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Bela Bartok is often considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century, but his works leave us with a bit of a conundrum: He often claimed that his compositions were based on tonal principles, but, well... they kinda weren't. At least, not ones that theorists of the time would recognize. Bartok seemed to think about chords completely differently from his contemporaries, and thanks to the tireless work of theorist Erno Lendvai, we have some idea why. Axis theory reconciles Bartok's revolutionary practices with the traditional principles of classical harmony, opening up whole new realms of possibilities for what we can do with chords.
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Also, thanks to Jareth Arnold and Jade Tan-Holmes for proofreading the script to make sure this all makes sense hopefully!