Chapter 1
Bitonality and Polytonality

ATONALITY AND TWELVE-TONE COMPOSITION characterize only a specific and fairly small part of the creative output through which the recent musical evolution has manifested itself. A great number of composers did not wish to express themselves in atonal structures but took over and further developed that new concept of tonality which Debussy had initiated. This remark, however, should by no means be interpreted to signify that the composers outside the atonal and twelve-tone camp were simply imitators of Debussy's style and idiom. It is meant merely to imply that they followed, consciously or instinctively, the direction to which Debussy had pointed in his endeavour to change that state of harmonic tonality which had characterized the classical period.

The search for a new musical style was not carried on solely by the two great antipodes, Debussy and Schoenberg. There were a few others who, though their influence did not prove so far-reaching, nevertheless contributed greatly to the evolution. One eminent figure in this respect, already mentioned in our deductions, was Alexander Scriabin. Scriabin's artistic path was somewhat blocked by inner and outer obstacles. His aesthetic vision and the practical realization of his musical ideas were not as balanced, clear and unified as were those of Debussy, nor as definite, bold and revolutionary as Schoenberg's work. Yet Scriabin's influence on both of these composers and on the whole musical world cannot be overlooked. Though his talents were somewhat dissipated, he was still more than a mere experimenter. In some of his most mature works he developed musical structures of real strength and beauty which have not yet been fully exploited. In the present intensified search for the origins of the new musical style Scriabin's music may still experience a revival

-77-

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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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