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Thread: I know of another reason why Schoenberg objected to the term "atonality"

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    Default I know of another reason why Schoenberg objected to the term "atonality"

    I know of another reason why Schoenberg objected to the term "atonality," but nobody has ever mentioned it.

    Does anyone know the reason I'm referring to? It seems like a perfect reason to me, and for me, at least, it explains everything.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-29-2016 at 23:43.

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    Because it's nonsense?

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    No, and before I reveal what it is, let's give the thread some time to attract those who might know, or have some ideas on this. It's a very simple reason, which has next to nothing to do with whether the term is nonsensical or not, and everything to do with human nature.

    If Mahlerian knows, due to his encyclopedic knowledge of music, it will also require him to be much more specific in his reasoning. I want details.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-29-2016 at 22:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    If Mahlerian knows, due to his encyclopedic knowledge of music, it will also require him to be much more specific in his reasoning. I want details.
    I've explained my reasoning before, and people on this forum persist in not understanding it.

    As the terms are normally understood, atonality is either not meant literally (as usually in academic texts) or it is self-contradictory.

    It would be much more helpful to understanding if we talked about what is actually going on in the music harmonically and melodically without appealing to concepts like atonality. In my years here, the number of extended discussions about Schoenberg's actual music, and not irrelevant ideas like atonality, can be counted on one hand.

    Imagine, we could treat his music like...music!
    Last edited by Mahlerian; Jul-29-2016 at 22:47.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    I've explained my reasoning before, and people on this forum persist in not understanding it.

    As the terms are normally understood, atonality is either not meant literally (as usually in academic texts) or it is self-contradictory.

    It would be much more helpful to understanding if we talked about what is actually going on in the music harmonically and melodically without appealing to concepts like atonality. In my years here, the number of extended discussions about Schoenberg's actual music, and not irrelevant ideas like atonality, can be counted on one hand.

    Imagine, we could treat his music like...music!
    No, no, this has nothing to do with any of that. You're not even close.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    If you write the word "atonal" twice, it has 13 letters counting the space between the two words. There.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    I've explained my reasoning before, and people on this forum persist in not understanding it.
    That's not our fault. Maybe you are not communicating the idea well enough.

    As the terms are normally understood, atonality is either not meant literally (as usually in academic texts)…
    If these texts you refer to do not mean the term 'literally,' you must think that 'atonal' refers simplistically to 'tone' as a sound, a pitch, or a timbre. This is a mistaken notion.

    ...or it is self-contradictory.
    I think I see the distinction you are making. Not taking the term 'tone' 'literally' is not the mistake texts are making, because they are not taking 'tone' out of context; they are referring to 'tonality' as a system, not 'tone' as a sound.

    'Self contradictory,' would be extracting the term 'tone' from 'atonal' and interpreting it literally, as in 'a sound.' You should not extract the term "tone" from 'atonal' in this literal way, because 'tonal' is the keyword which refers to an hierarchical system.

    Not 'tone' as a sound, but 'tonal' as in 'atonal,' which is a system of music which is not using the tonal hierarchy.

    You are misreading the term 'tone,' and your rebuttal on those grounds, that it is contradictory, only makes sense if you are taking the word 'tonal' to mean 'a sound,' 'a pitch,' 'a timbre,' or 'muscle-tone.'

    It would be much more helpful to understanding if we talked about what is actually going on in the music harmonically and melodically without appealing to concepts like atonality. In my years here, the number of extended discussions about Schoenberg's actual music, and not irrelevant ideas like atonality, can be counted on one hand.
    The texts you refer to ARE talking about 'what is actually going on in the music harmonically and melodically.' They are using it to identify a certain system of composition.

    Imagine, we could treat his music like...music!
    I gather from this that you think 'atonal' ALSO means 'unmusical' or 'not music.' Please define what you think the 'mistake' is. Now you are adding a new meaning to it, which has resonances which go beyond 'sound' as a tone.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-29-2016 at 23:33.

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    BTW, my secret reason has nothing to do with any of this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    If you write the word "atonal" twice, it has 13 letters counting the space between the two words. There.
    Ken, I will do you the rare honor of actually recognizing your existence as a 'person', because I think you might be the only person here who could even get close to the answer. This is judging from your past postings and general knowledge of music history.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-29-2016 at 23:36.

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    BTW, it's just 'another reason,' as I said in the opening post. There is no guarantee that anyone will agree or disagree with it; but I do think it is a key bit of information that has been left out of this long, long debate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    IImagine, we could treat his music like...music!
    That'd be the day!!

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    Could it be his triskaidekaphobia?
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    See? I'm misunderstood once again. Obviously I didn't mean tone in the sense you're talking about. I'm perfectly aware that you mean "tonal" as in a system of tonality.

    The thing is, if you try to make atonal mean "not tonal," it's either in relation to a very specific, restricted sense of tonality or it's going to be self-contradictory. That's what I've been saying this whole time and if you don't understand it by now, I really wonder what you HAVE been reading from my posts.

    Also, I meant "discussing it as music, rather than as some theoretical abstraction or demonstrative of some technique." You know, the way we discuss any other music without all this recourse to talking about how it was put together. That latter isn't really important to Schoenberg's music compared to the actual music itself, which is so vital, so lyrical and expressive. Techniques and theories are pointless in the face of art.
    Last edited by Mahlerian; Jul-30-2016 at 00:07.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    I've explained my reasoning before, and people on this forum persist in not understanding it.

    As the terms are normally understood, atonality is either not meant literally (as usually in academic texts) or it is self-contradictory.

    It would be much more helpful to understanding if we talked about what is actually going on in the music harmonically and melodically without appealing to concepts like atonality. In my years here, the number of extended discussions about Schoenberg's actual music, and not irrelevant ideas like atonality, can be counted on one hand.

    Imagine, we could treat his music like...music!
    We understand. Some of us just think you are wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    We understand. Some of us just think you are wrong.
    But you yourself were saying that there were things you considered neither tonal nor atonal. Surely then atonal means more than simply its literal connotation for you.

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