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Q&A

Did Schoenberg consider dodecaphony in terms of democracy and freedom?

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Can anyone substantiate the asserveration below? Why do some people dislike Schoenberg so intensely? : classicalmusic

That didn't happen, I think, for two reasons. First, as I mentioned, his music did not obviously "take sides," leaving his music in an ambiguous limbo onto which people could easily project their own prejudices. (For the record, Schoenberg considered dodecaphony in terms of democracy and freedom, Emancipation of Dissonance, and all that, but obviously not everybody saw it that way.) Then also, he was a German in America during a time when popular opinion of Germany was at an all time low, what with the World Wars and all that.

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Schoenberg's "emancipation of the dissonance" referred to escaping the idea that dissonances are acceptable only if they're resolved. I don't see any political dimension in it. Democracy is even further from his approach to music. Most people in Western culture prefer tonal music, and he was clearly going against the will of the majority.

Some of his music had pro-freedom implications; "A Survivor from Warsaw" comes to mind. But that's an issue of the subject matter.

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