having recently written a book on the earliest conceptions of tonality in the nineteenth century, I take an interest in—and perhaps some responsibility for—Jason Yust's essay in this issue (Christensen 2019). In fact, both he as well as Philip Ewell (2023) have generously cited my book as a source that has helped stimulate their reflections on the problematic legacy of “tonality” and what it may contribute to the current debate concerning the “white frame” of music theory. But it never occurred to me that one follow-up to this much-needed reflection would be a recommendation to “[drop] the term from our theoretical lexicon.” I would like to explain here why I think such a proposal is unwarranted, and indeed even counterproductive.

Tonality, Yust tells us at the start of his essay, is a contaminated concept due to its entanglement “with a major intellectual project of nineteenth-century Europe,...

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