Definition of serialism in English:



mass nounMusic
  • A compositional technique in which a fixed series of notes, especially the twelve notes of the chromatic scale, are used to generate the harmonic and melodic basis of a piece and are subject to change only in specific ways. The first fully serial movements appeared in 1923 in works by Arnold Schoenberg.

    See also twelve-note
    • ‘These composers returned to Korea with contemporary Western compositional styles, techniques including serialism and genres including electronic and computer music.’
    • ‘Although he was greatly influenced by his teacher's 12-note method he adopted a freer version of serialism, and some of his techniques deviate from Schoenberg's principles.’
    • ‘This work, written in 1975, is closely derived from the slow movement of Rochberg's Third String Quartet - an important signpost in the composer's movement away from serialism.’
    • ‘He had bequeathed an enormous legacy, and had cast a great influence over 20th century music, with many composers having at least experimented with note rows and serialism even if they were not totally immersed in these techniques.’
    • ‘At the same time he was rapidly developing his musical style on the basis of Schoenberg's serialism, the rhythmic methods of Stravinsky and Messiaen, and Webern's tightly integrated approach to composition.’