General Characteristics of 20th Century Music
Rhythm was underdeveloped in Western music before 1900. It became much more complex and irregular in the 20th century.
Melody became of secondary importance in much of the music in the 20th century. Melodies were often erratic with wide leaps, irregular rhythms, and unexpected phrases - an instrumental rather than vocal approach.
Harmony was freed from "the tyranny of tonality" (Schoenberg). References to a "key" or tonal center were often determined unimportant and atonality was explored. New scale and chord structures were developed.
Timbre was explored in depth. New playing techniques were developed on traditional instruments to expand their tonal range. New instruments were created (mostly electronic) and instruments unique to "world" or ethnic music were incorporated into the sonic spectrum.
Recording technology increased accessibility for audiences and change the way musicians created music and made a living.
(1862 - 1918 )
Clair de Lune
Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune
dissolution of tonality
jagged melodic lines
(1874 - 1951 )
Verklarte Nacht (excerpt)
Pierrot Lunaire (excerpt)
(1916 - )
Composition for Synthesizer
Expressionism was centered in Vienna (Freud) and focuses on the subconscious and extreme inner emotions.
It is a reaction to the "prettiness" of Impressionism.
Expressionist music and art is not intended to be real or pretty.
Van Gogh was the initiator of this style in art although he died (1890) before the period began.
Vincent Van Gogh 1889
These paintings were actually painted by Schoenberg.
Compositional material: The "Matrix"
Nationalistic period (Russian)
"There can be no art without discipline."
(1882 - 1971 )
Rite of Spring
| ||Rite of Spring|
Stravinsky collaborated with an
anthropologist for the story line.
Example of Primitivism
It was a "riot."
|Chance music (Aleatoric)|
any sound can be musical
music can be "composed" by chance or indeterminate methods
(1912 - 1992 )
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developed in the US around 1965-70
the music changes/grows/develops, but it doesn't "go" anywhere
Example: In C
53 measures, each repeated ad lib.
any combo, number of instruments
performance time: 42 minutes
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(1935 - )
| ||Phase Shifting|
Reich preferred the term "process music"
two performers begin in unison
one gradually pulls ahead
this "gradual process" continues until they rejoin
new counterpoint results
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Steve Reich(1936 - )
early work was Minimalist
made the music more accessible to the people
postminimalist works maintained his unique style
musical theater, opera, and movie scores
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Philip Glass (1937 - )
ORDER & CHAOS
• SURFACE CHAOS/INNER ORDER:
Rite of Spring; serialism
• SURFACE ORDER/INNER ORDER:
minimalism (Reich, Music for 18)
• SURFACE CHAOS/INNER CHAOS:
chance methods (John Cage)
Created and Maintained by Vicky V. Johnson