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Desire in Chromatic HarmonyA Psychodynamic Exploration of Fin de Siècle Tonality$
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Kenneth M. Smith

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190923426

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190923426.001.0001

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When Octatonic and Hexatonic Collide

When Octatonic and Hexatonic Collide

Skryabin’s Accelerationist Last Piano Sonata

(p.270) Chapter Seven When Octatonic and Hexatonic Collide
Desire in Chromatic Harmony

Kenneth M. Smith

Oxford University Press

Following the rise of Deleuze in chapter 6, the chapter passes through famous remarks by Deleuze concerning cybernetics and acceleration, focusing on the futuristic projects of Alexander Skryabin, who wanted to speed up time through his music and, in particular, through his harmony. While other works set the hexatonic and the octatonic in a diatonic flux, the first as an energy-discharging mechanism, the second as a storage capacity, Skryabin’s Sonata No. 10, Op. 70, recently explored by Vasilis Kallis (2015), is unique in juxtaposing hexatonic composition with the octatonically rotating model as clearly segregated areas. The chapter asks: To what extent can the flow between these cycles carry our tonal desire? To what extent does our diatonic engagement fluctuate between distinct sections? How do these different types of tonal “space” impact on our perception of “time”? How can drive analysis meaningfully integrate with Funktionstheorie?

Keywords:   Alexander Skryabin, Accelerationism, Sonata No. 10, Cybernetics, Prometheanism, Deleuze, Sonata form rotation

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