One of the worst ideas in classical music (the other being minimalism), serialism takes the most mechanical form of atonality, dodecaphony and bases not just pitches, but dynamics, register, and rhythm on rows that the composer inverts and manipulates to create so-called music. It's like writing a book by taking a sentence and rearranging the letters into every possible way except the one that makes any sense.

The result is a chaotic, soulless mess that sounds like two cats clawing eachother to death. Serialism requires little real talent since no matter how you do it, the result will always sound the pretty much the same. It is not unreasonable to speculate that serialism was invented by composers who had no real ability or skill and needed a way to cover that fact up. Serialism is a disgrace to classical music and makes even rap sound great in comparison.
Only terrible composers like Pierre Boulez bother with serialism.
by Eddy1701 April 03, 2006

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Top Definition
By the Late Romantic period music had become so bad and so long that it was decided it was no longer to be left in the hands of people (prone to emotional outburst roughly akin to public masturbation), and the responsibility was to be passed to maths. This was because numbers don’t have feelings and are less likely to harbor delusions of grandeur.
"I just heard Gurre-Lieder, What the f*ck was that? That's a year of my life I'll never see again. Perhaps serialism will be shorter and make more sence"
by kiss my leitmotif May 15, 2009

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A pointlessly painful way for intellectuals to pretend that they can write so-called music. Enjoyed by people who, for instance, place bits of cow turd onto the end of a stick and hang it above their mantelpiece, asserting that it is a metaphor for existentialism in Barnsley.
Serialism is painful rubbish.
by Viola Tragic July 22, 2006

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It is something that the composers in the 20th century can think about.
It is something that has been studying in the music conservatory.
It is something that can be use as tool by composers.

You can replace it with "Something" when you think it might be "serialism". It works. Don't take a risk of being an idiot.
A: What is that music ?!?!?!
B: It is Serialism. Oh yeah, it sounds like Serialism.
A: Really?
C: No dude, it is Bach's Fugue in B minor.

or

A: What is that music ?!?!?!
B: It is something. Oh yeah, it sounds like something.
A: Oh yeah.
C: Right.
by DJ. ACID May 28, 2013

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