Polytonality

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Polytonality

 

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.

IU. N. KHOLOPOV

References in periodicals archive ?
When the student begins to practice the polytonal sections, it will be beneficial to to practice hands separately to give the student a firm harmonic aural foundation that can be expanded when the hands are played together.
The highlight of chapter 6, "Polytonality, Counterpoint, and Instrumentation," is Kelly's emphasis on the often-overlooked composer Charles Koechlin, whom she credits with inspiring Milhaud to grant instrumentation a crucial role in the polytonal juxtaposition of horizontal lines.
I enjoyed the artful use of pedal points against freely polytonal filagree decoration, and--most importantly, given one's traditional stereotype of the viola--the extroverted, flamboyant, high-tessitura role of the soloist.
Like the polytonal Bluebeard's Castle, Erwartung is a work that brings earlier portraits of unbalanced women -from Isolde to Salome and Electra - into realms excavated by Freud, Schoenberg's Viennese contemporary.
Still, as Beaumarchais's Rosine is caught in a complex web of deceit, sin, and remorse, so Milhaud's polytonal texture may be an effective means of depicting the character's multilayered emotional makeup.
The Presto second movement is a light, atmospheric scherzo descended from Felix Mendelssohn, and the polytonal passage-work in varying subdivisions presents a significant technical challenge.
The violin line is the voice of the flower, and the piano part creates the mood of the poem in delicate, shimmering polytonal chords and arpeggio figurations, mostly in the treble clef except for some grounding bass octaves.
In Milhaud's orchestral work, Spanish rhythms are placed in a polytonal setting, much like "Sobre las olas.
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.
In fact, the cross-pollination that our musical arts have been heir to during the last decade or so has made for considerable excitement, especially when coupled with a new and more relaxed climate that has broken down hard-and-fast barriers between such previously unbridgeable forms as "serious," "entertainment," "folk/ethnic," and "theater" music, early and electronically altered music, and the various guises of tonal, polytonal, microtonal, and nontonal music.
Mawer discusses Milhaud's reputation as a polytonal composer, arguing that polytonality is a theoretical impossibility in Schenkerian terms.
Cope includes consideration of traditional tonal techniques such as modulation and altered chords and their effects in a polytonal environment.