The Main Influences of Western Art Music in the 20th Century

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  • Topic: Jazz, Twelve-tone technique, Arnold Schoenberg
  • Pages : 2 (673 words )
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  • Published : October 27, 2012
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The main influences of Western art music in the 20th century. Early 20th century art music was some of the first music which explored the idea of dissonance; the idea that music does not require any specific harmony among notes. Throughout the history of classical music, up until then, dissonance was avoided. The strong influence of African tribal music caused much of early 20th century art music to make the listener dance and move. Igor Stravinsky (17th July 1882 – 6th April 1971) was a ground breaking Russian composer. Most famous for his “Rite of Spring”, Stravinsky’s music can be strongly linked to cubism and can relate to neo classical style. When the “Rite of Spring was first played in 1913 in Paris it was met with a very hostile view. Known as the famous classical music riot, the audience was outraged by what had been played to them and reported fist fights had broken out in the crowd. The situation got so intense that police had to be called to the theatre during the second half of the act. Despite the undoubtedly negative response in 1913, the “Rite of Spring” was hailed as a masterpiece only a few years later, after WW1 after the views of the European people were changed by the harrowing effect of the war. People could now relate to the punchy and strong elements of the piece. Another key part of early 20th century arts music was the idea of serialism and the twelve-tone technique. Serialism was born from the twelve-tone technique used by Arnold Schoenberg. The twelve tone technique means that every single note in an octave is played, and the pitch cannot change until all the notes have been played. By reversing and inversing the notes of the octave, the desired sound is acquired. The idea of “musical anarchy” followed the idea of serialism, with Schoenberg being the father of that revolution, and two closely linked composers, Anton Webern and Alan Berg. Webern followed Schoenberg’s atonal style along with his serialism. The evolution of blues music...
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