This nOde last updated May 13th, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
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Schoenberg, Arnold, 1874-1951,
Austrian composer. He became a U.S. citizen in 1941. Schoenberg revolutionized
modern music by establishing the 12-tone technique of SERIAL MUSIC as an
important organizational device. His early works, e.g., Verklärte
Nacht (1899), expanded WAGNER's and MAHLER's use of the chromatic scale.
His later works are highly contrapuntal. In 1908 he completely abandoned
TONALITY in a set of piano pieces and a song cycle. He first employed the
12-tone technique in a work in his Suite for Piano (1924). Schoenberg's
other compositions include two chamber SYMPHONIES (1906; 1906-40), a piano
CONCERTO (1942), various chamber works, and an unfinished opera, Moses
und Aron (1932-51), considered his masterpiece. He was also a teacher;
his students included Alban BERG and Anton von WEBERN.
"...If by tonality we mean loyalty to a tonic, or even preference for the tonic as the tonal centre to which all others are related, the concept of atonality (the absence of tonality) can be very meaningful. The basic issue is the quality of the relationship (or loyalty) to a tonic or any single tone. In classical Europe such a relationship in music paralleled the relationship of the people with their king, whose rule was religiously sanctioned by the convenient idea of "divine right." If tonality means the divine right of the tonic, then the rise of individualism in the Romantic era was bound to manifest in music as the breakdown of tonality. Liszt and Wagner became powerful agents in fostering such a process. Chromaticism was used by these composers not in a decorative sense as in Bach's "Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue"; it rather was meant to convey to a stolid, materialistic, and egocentric bourgeoisie the usually tragic consequences of asocial love and of longing for an elusive transcendence of biocultural patterns..."
error was to cling to the belief that rigid rules and patterns were needed
to replace the discarded tonality order. It was like substituting totalitarianism
for the divine right of kings. It meant replacing the attachment of a people
to a king and religion with a deliberate, computative structural order
enforced by the analytical and formalistic mind. It meant a change from
a collective cultural order to the artificial rule of an overly deliberate
and, to a large extent, fashion-inspired intellectual system. The psychocultural
ground of Schoenberg's atonalism and its complex procedures was the disintegration
of the Austro-Hungarian empire. His system can be related to the psychological
reductionism of Freud; and Jung's
psychology is not alien in practice, even if not in its deepest spirit,
to Neo-classicism. Jung actually promoted a freer, more individualised
and conscious return to the great aristocratic European tradition, especially
in its more esoteric aspects, gnosticism and alchemy)..."
"...The Viennese school of music from Mahler to Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern, is the musical expression (that word again!) of the breakdown of the European spirit in its Germanic aspect, and in Webern's music its almost total atomisation. ... In the more recent avant-garde music, however, a basically different trend is at work. It affects not only the outer form of music and the musical relationship between notes, but the *consciousness* seeking expression and communication in musical organisation. It is a revolutionary endeavour to find a new answer to the question "what is music *for*?"
"European music in the past gave to this question
three successive answers: the religious medieval answer, the Baroque/Classical
answer, and the Romantic and later Expressionistic answer. But the answer
given by the most genuine and deeply motivated avant-garde musicians has
an essentially non-European character, and the same can be said of at least
some aspects of recent popular music. It is the music of youths eagerly,
emotionally, and also tentatively and sometimes confusedly, seeking to
experience a process of Deconditioning. Such a process has been catalyzed
by Oriental philosophies and practices, and by the consciousness destructuring
effects of psychedelic
"Deconditioning and destructuring are, however, indications that a process of radical transformation is at work. What is occurring in music today is more crucial than the process that transformed church plainchant into the music of the fifteenth century and into the music of the classical era. What occurred some six centuries ago was an integral part of the evolution of the European culture. Today there are very strong indications that this culture and its prolongations in the Americas and elsewhere are disintegrating, perhaps much as the Roman Empire broke down 1500 years ago. Moreover, every other culture in the world is also disintegrating. A new planet-wide revival of creative spirit may therefore be taking place, a release of "seed ideas" which sooner or later may inspirit a radically new kind of musical as well as social organisation."
- Dane Rudhyar - _The Magic
Of Tone And The Art Of Music_
- _Shadrach_ MP3
Boys off of _Paul's Boutique_