Understanding Post-Tonal Music  book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Post-Tonal Music

ISBN 9780367432874
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
402 Pages

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Book Description

Understanding Post-Tonal Music explores the compositional and musical processes of twentieth-century post-tonal music. The book is intended for undergraduate or general graduate courses on the theory and analysis of twentieth-century music. The aim of the book is to increase the accessibility of post-tonal music by providing students with tools for understanding issues like pitch organization, rhythm and meter, form, texture, and aesthetics. By presenting the music first and then deriving the theory, Understanding Post-Tonal Music leads students to greater understanding and appreciation of this challenging and important repertoire.

Table of Contents


About the Author



Introduction: An Overview of Twentieth-Century Compositional Styles

1. Pitch Centricity and Composition with Motivic Cells

2. Pitch Centricity and Symmetry

3. Introduction to Pitch-Class Set Theory

4. Analyzing Atonal Music

5. Drawing on (and Reinterpreting) the Past …

6. … And Inventing the Future

7. Twelve-Tone Music I: An Introduction

8. Twelve-Tone Music II: Invariance, Symmetry, and Combinatoriality

9. Serialism: Developments after 1945

10. Expanding the Limits of Musical Temporality

11. Aleatory Music, Sound Mass, and Beyond

12. Where Past and Future Meet …

13. Simplifying Means

14. Into the Twenty-First Century


Appendix: The List of Set Classes


Acknowledgment of Sources

Musical Example Index

Subject index

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Miguel A. Roig-Francolí is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.


"This text is an amazing feat. The author tours through 100 years of history, provides representative analytical samples, and picks up technical skills for theory and composition students. This makes for a very lively text. I enjoyed reading it and am inspired to learn more about some of the pieces." —Ann Stimson, The Ohio State University