Chapter 4
The Role of Pantonality as a General Synthesis

IN THE FOREGOING DEDUCTIONS we tried, first through direct description, later by more indirect methods, to develop a picture of the types of compositional formation which we have included under the term pantonality. Yet in spite of our endeavour to view the problem from all possible angles, there may, even in the minds of those readers who followed our explanations with some interest, have remained a slight feeling that the core of our thesis, i.e., the technical nature of pantonality, was not delineated in sufficiently concrete terms. Compared to the way, for instance, in which the idea of twelve-tone composition was introduced into music, complete with an exact set of rules, the concept of pantonality as here described may seem to be of a somewhat generalized, almost indefinite character.

Such objections, however, though they may seem justified in point of fact, are nevertheless based on false premises. Quite apart from the fact that this writer would certainly not feel himself authorized to issue rules for a new method of composing, the two conceptions are of an incommensurable nature. "Composition with twelve tones" refers to a technique, i.e., a compositional category perhaps somewhat comparable--though the comparison is only partially applicable--to the fugal technique. Pantonality, on the other hand, is a general compositional concept, as is tonality or atonality. It cannot be defined by a rigid scheme or by a set of rules, but can be made comprehensible only by describing its nature and effect, by examining its divers facets and qualities. Pantonality remains a tendency, an approximation, as were tonality and atonality. There was never absolute tonality demonstrable in any musical composition, nor absolute atonality; they are but concepts, as is pantonality--yet by virtue of being

-127-

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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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