Sketch of Serial Composition Based on Phone Numbers and the Numerology of Full Names

The premise of this concept is quite simple.  The numbers of any telephone number can correspond to the notes that can be used for the musical composition.  The numbers 1-9 will determine the chord tone which the note will fall into (for example, 1 would be the root, 7 would be the 7th degree, and 9 would be the 9th degree, same as the 2nd but an octave above.  Now the tricky part would be designating the numeral 0 to a note.  So my proposal is to have 0 serve as a “wild card” number, meaning that 0 can represent any note that you choose. 

There are several ways we can approach the tonality of the piece.  If you want to go with a “pure” sound in the piece, you can strictly use the numbers to correspond with the notes, using no accidentals.  When I composed my Sudoku suite I decided to go with the less pure method and allow the use of accidentals, which gave me the choice of 3 notes instead of one.  This certainly made it easier for me to create more cohesive melodies.  When I start composing this piece I think that I will only allow for the use of accidentals if two of the same numbers appear next to each other in the phone number.   Even in this case only the 2nd number can carry the accidental.  When considering the register of the melody I will use the same method that I employed in the Sudoku suite which was to only allow octave displacement in the melody after the full phone number has been represented in the melody. 

The method that I am using to convert the letters of my name to notes to be used in the melody and bassline is also pretty straightforward.   Each number in the alphabet is assigned a number from 0-9. After 9 the next letter is assigned a 0 (for example i=9, and j=0).  I would also like to use the more “pure” method when assigning these letters to numbers to notes.      

This suite will also be a pretty big undertaking, but as I get “better” at this form of composition, I hope to be able to produce more music in shorter amounts of time.  For the PNFN (Phone Number Full Name) suite, I am sketching out 3 sets of songs per member.  The first set of songs will be built upon baselines that have tonal centers that correspond to the letters in my band members full names’ that are in the musical alphabet.  In my case, Jason Renard Palmer, the first cycle would involve the keys A,E,A,D,A, and E.  In this first set, which will correspond to the key of A will be in a flat key, Ab.  This set will feature phone numbers as the numbers available for the baseline and the numbers from the full names as numbers for the melody.  This method will continue for the remaining 5 keys, E, A, D, A, and E. 

The second set will follow the same pattern of tonal key centers A, E, A, D, A, and E, but they will be of the natural key (so the first set would be in the key of A natural).  The only difference here is that the baseline will be based on the numbers from the full names and the melodies will be based on the numbers from the phone numbers. 

The third set is a set that I haven’t quiet solidified yet, but I know that I would like the melody to come from all of the numbers from the phone numbers and the full names.  The baselines will also be coming from the tonal key center set, but they will be in a sharp key.  I just haven’t devised a meaningful numberset for this part and I’m not quite sure if I need to or want to. 


Thank you for reading all of this.  The fact that you have taken the time to read this proves that there are people out here/there that are interested/concerned with creativity within the music.  I plan on making this suite one of the grooviest things that you’ll ever hear, so don’t think because it’s based on numbers that it’s a total head game.  The big challenge for me will be setting rhythm to the tunes in this suite and I welcome this.






One Response to “Sketch of Serial Composition Based on Phone Numbers and the Numerology of Full Names”

  1. Chris klaxton Says:

    Very cool Jason. Looking forward to hearing it!

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