Luigi Dallapiccola was the first Italian composer to fully engage with the 12-tone compositional techniques of the Viennese composers during the first half of the twentieth century. His isolation in Florence during World War II seems to have informed his incredibly unique atonal style in which embedded inflections of the traditional tonal system and shadows of functional harmony interact seamlessly with post-tonal pitch structures. Sonatina Canonica for solo piano, published in 1946, is exemplary in this regard.

This paper is a theoretical analysis of the second movement of this work. Using both tonal and post-tonal analytical tools, an interpretation of the movement is asserted which brings to light Dallapiccola’s means of integrating the same atonal pitch structures in both tonal and post-tonal musical domains. Such pitch structures reinforce a notion of similar harmonic progression in both; a parallel pathway is audible and perceivable. On a more global structural level, the opening and closing sections of the piece are abstractly associated by the special properties of the symmetric hexachordal pitch-class set (014589). The implicit sonority of that hexatonic collection contains a fusion of both major and minor harmonic qualities, further unifying tonal and atonal musical domains.