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Post-Tonal Affinities in Piano Works of Bartók, Chen, and Crumb


Monica Kang

The book explores cellular pivots as a new means of progression, functional tonality having disappeared in much of contemporary music. Béla Bartók can be seen as a kind of father figure to the other two composers, Chen Yi and George Crumb, in terms of their stylistic, technical, and even philosophical connections. The musical affinities of all three composers reflect a larger body of post-tonal music. Cell constructions and their pivotal motions span the gamut from traditional/asymmetrical to more abstract/symmetrical formations. This study provides insight into universal principles of the post-tonal era and reveals a broader evolution of the musical language as represented by the three composers.
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Antokoletz, Elliott. “From ‘Folksong Arrangement’ to ‘Composing with Folk Tunes’ in Bartók’s Eight Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20, and his move toward greater abstraction in the Three Etudes, Op. 18”. In “Béla Bartók: Colloque Genève et Lausanne 102 décembre 2006”, Annales Suisses de Musicologie, Nouvelle Serie 27 (2007): 63–85.

–. The Music of Béla Bartók: A Study of Tonality and Progression in Twentieth-Century Music. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.

–. The Musical Language of the Twentieth Century: The Discovery of a Missing Link: The Music of Georg von Albrecht. Sources and Studies in Music History from Antiquity to the Present 43. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2012.

–. Musical Symbolism in the Operas of Debussy and Bartók: Trauma, Gender, and the Unfolding of the Unconscious. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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