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Contents

Music in the Early Twentieth Century

ATONALITY?

Chapter:
CHAPTER 6 Inner Occurrences (Transcendentalism, III)
Source:
MUSIC IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

These are the conditions under which music becomes, in a word that has become standard terminology over Schoenberg’s objections, “atonal.” Schoenberg objected to the word because its connotations were purely negative: merely to say what something is not is a far cry from saying what it is. He preferred to call his music “pantonal,” suggesting a single transcendent, all-encompassing tonality rather than the mere avoidance of custom, but the term failed to catch on. Other candidates that have been proposed over the years—”contextual,” “motivic”—have fared even less well. Like “Gregorian chant” and “English horn,” “atonal music” is one of those historically sanctioned misnomers we have to live with. Resigning ourselves to it, however, should not dull our perception of its inadequacy or its disadvantages.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 6 Inner Occurrences (Transcendentalism, III)." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2018. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-006007.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 6 Inner Occurrences (Transcendentalism, III). In Oxford University Press, Music in the Early Twentieth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 18 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-006007.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 6 Inner Occurrences (Transcendentalism, III)." In Music in the Early Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 18 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-006007.xml
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