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Welcome to Atonal, somewhere to explore the atonality of life.

Atonality – what is it?

Atonality in its broadest sense is music that lacks a tonal centre, or key…. More narrowly, the term atonality describes music that does not conform to the system of tonal hierarchies that characterized classical European music between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries (Lansky, Perle, and Headlam 2001).

Atonality is a term which I have latched onto unconsciously for the longest time.  I’d always been attracted to contemporary classical music and remember the emotional, sensory and auditory rollercoaster I went on when I first listened to Bartok’s Mikrokosmos.  I remember sitting in a music lesson at school in around Year 10 and the music teacher playing this to us.  It drove into the very heart of me and I couldn’t get enough of it.  Almost 30 years later, I have reengaged with that score and am attempting to play this on the piano, but that may take just as long to perfect!  What that exposure to 20th Century classical music did for me though was to open a new door into music that connected my sense of difference in a musical way.  It seemed to exemplify the disc(h)ord of my difference, personify that juxtaposition between the ‘norm’ and the ‘other’.  This was all before I was consciously thinking about my experience and definitely way before I was even aware that racial tension had any place in my life.  That emerged with the onslaught of Brexit.  

 Atonal thoughts

This page is dedicated to exploring the ideas of being in the position of being ‘othered’.  These are often positions that are difficult to understand, even by those who are people of colour themselves.  Understanding that the systems that we currently exist in are built and sustained in order to maintain the status quo can be difficult to grasp if you have little lived experience of this.  Perhaps, in sharing my own experiences and those who have had similar experiences, people who have had the privilege of never experiencing disadvantage because of the colour of their skin can start to open their eyes to a different way of living.   

Atonal Lives

In the blog section, there is a running commentary of experiences I have thought about either that have happened recently or I have recently understood because of my awakening, even if the event itself happened in the past.  Some of the thinking I have yet to do is about generational trauma when it comes to the experience of moving to a colonial island from a colonised island against a backdrop of political and economic drama.  Picking apart my journey through history to this point will undoubtedly reveal how colonialism had a traumatic impact through the generations and how that has been impressed on me.  This is new territory for me who always felt the privilege of having a middle class upbringing in suburbia in West London.  Despite multiculturism pushing at the boundaries of my hometown at the time of growing up, I managed to maintain an almost exclusively white upbringing thanks to attendance at 4 state schools in my time (2 state and 2 independent).  The blogs allow me to cathartically explore what those ideas and revelations mean for my current existence and how they have impacted on how I process the world around me.