This book begins with "the first critical assessment of the entire Western tonal consciousness, from the discoveries of Pythagoras to the latest popular song." While the tone was inadvertently promoted as a product of the bourgeois era in Europe and America from 1600 to 1900, Norton says that key-centered music is understood here simply to show the components of a universal voice expression that is always in any language. The author analyzes the basic components of Western color phenomena that continued in music from ancient Jewish contamination to the so-called supplementary actions of Schoenberg and beyond.
Norton isolates the role of traditional music theory in the creation of models that attempt to illustrate color only in terms of the concrete and limited object of the musical result. The author evaluates and ignores these features in terms of logical, experimental, scientific, ideal, and dynamic.
That in his opinion all speculation has been practically exhausted on the tone. With this negation, his goal is to restore the composer as an originator subject to his own body.
The book's approach is especially indebted to the idea of Theodore Adorno, a member of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory theorists, whom Norton sees as more capable of suggesting real dialectic than tone. The author interprets the activities of both theorists and composers of different periods in the context of their historical and reciprocal interests.
Through the fields of physics, acoustics, psychology, sociology, economics, music, and historical criticisms, Norton proves that cognitive abilities and disabilities in humans are a necessary basis for understanding the remarkable vitality of tone as a historical process. The theories of human chromatography are desperately limited, and the book concludes, although self-preservation has become through the imposition of academic respect.
In short, the science of tone, as is common, is not a tonic truth. In its place, the author urges a comprehensive critique of the language and the contemporary color speculation methodology, abandoning the sphere of his interest, and a new and liberating approach to the tonal consciousness which includes all relevant data of the human sonic cognition.
This method assumes that the tone is not merely a result of the physical appearance of the natural appearance of the vicious serials that aroused the fascination of Ramo, Sincher, Hindemeth, and others, and the composers' submission to his presumed power. Norton stresses that ambition is the decision taken against chaos on the playground and the human potential to create musical works that speak with integrity and beauty, and that aesthetic creations do not lag behind and do not rush before human enjoyment and understanding..
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