On the Will of Tones

Evan Williams
6 min

On the Will of Tones is based on Schenkerian analysis, the analytical technique created by Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935), which seeks to break musical works down to their fundamental structures. Through this analysis, Schenker found that many of the works of the musical Common Practice have similar fundamental structures, therefore similar constructions, and predictable outcomes, despite how radically different each piece and composer may seem.

For generations, music theorists have been distilling musical works into comprehensible analyses. On the Will of Tones reverses the process, using Schenker's first major work, Der Tonwille (The Will of the Tones) as its template. The harmonic and motivic material of the piece is derived from the analyzed works by Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and others.

On the Will of Tones was written for my friend Sarah Puckett.