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Contents

Music in the Early Twentieth Century

GIVING MUSIC AN AXIOMATIC BASIS

Chapter:
CHAPTER 12 In Search of Utopia
Source:
MUSIC IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

The strictness of Schoenberg’s adherence to the ordered twelve-note series in his compositional practice, and the consequent pervasiveness with which the series informed the musical substance thus created, elevated the series in Schoenberg’s usage to the status of a Grundgestalt, the “basic shape” or intervallic constellation that informs an entire composition down to its smallest details and gives it its “organic” motivic consistency. Indeed, the use of an exhaustive twelve-note series makes the Grundgestalt function, and the organic unity thus guaranteed, virtually automatic. And that, of course, was the great breakthrough, the “principle capable of serving as a rule,” which allowed the composition of large-scale, abstract, and autonomous atonal music of constant and at-all-times-demonstrable motivic coherence despite its renunciation of predefined tonal hierarchies, and despite its frequent “athematicism.”

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 In Search of Utopia." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 17 Jul. 2019. <https://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-012004.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 12 In Search of Utopia. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Early Twentieth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 17 Jul. 2019, from https://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-012004.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 In Search of Utopia." In Music in the Early Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 17 Jul. 2019, from https://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume4/actrade-9780195384840-div1-012004.xml
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