in “tonality and racism” Jason Yust advocates for dropping the concept of tonality as an organizing principle in music curricula, analytical methods, and theoretic discourse. He shows that the historical conception of tonality is inextricably linked to white-supremacist structures, and considered as a purely musical property the concept is ill-defined. Centering art music from a small geographic area and narrow chronological span has established and perpetuated music curricula and scholarship that are racist and culturally chauvinist. The unique complexity of the parameter of harmony in music that has been canonized as the “common practice” has resulted in a disproportionate focus on tonality at the expense of other music-shaping parameters such as rhythm, timbre, texture, register, dynamics, and articulation.

My response is partly in the form of a literature review, citing additional work by other scholars that engages with the issues Yust raises. I begin by foregrounding these issues in the...

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