Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Schoenberg on Emancipation and History

"The procedure [of the "atonal" school] is based upon my theory of 'the emancipation of the dissonance.' Dissonances, according to this theory, are merely more remote consonances in the series of overtones. Though the resemblance of the more remote overtones to the fundamental tone gradually diminishes, their comprehensibility is equal to the comprehensibility of the consonances. Thus to the ear of today their sense-interrupting effect has disappeared. Their emancipation is as justified as the emancipation of the minor third was in former times."

(Arnold Schoenberg, Structural Functions of Harmony, from "Apollonian Evaluation of a Dionysian Epoch".)

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