Cover: Remaking the Past: Musical Modernism and the Influence of the Tonal Tradition, from Harvard University PressCover: Remaking the Past in E-DITION

Remaking the Past

Musical Modernism and the Influence of the Tonal Tradition

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674436336

Publication Date: 06/01/1990

207 pages

9 line illustrations, 113 musical examples


Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

The works of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, and Bartok are remarkably rich in allusions to earlier music. Joseph Straus details the revisionary strategies of these twentieth-century composers—how they transformed the music of the tonal tradition in creating their radically new sonorities and structures. He defines a main stream of musical modernism, a mainstream shaped by the aggressive reinterpretation of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century models.

Through close analysis of selected works, Straus considers “recompositions” of earlier music—Schoenberg’s orchestrations of works by Bach, for example—and examines twentieth-century transformations of three basic elements of tonal music: the triad (the central structure of tonal harmony); the sonata form; and traditional melodic motion by perfect fourth or fifth.

Drawing upon literary critic Harold Bloom’s theory of poetic influence, Straus explores a perplexing question about musical modernism: why allusions to traditional music persisted at a time of radical stylistic and structural change. Modern music, he shows, has at its core a tension, even a struggle, between traditional elements and the post-tonal structure that subsumes them.

Students of music seeking a fuller understanding of twentieth-century music and general readers interested in modernism will find this study illuminating and rewarding.

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights, by William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, authors of The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights

As times change so must we as a society, and that includes our conception of rights, say William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, whose new book, The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights, came out just as Black Lives Matter protesters filled the streets this summer. We spoke with them about the current view—and the future—of human rights. How do you understand the purpose of rights? What function do they serve in a society?