even before Liszt was composing with tetrachords that are essentially non tonal

Even before liszt was composing with tetrachords that

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even before, Liszt was composing with tetrachords that are essentially non-tonal in nature, independent sonic objects that are not treated according to the syntactic rules of tonic-dominant tonality. With the advent of atonal and other non-tonal music around 1908, the tetrachord became the basic harmonic building block of new music, replacing 68 See p. 149 of James M. Baker, “The Limits of Tonality in the Late Music of Franz Liszt,” 145 - 73. 69 See p. 179 of David Butler Cannata, “Perception & Apperception in Liszt’s Late Piano Music,” The Journal of Musicology 15, no. 2 (Spring 1997): 178-207. 70 Cannata, 197 and 207. 71 Ramon Satyendra, “Liszt’s Open Structures and the Romantic Fragment,” Music Theory Spectrum 19, no. 2 (Autumn 1997): 184-205. 72 Forte, “Liszt’s Experimental Idiom and the Music of the Early Twentieth Century,” 227. 73 Ibid., 214.
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24 the triad in that role. Liszt had already made that replacement in the music of his experimental idiom shortly after the middle of the nineteenth century, at the latest…. This remarkable passage, which is not at all atypical of the experimental idiom, could serve as a model for many in Schoenberg’s atonal or in Stravinsky’s early non -tonal works. 74 Although Forte appears to be applying anachronistic intellectual categories to Liszt’s works, he is careful to qualify this connectio n elsewhere, noting that Liszt’s “atonal” works were unpublished and unknown during the flowering of musical high modernism. The above-cited authors largely study this repertory for its compositional innovations, but some defend Liszt’s reputation by contextualizing his earlier, less “enigmatic” works within nineteenth- century compositional history. In a study of the “Faust” symphony, R. M. Longyear and Kate Covington work from this explicit motive: Reproaches of “ forml essness” and “lack of coherence” have repeatedly been made against Liszt’s larger works…. We seek to show that Liszt’s acknowledged masterpiece among his orchestral compositions, the Faust Symphony , is firmly constructed architectonically through a tonal and harmonic coherence that operates at various structural levels, including those of the traditional sonata and ternary forms. 75 Richard Kaplan gives a very different analysis, but also aims at putting down the notion that Liszt’s formal experiments were somehow a historical aberration in the nineteenth century. He note s the “constant references” to the music of Berlioz and Beethoven and claims that Liszt’s developments led to the stylistic advances of Mahler and contemporaries. 76 Yet many scholars value Liszt’s earlier repertory for its perceived novelty, including Rosen, who has an otherwise refreshingly non-pitch- centric approach to Liszt’s compositional style: 74 Forte, 215.
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