Understanding atonality and 20th century composers
MusicWords - What is Atonality and Tonality
The Difference Between Tonal & Atonal Music : Piano & Music Tips
What is Atonality? Atonality Part 1
Tonal vs. Atonal Piano Music
Atonality in its broadest sense is music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality, in this sense, usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale function independently of one another. More narrowly, the term atonality describes music that does not conform to the system of tonal hierarchies that characterized classical European music between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. "The repertory of atonal music is characterized by the occurrence of pitches in novel combinations, as well as by the occurrence of familiar pitch combinations in unfamiliar environments".
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