Scriabin's early work is characterised by a lyrical and idiosyncratic tonal language influenced by Frédéric Chopin. Later in his career, independent of Arnold Schoenberg, Scriabin developed a substantially atonal and much more dissonant musical system, accorded to mysticism. Scriabin was influenced by synesthesia, and associated colors with the various harmonic tones of his atonal scale, while his color-coded circle of fifths was also influenced by theosophy. He is considered by some to be the main Russian Symbolist composer.
Scriabin was one of the most innovative and most controversial of early modern composers. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia said of Scriabin that, "No composer has had more scorn heaped or greater love bestowed..." Leo Tolstoy once described Scriabin's music as "a sincere expression of genius." Scriabin had a major impact on the music world over time, and influenced composers like Roy Agnew, Nikolai Roslavets, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky. Scriabin's importance in the Soviet musical scene, and internationally, drastically declined. "No one was more famous during their lifetime, and few were more quickly ignored after death." In the 1970s, for instance, there were only three recordings of his complete (published) sonatas. Yet Scriabin's work has steadily regained popularity in recent years.