The Structure of Atonal Music

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Allen Forte

View Inside Format: Paper
Price: $28.00
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“For some years now, a group of American composers and theorists including Babbitt, Teitelbaum, Martino, and Lewin, have been elaborating mathematically based procedures for the analysis of pitch structures in atonal music.  In this book, Allen Forte expands the results of their work into a comprehensive theoretical survey illustrated with examples from a wide range of composers.”—Times Higher Education Supplement
“An attempt to ‘provide a general theoretical framework’ for the description and analysis of musical pitch-structures that resist interpretation in terms of conventional tonal or 12-note serial systems…. Not the least achievement of this book may be to establish the limits for a positive meaning for atonality…. Forte always moves forward with elegant clarity, explaining even quite conventional terms and illustrating his points with directness and care.”—The Musical Times 

"An attempt to lay the foundation of a consistent theory and nomenclature of chromatic music. . . . Forte achieves a clarity and consistency which is intensely refreshing."—Composer

"So excellent in its purpose is the new book by Allen Forte, so consistently high-minded in approach and unashamedly serious in tone, so thorough in execution and profound in its implications, that I scarcely hesitate before placing it in what is indeed a very select company. . . . The Structure of Atonal Music can only be seen as a remarkable achievement."—Perspectives in New Music

"An attempt to 'provide a general theoretical framework' for the description and analysis of musical pitch-structures that resist interpretation in terms of conventional tonal or 12-note serial systems. The diversity of such music has led to confusion in the definition of 'atonality': for Forte the repertory is based on the compositions produced by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern between 1908 and 1923, but he also quotes extensively from the contemporary works of Stravinsky and takes examples from Skryabin, Ives and others. Not the least achievement of this book may be to establish the limits for a positive meaning for atonality. . . . Forte always moves forward with elegant clarity, explaining even quite conventional terms and illustrating his points with directness and care."—The Musical Times

"The book provides us with a general theoretical framework for systematic and comprehensive examinations of atonal and related works. It is obviously a 'must' for a true understanding of contemporary music and, needless to say, of particular value to composers and theorists."—Chou Wen-chung

"Succulent prime beef for musicologists, painstakingly prepared and served."—Music Journal

“For some years now, a group of American composers and theorists including Babbitt, Teitelbaum, Martino, and Lewin, have been elaborating mathematically based procedures for the analysis of pitch structures in atonal music.  In this book, Allen Forte expands the results of their work into a comprehensive theoretical survey illustrated with examples from a wide range of composers.”—Times Higher Education Supplement
ISBN: 9780300021202
Publication Date: September 10, 1977
240 pages, 7 x 10