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twelve-tone music (twelve-note music) Serial music in which the series contains all twelve notes of the chromatic scale. Its introduction, in the early 20th century, is credited to Arnold Schoenberg. This method of composition relies not on the principle of tonality, in which the tonic or keynote is the focal centre, but on the relationship between the twelve notes of the chromatic scale. The composer selects the order in which the notes are to be played and the resultant sequence is manipulated throughout the composition. Many composers have experimented with twelve-note music; these include Anton Webern, Alban Berg, and Hans Werner Henze.
twelve-tone music: see serial music.