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twelve-tone music

large body of music, written roughly since World War I, that uses the so-called 12-tone method or technique of composition. The Austrian-born composer Arnold Schoenberg is credited with the invention of this technique, although other composers (e.g., the American composer Charles Ives and the Austrian Josef Hauer) anticipated Schoenberg's invention by writing music that in a few respects was similar technically to his 12-tone music.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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