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The 20th Century Unlike the other periods we have studied, the 20 th century does not fit neatly

into one style mold. Perhaps not enough time has passed to truly see what will endure and what will be lost to history. My personal opinion is that a couple of hundred years from now, we will not distinguish between art music and popular music, but instead will do what the other periods have done. Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, etc. were the popular musicians of their day their music was enjoyed by normal people, not just the elite looking to be snobbish. The idea of classical music being something for a special class of people while everyone else enjoys popular music is definitely a recent development. Some of the reasons for this are outlined in chapter 1 the move away from traditional harmonies, the complexity of the music, the social protests and antiwar statements, the outright intention to shock the audience all of these led to listeners moving away from art music to the newer jazz and rock styles. I think history will show the 20 th century as a time of exploration and the birth of new styles (jazz and rock) which will mature into music worthy of study by future generations. However, until such time has passed, we will make note of some important stylistic trends that were in use during parts of the 20 th century. Impressionism was originally a derogatory name given to a group of painters that included Monet and Renoir . They were interested in light, color, and atmosphere, and painted with spotty colors, not definitive brush strokes. French Symbolist poetry was as interested in the sounds of the words as in the meaning of the text. These two artistic trends influenced Claude Debussy, the leading Impressionist composer. His music reflects the airy, atmospheric moods of the painters and poets he so respected. He experimented with moving away from the major/minor system by utilizing pentatonic (5-note scale if you have access to a piano, play around with the black keys they form a pentatonic scale, and no matter which keys you hit, the sound will be pleasing) and whole-tone (a 6-note scale where every note is the same distance from its neighbors, giving it a distinctive sound) scales. He also tended to avoid strong rhythms. One of his most famous pieces is included on your CD: The Afternoon of a Faun is a perfect example of the vagueness of tonality and rhythm that defines musical Impressionism. Neoclassicism adopted the slogan Back to Bach (even though we know Bach was Baroque, not Classical!) since its music intentionally looked back to the balance, clarity, and forms of the classical period for inspiration. Of course, neoclassical composers did utilize contemporary harmonies in their works, giving them a 20 th century slant. Smaller ensembles, absolute music, and the use of the traditional major/minor system were all traits of this movement. A leading neoclassical composer was Igor Stravinsky. Though he was born in Russia, he went to Switzerland during WWI and immigrated to America at the outset of WWII (a trend youll see with several composers in this section). He had a huge output of virtually all types of music, but he is perhaps best known for his ballets. The music from his most famous ballets now is routinely performed in concert settings without any attempt to recreate the dances associated with it. The Rite of Spring is detailed in your text; make sure you listen to it and read the listening guides. Its hard to believe that this music sparked a riot at its premiere, but to early 20 th century ears, the

primitivism (deliberate evocation of primitive images through insistent rhythms, percussive sounds, and pagan subject matter) was harsh and disturbing, and the first performance actually had to be stopped midway due to fights in the audience! Expressionism was an artistic movement centered in the region of Austria and Germany. It was marked by intense emotions deliberate distortions that assaulted the senses and shocked the audience. The leading composer of this style was Arnold Schoenberg, a self-taught Austrian who completely abandoned tonality. Atonal music is music that does not have a key any of the 12 possible notes or their octave equivalents can be used without any regard for their function within the traditional major/minor system. There is no tonic, no sense of one chord wanting to go to another, and dissonance becomes almost meaningless since any combination of notes can be used at any time without the need to resolve to a consonance. Schoenberg further refined this into serialism, or the 12-tone technique. The text has a detailed explanation of this. In a nutshell, the composer devises a tone row, or a set sequence of the 12 available notes. He then uses the notes in this sequence in other words, he cannot reuse a b until he has used all of the other 11 notes. He can manipulate this row by using it backwards (retrograde), upside down (inverted), or upside down and backwards (retrograde inversion). (Notice that these terms were also used in the Baroque section when describing the ways a fugue subject can be manipulated.) The interesting thing about serialism is though it is a highly organized way of writing music, the resulting pieces sound almost random and chaotic. In keeping with the mood of expressionism, notice that Schoenbergs subject matter in both Pierrot Lunaire and Survivor from Warsaw is dark and disturbing. Schoenberg influenced many later composers, but especially his two students Alban Berg (composer of the strange opera Wozzeck) and Anton Webern (whose music is mostly in miniature forms). To expand upon what was said in the text, Webern was living in an American occupied village at the end of WWII and when he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette, an American soldier saw the flash of flame, mistook it for a gun, and shot him. Schoenberg came to America at the outset of WWII. Bela Bartok was another composer who immigrated to America as a result of WWII. He was Hungarian, and worked hard to instill a sense of nationalism in his music. Taking advantage of the new technology (tape recorders!) of his day, he spent much time in rural areas of Hungary recording the folk songs and traditional dances of his homeland. While he never directly quoted this folk music, he did infuse his music with sounds that give his works a distinctive Hungarian sound. Your text talks in detail about his Concerto for Orchestra. Charles Ives was one of the first important native-born American composers. His dad was the leader of a civil war band, so Charles grew up being exposed to music. He was influenced by all aspects of the music he heard, from amateurs making typical performance mistakes, to folk and patriotic songs, to bands playing different songs as they passed each other . Though he worked hard at composing, he actually made his living by selling insurance. In fact, his firm is credited with coming up with the idea of estate planning, an idea that was so successful that Ives became a millionaire. Ives music is often harshly dissonant, and many still find it hard to listen to.

George Gershwin was another important native-born American composer. His music has become very well-known, with many of his compositions being used in pop culture. (American Airlines has used his Rhapsody in Blue in their commercials for years.) Gershwin enjoyed writing with his brother Ira and used him as the lyricist on almost all works that had texts. A famous Gershwin work is the opera Porgy and Bess, set in the streets of Charleston, SC and showing the plight of the impoverished African Americans who lived there at the time. This is one of the most often performed English language operas today. Though considered a serious composer, Gershwin made use of the popular music of the day and infused his pieces with jazz inspired rhythms and Tin Pan Alley (the origins of Broadway) inspired melodies. Brain cancer took his life at the age of 38. William Grant Still, yet another native born American composer, is notable for three things. He was the first African American to conduct a major symphony orchestra, to write a symphony that was performed by a major orchestra, and to write an opera that was performed by a major opera company. He did this by writing music that is easily accessible to the listener and that includes elements of African American culture. His Afro-American Symphony has jazz and spiritual inspired sounds, and it is the only orchestral piece we have studied that includes a part for a banjo. An interesting quote by him is included in the text: I wonder how many people (if any) are being artistically inspired by our current economic woes! 10 points added to the test grade of any students who email me with the quote Im referring to. Aaron Copland is nicknamed the Dean of American composers. During his long and productive life, he passed through several stylistic periods, but he will probably always best be known for his ballet music written for Martha Grahams troupe. Billy the Kid, Rodeo (the origin of the music heard in the Beef its whats for dinner commercial), and Appalachian Spring have become regular features in concert halls worldwide. These were written during a time when he was deliberately trying to connect to the common man with his music, and he was very successful in his efforts. Your text describes ten trends in post-1945 music. Especially noteworthy is the discussion of aleatoric (chance) music. This term can be used for music that was composed by random means (for example, the composer could toss dice to decide what instrument will play the melody) or for music that is performed with random elements (for example, telling the performer to depict a thunderstorm and leaving it up to the performer to decide exactly how to do that). Minimalist music is just what the name implies - short melodic or rhythmic passages ( ostinatos) are incessantly repeated with subtle changes in tempo, dynamics, etc. This type of music has a mesmerizing effect since it seems to be almost static. And of course we have to be aware of the huge impact electronic instruments have had (and are still having). Electronic music originally meant using tape recorders to create sound but has evolved to include any electronic device (synthesizer, turntable, computerized instruments, etc) used to make musical sounds. This is the area that is changing most in the world of music today as technology changes so rapidly. Your text then describes five representative pieces from contemporary composers. Note the name of these composers, especially Zwilich, Varese, and Adams.

Make sure you read the chapter on jazz. While you neednt stress too much about the particular types, do become familiar with the various styles of jazz (Dixieland, swing, bebop, cool jazz, etc.). In the discussion of bebop you see the name Thelonious Monk. Though his family moved when he was a toddler, Monk was actually born in Rocky Mount and you can see tributes to him in some places around town. In the chapter on musical theater, you will see how American composers took the more formal opera and evolved it into todays musical. The Golden Age of the theater saw the creation of shows that we still watch today, including such standards as The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, and Westside Story. Of course, musicals are still an important art form today. The final chapter gives an overview of the origins of rock.