(redirected from Bitonality)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Grand Waltz Macabre sets the scene for the gruesome vocal line that uses the motif (F-F#-D-D#, the pattern recurring at various pitches) in bitonality against the piano.
Another of Ravel's techniques that was widely used in the 20th-century is bitonality or polytonality: the "simultaneous use of two or more keys." (5) Note the clear example of bitonality in the first movement of Concerto in G where Ravel writes an arpeggiated passage with the right hand in A minor and the left in A major.
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.
The bitonality lends an atmosphere of the mystery surrounding the relationship.
This collection contains exciting contemporary pieces (solos and duets) by seven leading FJH composers that will open up a world of new sounds through bitonality, chromaticism, jazz harmonies, mixed meters, ostinato patterns, whole tone scales, aleatoric writing and unique pedal effects.
Characteristics of Moross's music include syncopation, gapped scales (often pentatonic, showing the influence of folk song), "blue" notes, modal harmony, melodic sequence, a pronounced symmetry of phrasing, rhythmic ostinato, and occasional dissonance, even bitonality. (15) His orchestration, progressive for its time, included exotic percussion instruments, trap set, muted brass (cup, harmon, and wah-wah mutes), vibraphone, etc., but his harmonic language is often closer to musical theater than to concert repertoire.
Inevitably we are reminded of other creators: Tippett, Schreker, Mozart of Die Zauberflote in the psychological subtext; Holst for the liberating bitonality so expressive of emotional release; Richard Strauss for the combination of straightforward diaton icism and alluring chromaticism, for the climactic voluptuaries' dance straight out of Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils, and for the Nietzchean superman paean to the sun so celebrated in Also Sprach Zarathustra; and, most spectacularly, Wagner, whose Tr istan und Isolde encapsulates so much of these ideas, and whose Act III anticipates the ruined landscape and despairing hero.
Voice and piano float in a nonrhythmic texture, and the grotto's mysterious resonance is created with bitonality: the vocal line is in the key of E-flat minor, and the piano oscillates between E-flat minor and F-sharp minor.
Other pieces employ counterpoint, bitonality, modality, and other unusual contemporary sonorities.
Falla's so-called "theory of resonance--harmonic development through the derivation and juxtaposition of harmonic aggregates called "superpositions"--was not only applied by Rodolfo in his polytonal phase, but blatantly assumed a prominent position in some of his dodecaphonic writing when he combined bitonality with a liberal usage of the twelve-tone technique.
Some bitonality: the vocal line is in E-fiat minor, piano oscillates between E-flat and F-sharp minor.
Bitonality: Music that can't make up its mind whether to resolve to masculine or feminine cadences.