Study Guide-Twentieth-Century & Non-Western Music
The section on twentieth-century music will involve chapters 1-8, 15-17. Chapters 1-3 will be utilized for the discussion of Non-Western music. It will be necessary to study these chapters, as well as the listening examples contained within, to achieve full comprehension of these sections.
Within the music of the twentieth century can be seen influences of folk and popular music, Asian and African music, and European art music from the Middle Ages through the nineteenth century. The principal parameters of music — tone color, harmony, tonality, rhythm, and melody — undergo vast changes in relation to the music of earlier periods. New musical innovations in this period include the prominence of the percussion section, new ways of playing conventional instruments, polychords, fourth chords, tone clusters, polytonality, bitonality, atonality, and polyrhythms.
During the twentieth century, radio, television, and recordings had a direct impact on the listening habits of the public. Various institutions regularly commissioned new music. These include: ballet and opera companies, foundations, orchestras, performers, film studios, and wealthy music lovers. Also impacting the direction of Twentieth-Century music was the emigration of many famous composers to the United States because of World War II, the widespread dissemination of American jazz and popular music, and the role of universities in nourishing new music.
(Chapters 3 & 4)
Two artistic movements that were to have their musical counterparts in the work of Claude Debussy were impressionist painting and symbolist poetry. The painters Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro represent the impressionist movement in painting. Symbolist poetry is represented by Mallarmé, Verlaine, and Rimbaud. Debussy was influenced by Wagner and Asian music, and he achieved many artistic successes and underwent personal tragedies during the course of his career and his life in general.
Neoclassicism is aptly described as an artistic movement that emphasizes emotional restraint, balance, and clarity. Neoclassical composers used musical forms and stylistic elements of earlier periods, particularly of the eighteenth century. Neoclassicism also reflects a reaction against romanticism and impressionism. Major contributions, outside of music, to the neoclassical style are the poems of T. S. Eliot and the paintings of Pablo Picasso.
Stravinsky’s career is typically traced from his early years in St. Petersburg, his studies under Rimsky-Korsakov, to his discovery by Sergei Diaghilev. The impact of the Ballet Russe on the entire cultural scene in Europe from 1909 to 1929, the success of Stravinsky’s three “Russian” ballets, including the famous 1913 riot, and his emergence as the twentieth century’s most celebrated composer are also principal topics of discussion.
Expressionism is defined as an artistic movement that “stressed intense, subjective emotion.” The movement is related to Freud’s work with hysteria and the unconscious, and can be seen as a German reaction to French impressionism
Arnold Schoenberg, in his early years, can be seen as a musical autodidact. His artistic progression from the late romantic style of his earliest music through the atonal works to the development of his twelve-tone system, are crucial to the understanding of future musical developments.
Aaron Copland’s life spans from his early years in Brooklyn, his period of study in France, and his cultivation of the jazz idiom for a few years on his return to the United States. Copland’s works undergo distinct stylistic changes, including jazz and twelve-tone styles. Among his better-known works today are the ballet Appalachian Spring, and this chapter contains a Listening Outline for the seventh section, the theme and variations on...
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