20th Century Music

Topics: 20th-century classical composers, Opera composers, Opera Pages: 3 (375 words) Published: August 9, 2002
By the turn of the century and for the next few decades, artists of all nationalities were

searching for exciting and different modes of expression. Composers such as Arnold

Schoenberg explored unusual and unorthodox harmonies and tonal schemes. French

composer Claude Debussy was fascinated by Eastern music and the whole-tone scale,

and created a style of music named after the movement in French painting called

Impressionism. Hungarian composer Béla Bartók continued in the traditions of the still

strong Nationalist movement and fused the music of Hungarian peasants with twentieth

century forms. Avant-garde composers such as Edgard Varèse explored the manipulation

of rhythms rather than the usual melodic/harmonic schemes. The tried and true genre of

the symphony, albeit somewhat modified by this time, attracted such masters as Gustav

Mahler and Dmitri Shostakovich, while Igor Stravinsky gave full rein to his manipulation

of kaleidoscopic rhythms and instrumental colors throughout his extremely long and

varied career.

While many composers throughout the twentieth-century experimented in new ways

With traditional instruments such as the "prepared piano" used by American composer

John Cage, many of the twentieth-century's greatest composers, such as Italian opera

composer Giacomo Puccini and the Russian pianist/composer Sergei Rachmaninoff,

remained true to the traditional forms of music history. In addition to new and eclectic

styles of musical trends, the twentieth century boasts numerous composers whose

harmonic and melodic styles an average listener can still easily appreciate and enjoy.

The advance of technology has also had an enormous impact on the evolution of

music in this century, with some composers using, for instance, the cassette player as a

compositional tool or electronically generated sounds alongside classical instruments,

the...
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