is especially true when discussing the relationship between TC and fully chromatic or aggregate formations, as Mark McFarland has done recently (McFarland 2005). As McFarland shows, Debussy often transposed the same pcset numerous times to create fully chromatic collections. Thus, McFarland explains the first measure of Example 10 as four transpositions of a minor third, which when taken together, form SC 71. However, the analysis seen beneath the score illustrates another way of achieving this. Since the passage clearly stems from a dyad—(03) in this case—it is possible to show the generative path from the dyad to the larger sets. This is confirmed by referring to Lattice 3 (Example 6) and following the path from the dyad, through the tetrachord, and on to the septachord. Measure three of the same excerpt shows a similar situation. Here, three TC transformations generate aggregate completion from an initial tritone. Since the initial dyad is (06), this transformational path appears on Lattice 6 (Example 9).^{(3)} For one more example, consider the passage shown in Example 11, taken from George Crumb’s Five Pieces for Piano.^{(4)} Here, three successive transformations of TC 3 generate the aggregate from the opening (012) collection. While this passage does not begin with a dyad, the transformational path is easy to follow on Lattice 1 (Example 4).^{(5)} As in the Debussy examples, the lattice illustrates at a glance how the smaller set becomes a larger one. Further, in each case, the lattices place the scs involved in a larger context, adjacent to other scs related by TC, thus illustrating how the unique path chosen by the composer achieved the desired result. [8] While studying each individual lattice is useful for several reasons, we must take them as a whole to learn about their relationship to IS. Table 1 presents tallies from the lattices. The six rows devoted to each of the lattices show the number of setclasses generated at the twelve cardinalities. For example, Lattice 3 produces eight hexachords (the most for that cardinality), but it does not produce any pentachords. In the “Total” column, we see that Lattice 3 does in fact generate the most setclasses overall, while Lattice 6 generates the least by far. Table 1 also shows the total number of unique sets at each cardinality. It superimposes this on the total number of IS sets at each cardinality. For example, it is clear that Lattices 1–5 each produced one trichord. The “Unique Sets” entry shows that all five of these trichords were different. The “IS Sets” entry tells us that there are only five trichords with IS. Since we know that all the sets produced on our lattices are IS, we can safely state that dyadic TC generates all five of the IS trichords. By contrast, we can also see that dyadic TC generates only three of the ten possible pentachords with IS. Table 2. Roster of inversionally symmetric set classes (click to enlarge) Table 3. “Prime” SCs with IS (click to enlarge) Table 4. “Semifactorable” SCs with IS (click to enlarge) Example 12. Septachord “none” sets (click to enlarge) Example 13. Octochord “none” sets (click to enlarge) Example 14. Nonochord “none” sets (click to enlarge) [9] Table 2 provides even more detailed information regarding the IS sets and TC. Listed here are all 94 scs with IS. Also listed are the lattices (if any) on which these scs appear. For example, 47 (0145) appears on Lattices 1 and 4. Its complement, however, does not appear on any (i.e., it is not fully factorable).^{(6)} Perhaps the most striking fact here is that, other than 111 and 121 (which are not shown in Table 2), the octatonic collection (828) is the only setclass that appears on all six lattices. This makes sense, given the collection’s many tetrachordal parsings.^{(7)} Interestingly, Lattice 5 is the only lattice to show only one path to the octatonic collection: TC 6 of (05), then TC 3 of (0167). [10] At this point, we can return to a question posed at the outset: Will these dyadic lattices generate all of the IS scs? We know now that the answer is “no.” As Cohn points out, there are 94 scs that have the ISproperty. As Table 1 shows, the lattices generate only 60 of these.^{(8)} Add to that the six dyads themselves and we can account for 66 of the IS scs. Thus, of the 94 scs with IS, 28 are not represented on any of the lattices. They have an entry of “none” in Table 2. [11] These 28 “none” sets divide into two groups, shown here in Tables 3 and 4. The first group (Table 3) includes the 17 scs that have the ISproperty, but cannot be generated by TC of any kind; they are “prime.”^{(9)} The second group (Table 4) consists of the remaining “none” scs, which can be generated by TC, but are not fully factorable and thus do not appear on any of the lattices presented herein.^{(10)} [12] Examples 12–14 illustrate one way each of these eleven scs can be generated using TC. While there are several TC possibilities for each of these examples, the goal here is to find one of the more explicit equations where at least one of the operands is a dyad.^{(11)} As the examples show, this is possible for all eleven of the scs. In most cases, a tetrachord combines (and partially overlaps) with a transposed version of itself to generate the larger set. This is the case for all three of the septachords (Example 12), which can derive from TC 2 of prime tetrachords. Of the seven octachords (Example 13), all but one derives in similar fashion: a tetrachord combines with a transposed version of itself (this time sans overlap, of course). Once again, all of the tetrachords used here are prime. Setclass 824 does not factor into two tetrachords, but instead reveals T4related versions of 58, with two members overlapping. [13] The one nonachord, 910, is curious. Example 14 illustrates how it divides into two versions of 512. But this is not what is interesting here. As shown earlier, there are exactly five nonachords with the ISproperty: 91, 96, 99, 910, and 912. Of these five, all but 910 are fully factorable and thus appear on at least one of the dyad lattices. Remarkably, 910 stands out from its IS brethren even further. Not only is it the lone IS nonachord that is not fully factorable, but it is also the only IS nonachord that cannot be derived from nonoverlapping versions of 310 (036). Indeed, 91, 96, 99, and 912 all appear on Lattice 3, which features (036) as its lone trichord.^{(12)} [14] This interesting point about 910 is just one of the many tidbits gained by viewing dyadic TC via these lattices. Not only are we able to see many of the specific TC paths that generate specific scs, but we can also quickly view the families of sets produced on each of the lattices. They have not been formalized in that fashion for this particular study, but such an approach could prove fruitful. [15] Several new points can be made regarding the relationship of TC to IS as well. As Cohn pointed out, of the 223 scs, 137 have the TCproperty. Of these, only 60 are from dyadic TC (and thus appear on one of the lattices presented herein). The remaining 77 scs get their TCproperty from nondyadic TC. Thus, dyadic TC does not generate even half of the total scs that possess the TCproperty. However, of the 94 scs with IS, close to twothirds are fully factorable. Moreover, all but five of the scs with both TC and IS are present on the lattices (when we include the six dyads themselves). Further, the dyadic TC lattices include all of the scs Cohn cited as being important for Bartók analysis, including the interval cycles, the “x” and “z” cells, and the chromatic, diatonic, wholetone, and octatonic collections. But the role of dyadic TC goes beyond that. In addition to collections important to Bartók, we can add all six of the allcombinatorial hexachords, which of course includes the hexatonic collection, 620. These insights seem to suggest that while TC in general is indeed an important complement to IS, dyadic TC in particular warrants our closest attention.^{(13)}
Donald G. Traut Works CitedCohn, Richard. 1987. “Transpositional Combination in TwentiethCentury Music.” Ph.D. dissertation, Eastman School of Music. Cohn, Richard. 1987. “Transpositional Combination in TwentiethCentury Music.” Ph.D. dissertation, Eastman School of Music. Cohn, Richard. 1988. “Inversional Symmetry and Transpositional Combination in Bartók.” Music Theory Spectrum 10: 19–42. —————. 1988. “Inversional Symmetry and Transpositional Combination in Bartók.” Music Theory Spectrum 10: 19–42. Cohn, Richard. 1991. “Bartók’s Octatonic Strategies: A Motivic Approach.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 44/2: 262–300. —————. 1991. “Bartók’s Octatonic Strategies: A Motivic Approach.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 44/2: 262–300. McFarland, Mark. 2005. “Transpositional Combination and Aggregate Formation in Debussy.” Music Theory Spectrum 27/2: 187–220. McFarland, Mark. 2005. “Transpositional Combination and Aggregate Formation in Debussy.” Music Theory Spectrum 27/2: 187–220. Morris, Robert D. 2001. Class Notes for Advanced Atonal Music Theory. Lebanon, NH: Frog Peak Music. Morris, Robert D. 2001. Class Notes for Advanced Atonal Music Theory. Lebanon, NH: Frog Peak Music. Scotto, Ciro G. 2002. “Transformational Networks, Transpositional Combination, and Aggregate Partitions in Processional by George Crumb.” Music Theory Online 8/3: 1–15. Scotto, Ciro G. 2002. “Transformational Networks, Transpositional Combination, and Aggregate Partitions in Processional by George Crumb.” Music Theory Online 8/3: 1–15. Footnotes1. These categories are defined on pp. 94–99 of Cohn 1987. 2. The curious reader can refer to Appendix 4 of Cohn’s dissertation, which lists all possible TC derivations for all 137 scs with the TCproperty. 3. While the first two TC operations are easily followed on Lattice 6, the final one is not shown on the lattice due to the pruning process. 4. Many thanks to Aaron Templin, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, for bringing this passage to my attention. For other analyses involving TC and Crumb, see Scotto 2002. 5. Again, the motion from 61 to 91 and from 91 to 121 is not represented in the lattice due to the pruning process. Still, it should be clear that TC 3 generates those paths. 6. This is obviously not entirely unusual. There are several complement pairs where one member is fully factorable and the other is not. Conversely, there are a few scs that map directly to their complement by some TC operation. These are indicated with an asterisk (*). 7. This certainly overlaps with Cohn’s observations about the “fertility” of the octatonic collection. See Cohn 1991. 8. In his dissertation, Cohn listed these “fullyfactorable” scs in Table IV of Appendix 6 on p. 616. 9. The 17 sets listed here are all included on Cohn’s complete list of prime scs, found on p. 616 of his dissertation. 10. The 11 sets listed here are all included on Cohn’s complete list of semifactorable scs, found on
p. 616 of his dissertation. However, the careful reader will notice that, when added to the 60 collections generated by the lattices, the total number of scs with both TC and IS comes to 71, a slight difference from Cohn’s total of 72 cited above. 11. The curious reader can refer to Appendix 4 of Cohn’s dissertation, which lists all possible TC derivations for all 137 scs with the TCproperty. 12. While some of the operations that lead from (036) to the nonachords fell prey to the pruning process and do not appear explicity on the (03) lattice, a quick study of the five nonachords reveals this statement’s validity. 13. I would like to thank Bob Morris, Evan Jones, Matthew Shaftel, and the anonymous readers for their helpful comments. These categories are defined on pp. 94–99 of Cohn 1987. The curious reader can refer to Appendix 4 of Cohn’s dissertation, which lists all possible TC derivations for all 137 scs with the TCproperty. While the first two TC operations are easily followed on Lattice 6, the final one is not shown on the lattice due to the pruning process. Many thanks to Aaron Templin, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, for bringing this passage to my attention. For other analyses involving TC and Crumb, see Scotto 2002. Again, the motion from 61 to 91 and from 91 to 121 is not represented in the lattice due to the pruning process. Still, it should be clear that TC 3 generates those paths. This is obviously not entirely unusual. There are several complement pairs where one member is fully factorable and the other is not. Conversely, there are a few scs that map directly to their complement by some TC operation. These are indicated with an asterisk (*). This certainly overlaps with Cohn’s observations about the “fertility” of the octatonic collection. See Cohn 1991. In his dissertation, Cohn listed these “fullyfactorable” scs in Table IV of Appendix 6 on p. 616. The 17 sets listed here are all included on Cohn’s complete list of prime scs, found on p. 616 of his dissertation. The 11 sets listed here are all included on Cohn’s complete list of semifactorable scs, found on
p. 616 of his dissertation. However, the careful reader will notice that, when added to the 60 collections generated by the lattices, the total number of scs with both TC and IS comes to 71, a slight difference from Cohn’s total of 72 cited above. The curious reader can refer to Appendix 4 of Cohn’s dissertation, which lists all possible TC derivations for all 137 scs with the TCproperty. While some of the operations that lead from (036) to the nonachords fell prey to the pruning process and do not appear explicity on the (03) lattice, a quick study of the five nonachords reveals this statement’s validity. I would like to thank Bob Morris, Evan Jones, Matthew Shaftel, and the anonymous readers for their helpful comments.
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