Twelve-Tone Music in America

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $111.97
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 6%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $111.97   
  • New (3) from $111.97   
  • Used (1) from $153.80   


Most histories of American music have ignored the presence of twelve-tone music before and during the Second World War, and virtually all have ignored its presence after 1970, even though so many major composers continued (and continue) to compose serially. This book provides a comprehensive history of twelve-tone music in America, and compels a revised picture of American music since 1925 as a dynamic steady-state within which twelve-tone serialism has long been, and still remains, a persistent presence: a vigorous and unbroken tradition for more than eighty years. Straus outlines how, instead of a rigid orthodoxy, American twelve-tone music is actually a flexible, loosely-knit cultural practice. The book provides close readings of thirty-seven American twelve-tone works by composers including Copland, Babbitt, Stravinsky and Carter, among many others, who represent a typically American diversity of background and life circumstances, and strips away the many myths surrounding twelve-tone music in America.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A worth-while introduction to American twelve-tonality."
—The Opera Journal
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521899550
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2009
  • Series: Music in the Twentieth Century Series, #25
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph N. Straus is Distinguished Professor in the Music Department, Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Thirty-Seven Ways to Write a Twelve-Tone Serial Piece: 1. 'Ultra-modern' composers; 2. European immigrants; 3. Postwar pioneers; 4. An older generation (composers born before 1920); 5. Some serial neoclassicists, tonalists, jazzers, and minimalists; 6. A middle generation (composers born 1920–40); 7. A younger generation (composers born after 1940); Part II. American Twelve-Tone Serialism in Context: 8. The composition of twelve-tone music in America; 9. The history of twelve-tone music in America; 10. The reception of twelve-tone music in America; 11. Conclusion.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)