Chapter 3
The Tonality of Debussy

A POINT WHICH MUST be realized with regard to the foregoing explanations is that the example quoted from the Biblical Chant does not by any means represent an isolated, exceptional case. Rather a majority of old tunes, and not only Jewish tunes, were shaped according to this same concept of tonality so different from the later classical type. However, at the same time it should be understood that not all old tunes were shaped according to this principle. Every once in a while there emerge in old folklore, and especially in early popular European music, tunes pointing to a kind of modern major or minor key, with a clear intimation of a dominant and a leading note. Musicology, although referring to these facts, has unfortunately never gone thoroughly into that whole complex of problems. Confining itself in great part to an inquiry on scales, it has never examined in sufficient detail all the implications of tonality in old music. And by "tonality" we mean here that quasi-magnetic force through which a musical line is held together and made into a group of relationships between its single parts, which may revolve around each other or around some tonical centre. Such an examination would probably disclose various types of tonality, even beyond the two types indicated in our previous deductions.1

This whole question is of all the more interest today, as the Gregorian Chant (itself the source from which our own occidental music sprang) grew mainly from those old oriental tunes and perhaps their Mediterranean deriva-

____________________
1
Naturally, there have been quite a few inquiries about tonality in old folklore (for instance by Curt Sachs and others), but they invariably deal with "tonality" as a phenomenon resulting from tonic-dominant relationships, without taking into consideration the existence of several types of tonality, that is, tonality as described above as a "gravitational" form-building force.

-36-

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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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