The Problem Summarized

AROUND THE TURN OF THE CENTURY the physical sciences, as is generally known, underwent an extraordinary change. Alfred North Whitehead, for instance, speaks repeatedly of the tremendous impression this great and almost sudden change made on his mind and views. About 1880 the laws of physics, as they were known then, seemed to represent something like an eternal truth, definitely established for all time. What remained to be done, said Whitehead, seemed to be merely the co-ordinating of a few newly discovered phenomena with the basic Newtonian principles. Then "by the middle of the 1890's there were a few tremors, a slight shiver as of all not being quite secure, but no one sensed what was coming. By 1900 the Newtonian physics were demolished, done for!"1 However, even if the actual force of the old laws seemed to have vanished, their usefulness and validity within their own realm did not by any means disappear entirely. In fact, one main goal of modern physics seems to be centred on the endeavour to comprise and unify the old and new principles in one all-comprehensive law or formula.

The whole process, which is especially conspicuous in physics due to the paramount importance physical discoveries have assumed with regard to our material way of life, can also be observed in many other spheres, for instance in the psychological, the social and the political domain, and even in the arts, and particularly in music.

It is well known, not only to the musician but to every musical listener, that the whole set of principles which lay, consciously or instinctively, at the basis of all music from the so-called classic and romantic period (roughly speaking the period from Bach to Brahms and Wagner) began to crumble, as far as the compositional practice was concerned, in the 1880's or 90's. Consequently, the music of

____________________
1
Lucien Price, Dialogues with Alfred North Whitehead, Little Brown, 1954.

-17-

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Tonality in Modern Music
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • About the Author 1
  • Title Page 3
  • Author's Preface 7
  • Contents 9
  • Title Page 11
  • Twelve-Tone or Twelve-Note 13
  • The Problem Summarized 17
  • Part One - Tonality 23
  • Chapter 1 - Harmonic Tonality 25
  • Chapter 2 - Melodic Tonality 32
  • Chapter 3 - The Tonality of Debussy 36
  • Part Two - Atonality 49
  • Chapter 1 - Schoenberg's Search For a Now Style 51
  • Chapter 2 - Composition With Twelve Tones 60
  • Chapter 3 - Twelve-Tone Technique In Evolution 67
  • Part Three - Pantonality 75
  • Chapter 1 - Bitonality and Polytonality 77
  • Chapter 2 - Fluctuating Harmonies 80
  • Chapter 3 - Specific Facets Of Pantonality 88
  • Chapter 4 - The Role of Pantonality As a General Synthesis 127
  • Aesthetic Epilogue 141
  • Chapter 1 - Romantic Anti-Romanticism 143
  • Chapter 2 - Each Time Engenders Its Art--Art Generates the Time 147
  • Musical Illustrations 153
  • Acknowledgments 185
  • Index 187
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