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Posted by the_blue_note 
May 15, 2013 10:50PM
Hi to all,
I'm trying to understand what is meant in music with the word "Pandiatonicism". Most of the definitions I've encountered are negative (i.e. , what it is NOT: not impressionism, not polytonality, not 12-tone, etc.), but I'm not quite sure what it IS. Apart from that, I'm also looking for musical pieces that use that technique (so I can eventually decide for myself what it is ;)), but again, it seems that Appalachian Spring is the only piece written that way :).
My findings so far are:
-Pandiatonicism uses the diatonic scale
-It does not use chromaticism
-Uses Non-triadic voicings and open voicings. (something like modal jazz??)

Any ideas are very welcome.
Thanks a lot for reading this and (hopefully) replying
Re: Pandiatonicism
May 16, 2013 07:16PM
I believe it's where all notes of a scale are given pretty much equal importance. So, the chord hierarchy (tonic, predominant, dominant) is tossed away. Instead of using triads, which are still totally okay, you can create your own chords made from mixed intervals (ex. C-F-G-B-A, C-D-E-F, etc.). I asked a similar question a couple years ago that Stevel answered really well. An example of pandiatonicism is in Persichetti's Pageant.

Because you lose the chord hierarchy, you'll need to distinguish different phrases of music without harmonic cadences. That is, you'll probably use rhythm and contour to begin and end phrases.

Re: Pandiatonicism
May 16, 2013 09:00PM
thanks for the answer... And yes, I should have used the search engine!! Sorry for that! I'm reading that post right now. In the meantime, I'm listening to Persichetti's work... Really cool! Do you recommend me some other pieces in that style?
Thanks a lot!!`
Re: Pandiatonicism
May 17, 2013 05:33PM
Sure - Ravel's tombeau de couperin uses it in a really cool way, as does most of John Adam's music. There's also a really cool piece by Mosolov called The Iron Foundry that is pandiatonic.

A lot of the composers mentioned here use pandiatoncism extensively.

Re: Pandiatonicism
May 18, 2013 03:05AM
the_blue_note Wrote:
not impressionism,

could be.

> polytonality,

Polytonality implies 2 or more simultaneously sounding keys. It is possible the keys being established could be using pandaitonic elements.

not 12-tone, etc.)

well, no.

, but I'm not
> quite sure what it IS.

It is, as Tyler has said, pretty much using all of the notes of the diatonic scale "equally". Although maybe a better way to say it is, Pandiatonicism eschews functionality both harmonically and melodically, while still using the diatonic notes (generally only) to establish a key are (typically, not always).

It is, more a method of writing - a compositional technique. When you say it's "not impressionism" I'd say that Impressionism is a style, not a technique. You could use Pandiatonicism or Chromaticism to write impressionistically for example.

Apart from that, I'm also
> looking for musical pieces that use that technique
> (so I can eventually decide for myself what it is
> ;)), but again, it seems that Appalachian Spring
> is the only piece written that way :).

Really, a lot of 20th century music is Pandiatonic. Applying the definition loosely, really most contemporary popular music is Pandiatonic, or at least has Pandiatonic elements. In essence, if you look at "modern" music that's not chromatic, it's probably, after 1900, Pandiatonic (or at least contains major elements of it).

> My findings so far are:
> -Pandiatonicism uses the diatonic scale

Yes. We could say there's also "Panmodality" where a mode is the basis for the piece but the word is used in this context too - "diatonic" in that case meaning "notes of the mode".

> -It does not use chromaticism

True. but a piece could be largely pandiatonic with a few little chromatic things here and there.

> -Uses Non-triadic voicings and open voicings.

Not at all. It could be triads, though more often you see what's called "added note harmony" where you get structures like Cadd2, Cadd4 and even Csus2sus4, etc. Not necessarily open voicings either.

Generally, when using basic triads, pandiatonic music uses melody notes that "don't go with" the harmony - that is to say, while chord tones will be used, there is no real concern whether chord tones are non chord tones are used. Non-chord tones aren't treated in traditional ways - they're used freely (which is one of the things that makes a lot of jazz and contemporary pop music pandiatonic-esque).

I think Tyler's already pointed you towards a lot of good pieces.
Re: Pandiatonicism
May 19, 2013 03:28AM
I need to fix a mistake - I said that Mosolov's Iron Foundry was pandiatonic. I'm listening to it now and I was way off. I was going by my (apparently horrible) memory of the piece.
It's still interesting though: different sections of the orchestra are given individual modalities and play mechanical, repetitive figures; just like a machine.


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