Music and architecture

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Fixed paths

Fixed reference poles

Subsidiary references becoming important

Discordant unities

New kinds of unities

Here is a passage about music, quoted with my emphases, about new modes of unity. It can be applied to unity in places as well as in music.

The forces that ultimately led to the breakdown of the tonal system may be viewed as the logical extension of the direction in which music had been developing since the beginning of the nineteenth century. In attempting to identify which characteristics of the transitional period eventually opened the door onto the new horizons of the twentieth century, we would certainly note the increasing prevalence of contrapuntal writing, the systematic blurring of essential harmonies by means of longer, stronger nonharmonic tones, the more rapid rate of change from one transient tonality to another, and, frequently, the total avoidance of any clear definition of a principal key center until well along in the work. We might also note that melody was gradually released from its traditional harmonic associations, with the result that melodic and harmonic successions began to exist in their own coloristic right. . .

Perhaps the dominant characteristic of this music is the prevalence of contrapuntal manipulation, particularly of supporting voices. Since these voices tend to be chromatically inflected and to move independently of the principal voice (if there is a principal voice), the individual harmonies and, hence, any clear sense of harmonic progression are blurred. . .

As the traditional tonal system was being stretched to, and even beyond, its furthermost limits, composers became aware of the growing need for alternative means of musical organization. Elements that seemed to lend themselves to modification were scale, chord structure, harmonic succession, rhythm and meter, and overall musical texture. The early experiments that took place seemed to lead along two somewhat different paths: one, an extension of the principles of ultrachromaticism; the other, a reaction against chromatic excess.

Throughout the unfolding of the twentieth century, we find each of these paths themselves branching off in various directions, creating a vast array of musical styles, philosophies, and practices. In some instances, one may observe the gradual overlapping of seemingly disparate patterns of musical thought. Worthy of note is the relative speed with which this has taken place, especially in comparison with stylistic developments of the Common Practice period (1650-1900). . .

Yet as the century draws to a close, there seems to be an attempt by many to draw from earlier developments rather than to strike out on totally individual and innovative paths. We can see, in some cases, a fusion of trends that at one time seemed headed in opposite directions. Kostka 1989, 431, 433, 453, 527, my emphasis