Sibelius’s late tone poem Tapiola is routinely held up as an exceptional example of a piece that is both monothematic and monotonal. Nevertheless, the broader notion of tonality transmitted by Tapiola invites deeper investigation, since tonality by the early twentieth century is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, a feature true especially of Sibelius’s later compositions. Sibelius’s tonal practice in Tapiola is based neither on first-practice functional harmony nor on second-practice triadic chromaticism but rather on the use of distinct scale collections and their interaction with the thematic process, whereby the network of pitch relations becomes drawn into the unfolding of the work’s motivic logic. It is argued that, under Sibelius’s extreme the-maticism, melodic organization intersects with macroharmony and scale, blurring the distinction between hierarchical levels of pitch organization and ultimately between the work’s monothematicism and its sense of tonality.

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