Chapter 1
Romantic Anti-Romanticism

IN THE Harvard Dictionary of Music1 a surprising sentence heads an important paragraph. The sentence is surprising for it contains a statement of so subjective a nature that one might expect to find it in an aesthetic monograph but hardly in a work of reference otherwise so reliable and objective as is the Harvard Dictionary. The sentence reads: "New music is, briefly stated, anti-Romanticism."2 Indeed--as simple as that!

The statement is not only debatable but also inherently vague. First of all, the vast domain of "new music" (however this term be defined) cannot be interpreted as controlled by any single aesthetic impulse. Secondly, serious difficulties immediately arise when one proceeds to analyse what musical romanticism as an aesthetic category really implies. For the terms such as subjectivity, emotionalism, etc., by which it is usually explained, are no more than tautological slogans, problematic in themselves.

____________________
1
Harvard Dictionary of Music by Willi Apel, Harvard University Press, 1953.
2
That this generalization is not just a casual remark but the expression of a systematic aesthetic view can be shown by further quotations. Whoever is responsible for this segment of the Dictionary's definitions, certainly went too far when he stated (under "Expression"): "that among today's performers the most common fault is the application of a highly expressive treatment to non- Romantic music, such as . . . Beethoven." And further: "In view of all these tendencies nothing seems to be more important for the student than to learn to play without expression. Only the student who has learned to play Bach Chromatic Fantasia or Beethoven Appassionata in the most rigid way will be able to add that amount of nuances and shades which these works properly require." Ideas like these are not only out of date as they represent, at best, a reiteration of some aesthetic tenets of a quarter of a century ago, but they were in fact even then not more than faddish, theoretical formulations which no performer of rank ever followed.

-143-

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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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