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Lessons With Kody Pisney


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Lesson 1

consider this

Polytonality has been used by several composers in the 20th century, some of these including: Bartok, Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Milhaud, and other well known composers. The technique is employed when one plays in two keys at the same time. For instance, playing in C major and A major at the same time would be polytonality, as opposed to bitonality, which is when two different chords are played at the same time. However, both techniques work in harmony together.

Listen to the following excerpts:



here is the sheet music.

Danzas Argentinas

download "Scaramouche" here

Answer the following questions

1. What makes the use of polytonality in these pieces successful?

2. When does the composer make use of the polytonality?

3. How does the composer escape from polytonality back in to standard harmony?

4. Did the polytonality employ a more rhythmic scheme or more relaxed motives?

5. Are these two composers using the same chord progression in each key? (i.e. if he is using a I chord in C major, is he also using a I. in a Major?)

Homework 1

write a 16 - 32 measure piece that employs polytonality. You can take as long as you like. You may also post parts that you write and we can talk about it as you compose it.

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