All three were extremely sensitive to unusual, subtle tone color. Avoiding the mass effects of the late romantic orchestra, they sought sounds at the top and bottom of instrumental ranges and were fascinated by flutter tonguing and mutes for the brass instruments, as well as harmonies and glissandos for the strings. Instruments such as the celesta and xylophone were raised to positions of great importance.
This extreme sensitivity to tone color as well as the fragmentary quality of their melodies and the freedom with which they treated dissonances make for interesting points of contact with the music of Debussy. The French composer is objective and cool, while these composers are subjective and burning, but the sound worlds they inhabit are not totally disassociated. Most of the composers of the time were faced with the problem of writing music without the structure provided by major-minor tonality. It is not surprising that their various solutions were similar at times.
The bibliography of Schoenberg will be found at the end of Chapter X, and that of Berg and Webern in Chapter XI.