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in music, the simultaneous use of different tonalities or keys. Bitonality—the use of two different tonalities —is the most common type of polytonality.

In practice, two monotonal lines with independent functional systems and cadences are rarely combined. As a rule, polytonality means the simultaneous use only of the chords of different tonalities. The classic example, the “Petrushka chord” in Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka, combines the tonic of C major and that of F sharp major. Like other chords of this type, the Petrushka chord is strongly dissonant and dramatic. It is used as the “leading harmony” with which Petrushka is identified. Polytonality, one of the elements of the contemporary modal-harmonic system, has been widely used by D. Milhaud, B. Bartok, and other 20th-century composers.


References in periodicals archive ?
In Example 5, this concept is shown in a piece by Robert Starer entitled Black and White, which places the bitonality directly in the key signature.
131, Open the door, features bitonality most of the time: the right hand in D major, the left hand in B minor/major and G major.
Bitonality abounds with shades of chordal modulations reminiscent of the first movement of Falla's Concerto.
In the other, Daniel Harrison attempts to elevate the theory and analysis of bitonality to a new level of sophistication.
Despite the frequent use of parallel harmonies, often moving chromatically, expanded sonorities (seventh and ninth chords), persistent pedals and drones and short passages of bitonality, created by the frequent discrepancy between the tropos of the folk melody and the accompaniment, the cadences of each movement clearly are linked to the underlying tropos.
The Agnus Dei, for piano and strings only, opens with the D/A fifth of the Introitus and contains some of the most lyric writing of the work, full of sumptuous bitonality and singing lines.
From Greene's collection, "Waltz for a Distracted Sole" features bitonality and surprising meter changes within a traditional waltz context.
The harmony of the Ouverture is predominantly tonal, seasoned with bitonality and quartal harmony.
There is also discussion on layering textures through the use of bichords, bitonality, and polymodality, often closely related to folk elements.