Schoenberg's Transformation of Musical Language
Arnold Schoenberg is widely regarded as one of the most significant and innovative composers of the twentieth century. It is commonly assumed that Schoenberg's music divides into three periods: tonal, atonal, and serial. It is also assumed that Schoenberg's atonal music made a revolutionary break with the past, particularly in terms of harmonic structure. This book challenges both these popular notions. Haimo argues that Schoenberg's 'atonal' music does not constitute a distinct unified period. He demonstrates that much of the music commonly described as 'atonal' did not make a complete break with prior practices, even in the harmonic realm, but instead transformed the past by a series of incremental changes. An important and influential contribution to the field, Haimo's findings help not only to re-evaluate Schoenberg, but also to re-date much of what has been defined as one of the most crucial turning points in music history.
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