20th Century Era Study Guide

The Post-Romantic Era
1. In the late 19th century all composers felt the effect of Wagner's chromaticism
o Two important movements surface at the turn of the 20th century
Impressionism in France
Primary contributors: Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel
Post-Romanticism in Germany and Austria
Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was a beacon of post-Romanticism
Known for his programmatic symphonic poems and operas
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) is another transitional figure
2. Gustav Mahler: His Life and Music
o Born in Bohemia, known as a conductor and composer
His music has grown increasingly popular since the late 20th century
Trained in Vienna
Early career as a conductor in Austria and later the Royal Opera at Budapest
Eventually secured the most prestigious directorship at the Vienna Opera
Unwavering passion and dedication to art music in Vienna
At 48, he arrived in New York
Accepted an engagement at the Metropolitan Opera
Assumed direction of the New York Philharmonic Society Orchestra
Fell ill with a streptococcus infection and was taken to Paris
Chose to return to Vienna where he died and was buried next to his daughter
o In composition, the spirit of song permeates his work
Cultivated the song cycle, with orchestral accompaniment
Style reflects the music of Schubert and Schumann
Among his best efforts is The Song of the Earth, 1908
o The Viennese symphonic tradition extended to the 20th century through his works
Nine symphonies are the ultimate in lyricism and harmonic expression
A tenth symphony (a draft at his death) has been made available
3. Mahler: The Song of the Earth (Das Lied von der Erde), Third Movement (Listening Guide 64)
o Song cycle for voice and orchestra (6 songs)
o Poetry from a translation by Hans Bethge of Chinese poet Li T'ai-Po
o Incorporates exotic pentatonic melodies (evokes Chinese music)
o Delicate, colorful orchestration
o Third song in cycle is a 3-part form
Music structure (A-B-A') reflects poetic imagery of an "arched bridge"
Debussy and Impressionism
1. The Impressionist Painters
o Impressionism was a French movement developed by painters
Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir
o "First impression" of a subject captured by use of light and color
o Abandoned grandiose subjects of Romanticism
2. The Symbolist Poets
o Literary response to tradition
Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud
All influenced by American poet Edgar Allan Poe
Concern with the sound of a word as well as its meaning
Achieved an abstract quality in the text
3. Impressionism in Music
o Sentiment that the possibilities of the major/minor system had been exhausted
Attraction to ancient scales (church modes of the Middle Ages), exotic scales (chromatic, whole
o Interest in non-Western music flourished
Moorish music of Spain, Javanese, and Chinese orchestras (as heard at the 1889 World Exposition
in Paris)
A departure from Classical harmony is witnessed in Impressionism
Unresolved dissonances, parallel chords, ninth chords
Use of the chromatic scale and whole-tone scale parallel chords, ninth chords
o Orchestral color was exploited in new ways
o The pulse in Impressionist music tended to be obscured
o The large forms of the past were abandoned in favor of short lyric forms
4. Claude Debussy (1862-1918): His Life and Music
o French composer, trained at the Paris Conservatory
Rebelled against compositional traditions at Paris Conservatory
At age 22, won the Prix de Rome with cantata The Prodigal Son
o Fame came after the premiere of his opera Pelléas and Mélisande (1902)
o WWI robbed him of his interest in music
Died in 1918 during German bombardment of Paris
o Composed slowly, relatively small output
Most recognized works
Orchestral: La mer, three nocturnes, Prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun"
Piano: Clair de lune, Evening in Granada, Reflections in the Water, The Sunken
o He also composed chamber music and French songs
French song: independent of the German Lied
Chamber music: String Quartet in G minor, sonatas for cello and piano; violin and piano; flute,
viola, and harp
5. Debussy: Prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun" (Listening Guide 65)
o Symphonic poem, based on a Mallarmé pastoral poem
Mythological faun
o Free ternary form
o Chromatic melody
o Rich orchestration creates evocative mood expressing poem's sensuality
Main Currents in Early-Twentieth-Century Music
1. The Reaction against Romanticism
o Early-20th-century music was the product of a reaction against Romanticism
Sought to escape refinement, adopt primitive, uninhibited, spontaneous style
o Turned towards non-Western sources (Africa, Asia, eastern Europe) for primal, powerful rhythms, and
fresh concepts
2. New Trends in the Arts
o Futurism, Dadaism, Cubism
Movement had an effect on artists (Erik Satie and Les Six in France)
3. Expressionism
o Expressionism was German response to Impressionism
Explores the worlds of the subconscious, hallucinations, and dreams
o Artists: Kandinsky, Klee, Kokoschka, Munch
o Composers: Schoenberg, Berg, Webern
o Musical characteristics:
Expressive harmony
Extreme ranges
Disjunct melodies
4. Neoclassicism
o Revival of balance and objectivity in the arts
o A return to formal structures of the past
o Began in the early 1920s
o Composers preferred absolute to program music
New Elements of Musical Style
1. The New Rhythmic Complexity
o Revitalization of rhythm
o Polyrhythm, polymeter, changing meter, irregular meters
2. The New Melody
o Becomes instrumental, not vocal, in character
Abounds in wide leaps and dissonant intervals
3. The New Harmony
o Beyond traditional systems of tonality
o Polychords, polyharmony
o New Conceptions of Tonality
The major-minor system was no longer dominant
It was expanded, combined, and avoided
Perceived drive toward the tonic is weakened
Polytonality: presentation of two or more simultaneous keys
Atonality: abandonment of tonality, all 12 tones are equal in importance
o The Twelve-Tone Method
Also known as serialism or dodecaphonic composition
Atonal method devised by Schoenberg
Strict system based on and unified by tone row
Tone row: arrangement of all 12 chromatic tones
Forms of the row: transposed, inverted, retrograde, retrograde inversion
o The Emancipation of Dissonance
Extreme dissonances become a normal part of the sound
No obligation to resolve to consonance
Texture: Dissonant counterpoint
Sparse linear texture (counterpoint)
o Orchestration
Leaner, smaller orchestra
String section no longer the "heart" of the orchestra
Composers favored the darker instruments (viola, bassoon, trombone)
Emphasis on rhythm brings percussion to the foreground
Piano becomes an orchestral instrument
o New Conceptions of Form
Composers revisit Classical ideals of tight organization and succinctness
Revival of older forms (toccata, fugue, concerto grosso, suite, etc.)
Stravinsky and the Revitalization of Rhythm
1. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971): His Life
o Stravinsky embodied the most significant impulses of his time
o Russian composer, studied at the University of St. Petersberg
Left law studies for career in music
Studied with Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
o Serge Diaghilev (impresario of Ballets Russes) commissioned 3 ballets from Stravinsky
Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), The Rite of Spring (1913)
The Rite of Spring incited a near riot on opening night
o 1920: Stravinsky settled in France
o 1939: visited the U.S. (Harvard University)
o At the outbreak of WWII, decided to stay in U.S.
Settled in Southern California, outside of Los Angeles
1945 became an American citizen
o Died in 1971 at the age of 89
2. Stravinsky's Music
o His music reflects changing trends (post-Impressionism, classicism, serialism, etc.)
o Leader in the revitalization of rhythm
o Considered one of the great orchestrators
o Early works
His music reflects nationalism
Reacted against the restless chromaticism of Romanticism
Three ballets for the Ballets Russes, The Soldier's Tale
Neoclassical period
Oedipus Rex: opera-oratorio
Symphony of Psalms: for chorus and orchestra
The Rake's Progress: opera based on a series of engravings by Hogarth
o 12-tone music
Threni: Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah
3. Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (Listening Guide 67)
o Subtitled Scenes of Pagan Russia
Primitive-like theme, matched by primitive rhythms
o Expanded ensemble
8 French horns, 5 trumpets, 5 of each woodwind, a battery of percussion
o Melodies modeled after Russian folk songs
o Music is liberated from constraints of metric regularity
o Part I: Adoration of the Earth
Begins with bassoon melody in the uppermost range
The Dance of the Youths and Maidens
Strings play dissonant chords, elemental pounding heightened by the use of polytonal harmonies
Game of Abduction
Uses Russian folk theme against ostinato
Section closes with Dance of the Earth
o Part II: The Sacrifice
Bitingly dissonant harmonies
Closes with frenzied climax, Sacrificial Dance
4. Stravinsky: The Royal March from The Soldier's Tale (Listening Guide 68)
o Small-scale theater work
o Written near the end of WWI, while Stravinsky was in exile in Switzerland
o Folk tale by Alexander Afanaseyev adapted by C. F. Ramuz
Commentary on the composer's exile from his homeland
o Scored for 7 instruments, 3 actors, and a female dancer
o Neoclassical elements abound: tonality, traditional forms, etc.
o The Royal March
Ternary form
Inspired by a memory of a bullfight band
Rhythmic intricacies and polyrhythm provide humorous backdrop
Spanish-dance melody (paso doble) is heard in the A section
Formalists valued form over expressiveness
Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School
1. The German Expressionist movement was manifested in the music of Arnold Schoenberg and his followers
o The Second Viennese School is comprised of Schoenberg and his students
2. Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951): His Life
o Austrian composer, conductor, teacher, artist
o Largely self-taught composer
o Proponent of atonality and serial composition
o Teacher of Alban Berg, Anton Webern
o Emigrated to the U.S.
On faculty of USC and UCLA in Los Angeles
3. Schoenberg's Music
o Three style periods
Early works reflect post-Wagnerian Romanticism
Transfigured Night
Second period reflects Atonal-Expressionism
Pierrot lunaire
Third period reflects the creation of the 12-tone method and his time in America
A Survivor from Warsaw
4. Schoenberg: Pierrot lunaire (Listening Guide 69)
Song cycle from 1912
Texts by Albert Giraud (in German translation)
Tale of a sad clown obsessed with the moon
All in rondeau form
For voice and varied chamber ensemble
Atonal work: no home key
No distinction between consonance and dissonance
Use of Sprechstimme (spoken voice)
Klangfarbenmelodie (tone-color-melody)
No. 18, The Moonfleck
For voice and 5 instruments
Highly contrapuntal and dissonant
Pierrot's frustration is heard in the atonality
No. 21, O Scent of Fabled Yesteryear
Voice and 8 instruments
Melancholic and serene
Pierrot is at peace
More consonance is used to reflect the innocent past
Berg and Early-Twentieth-Century Opera
1. Alban Berg (1885-1935): His Life
o Austrian composer and teacher
o Student of Schoenberg
o Humanized the abstract methods of atonality and serialism and infused them with feeling
o Served in the military during WWI
o Ardent supporter of techniques of Second Viennese School
o Hitler banned the works of 12-tone composers
o Died an unfortunate death at 50 of blood poisoning resulting from an insect bite
2. Berg's Music
o Style rooted in German Romanticism
o Leaned towards formal patterns of the past
o Adopted atonality and serialism of Schoenberg
o Best-known works include the Lyric Suite and 2 operas
Wozzeck, Lulu (unfinished)
3. Berg: Wozzeck (Listening Guide 70)
o Based on Expressionist play by Georg Büchner
Play is based on real-life events
o Berg wrote the libretto himself
Plot: Wozzeck's unhappy love affair and resulting tragic events
o Atonal harmony
o Use of leitmotifs
o Incorporates Sprechstimme
o Act III, Scene 4
Wozzeck returns to the scene of the crime, hallucinates, and commits suicide
o Interlude between Scene 4 and 5
Symphonic interlude in D minor
A passionate lament
Evokes the Romanticism of Mahler
o Act III, Scene 5
Marie's child is told of his mother's death
Webern and Serial Technique
Chapter Outline
1. Anton Webern (1883-1945): His Life
o Webern's works are brief, subtle, and fleeting
o Austrian composer and musicologist
o Followed Schoenbergian ideals
o Career suffered under the Third Reich
o During WWII sought refuge with family near Salzburg
Broke curfew to smoke a cigar and was shot to death, at age 62, by American soldier
2. Webern's Music
o Removed himself almost completely from the tonal past
o Favored short forms, like others of the Second Viennese School
o His music is marked by unusual orchestration and extreme ranges
Sparse textures in very brief works
Strict use of 12-tone technique
o Extended 12-tone concept to include rhythms, timbres, dynamics
o New application called total serialism
3. Webern: Symphony, Opus 21 (Listening Guide 71)
o Scored for a chamber orchestra
o Entire symphony lasts less than 10 minutes
o Expanded use of Klangfarbenmelodie
o Texture is pointillistic
o Complex contrapuntal procedures (double canon, etc.)
o I: sonata-allegro form, based on a tone row
o II: theme and variations, based on row from first movement
Béla Bartók and the European Tradition
1. Twentieth-century nationalism differed from 19th-century trends
o Composers approached traditional music with a scientific spirit
New students of folklore took recording equipment into the field for authenticity
2. National Schools
o French: Les Six (Satie, Milhaud, Honegger, Tailleferre, Poulenc, Auric) – developed a style that combined
objectivity and understatement with the Neoclassicism and the new concepts of harmony
o Russian: Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturian
o English: Elgar, Delius, Vaughan Williams, Britten
o German: Hindemith, Orff, Weill
o Hungarian: Bartók, Kodály
o Czech: Janáček
o Nordic: Sibelius
3. Béla Bartók (1881-1945): His Life and Music
o Hungarian composer
o Sought to end domination of German musical culture
o Separated true Hungarian music from music of Roma (Gypsies)
o Studied folklore
o Emigrated to the U.S. in 1940
o Suffered from leukemia, received help from ASCAP
o Died in New York City at 64
o Musical characteristics
Adhered to the logic and beauty of Classical from
Musical language based on Eastern European traditional music
New scales, polytonal harmonic language
Fought the "tyrannical rule of the major and minor keys"
Rhythmic innovator, changing meters, syncopations
4. Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra (Listening Guide 72)
o Commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
o Five movements
I: Introduction, sonata-allegro, use of folklike pentatonic scale
II: Game of Pairs, featuring different pairs of winds
III: Elegia, contemplative and rhapsodic nocturne
IV: Interrupted Intermezzo, one theme borrowed from Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7
V: Sonata-allegro form
American Traditions: The Music of Charles Ives and William Grant Still
1. Many 20th-century nationalists based their works on traditional and popular music
o Ives and Still in particular incorporated influences of "home grown" popular music traditions
2. Popular Music in Late-Nineteenth-Century America
o Strong tradition of devotional music (spirituals and gospel hymns)
o Music publications were largely devotional, "white spirituals"
Shape-note system designed for easy reading of music
Tunes were set in simple 4-part harmonizations
o Parlor and minstrel songs of Stephen Foster were popular and remain popular
Oh, Susannah! Camptown Races, Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
o By the Civil War era, the military marched to the sounds of brass groups
After the war, members of military bands formed concert and dance groups
o Bandmaster John Phillip Sousa promoted and fostered the American wind band
Conducted the U.S. Marine Band and formed the group "Sousa's Band"
Wrote over 130 marches for band, dance music, and operettas
Sousa created a national music for the U.S.
3. Charles Ives (1874-1954): His Life and Music
o American composer and businessman
Studied at Yale with Horatio Parker
Successful career in the insurance business
Composed after-hours and on weekends
His contributions were recognized late in life
o Drew on music of New England (hymns, patriotic songs, brass band, and dance music)
o Incorporated polytonality and polyrhythm, quarter tones (half the size of a half step)
o Central works were his 4 symphonies
4. Ives: The Things Our Fathers Loved (Listening Guide 73)
o Ives wrote the text
o Quotations from patriotic, religious, and popular tunes
o Dissonant harmony
5. William Grant Still: His Life and Music
o A major part of the "Harlem" Renaissance, an early-20th-century movement
o His Afro-American Symphony was the first work by an African-American composer to be performed by a
major symphony orchestra
o Born and raised in the south (Mississippi, Arkansas)
o Attended Wilberforce University in Ohio for a while
o Hired to work for W. C. Handy's bands in Memphis
o Served in WWI, then studied for a while at Oberlin
o Hired again by Handy to work in New York
Quickly gained a reputation as an arranger for radio and musical theater
o Studied with French expatriate Edgard Varèse
o Sought his voice in the music of his black cultural heritage
o Afro-American symphony premiered in 1931
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Howard Hanson conducting
o 1934 won a Guggenheim Fellowship
Left New York for Los Angeles; composed for film and television
o New York City Opera performed his opera Troubled Island in 1949 (another first)
o Musical characteristics
Finely wrought, fairly conservative, often inspired by African-American themes
6. Still: Afro-American Symphony, II (Sorrow) (Listening Guide 74)
o Sought to elevate popular blues to realm of art music
o Each movement is in modified sonata-allegro form
o Blues harmonic pattern and influence of spirituals is evident
Nationalism in the Americas: Aaron Copland and Silvestre Revueltas
1. Aaron Copland (1900-1990): His Life and Works
o American composer, born in Brooklyn
o Studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger
o Incorporated jazz idioms in his works
o Experimented in Neoclassicism and 12-tone composition
o Composed piano pieces, orchestral works, ballets, film scores
2. Copland: Billy the Kid, Scene 1, Street in a Frontier Town (Listening Guide 75)
o Ballet on the story of William Bonney
o Later arranged the ballet as a concert suite
o Music includes tunes of the Wild West and Mexican dance (jarabe)
3. Silvestre Revueltas and Art Music Traditions in Mexico
o Mexican culture is a mixture of Amerindian, African, and Hispanic cultures
o Catholic Church has maintained a high profile since 1519
o The Mexican Revolution of 1910 served to stir up a strong sense of patriotism
Manuel Ponce and Carlos Chávez were leaders in the new nationalist movement
Chávez also directed the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mexico and the National Conservatory,
promoting the music of Mexican composers
4. Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940): His Life and Music
o Mexican composer, born in Durango
o Child prodigy (violin), studied at the National Conservatory and in San Antonio, Texas
o Returned to Mexico as the assistant conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mexico
o Traveled to Spain to support the Loyalist government during the Spanish Civil War
Inspired to compose the Homenaje a Federico García Lorca
Returned to U.S. in 1937, periods of depression, alcoholism, and self-destruction
Died at age 40 of alcohol-induced pneumonia
His music is colorful and folkloric, without actually borrowing from known traditional songs
Mexican mestizo music is evoked through lyrical, direct melodies
Mariachi sound is gained by pairing melodic lines in thirds
o Political themes abound in his music
Homenaje is an overt anti-Fascist statement
Orchestral work Sensemayá inspired by verses of the anti-Fascist Afro-Cuban poet Nicolás
5. Revueltas: Homenaje a Federico García Lorca
o I: Baile (Dance), a quick-paced duple-meter dance
Bears both indigenous and mestizo musical influences
o II: Duelo (Sorrow), based on soulful emotional melody
o III: Son (traditional dance), evocative of mariachi ensemble
Rondo-like form, celebrates Lorca's life in dance
Evokes flavor of rural dance and sound of mariachi
New Directions
1. Innovations of the latter half of the century have surpassed the "new music" of any era
2. The Arts since the Mid-Twentieth Century
o Post WWII social turmoil was reflected in the arts
o Musical trends mirrored movements in the arts
Abstract expressionism, pop art, postmodernism
o Feminist as well as ethnic art and literature flourished
o Literature and poetry have been the subject of widespread experimentation
Authors continued to create and have won awards (National Book Award, Pulitzer, Nobel)
Recent new genre spawned by Zadie Smith = hysterical realism
Many authors have stirred controversy
Jonathan Franzen questioned the value of his book's listing on the Oprah Winfrey's Book
Club list (The Corrections, 2002)
Salmon Rushdie's novel (The Satanic Verses 1988) has been condemned by the Muslim
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is controversial among conservative Christians
o Modern theater and music have merged in performance art
A multimedia genre explored by John Cage and Laurie Anderson
o National schools of filmmaking have developed in recent years
Especially in Germany, China, Poland and the U. S.
3. Toward Greater Organization in Music
o Later generations applied Schoenberg's 12-tone method to elements other than pitch
o The resultant total serialism is an extremely complex, ultrarational music
4. Toward Greater Freedom in Music
o Counter to total serialism was the desire for freedom from predetermination
Composers let chance determine great portions of the musical "happening"
Resultant indeterminate music is called aleatoric music
The flexible structure is known as open form
o Collage: a technique in which fragments of compositions (old and new) are layered
o Musicians sought to free themselves from the restrictions of the chromatic scale
Evolution of electronic instruments makes microtonal scales more practical
Intervals smaller than semitones in a microtonal scale
Originally a part of a variety of world musics
5. The Postwar Internationalism
o Leaders in compositional experimentation hailed from all over the world
U.S.: Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Earle Brown, Morton Feldman
Italy: Luciano Berio
Greece: Iannis Xenakis
Poland: Krzysztof Penderecki
Germany: Karlheinz Stockhausen
France: Pierre Boulez
Russia: Sofiya Gubaidulina
Postwar Era voices in the United States
Elliott Carter pioneered a technique he called "metric modulation"
George Perle reconciled serial procedures with tonality
Henry Brant, Canadian composer, experimented with spatial relationships
The New Virtuosity of the Modern Age
1. Contemporary music calls for new and highly virtuosic technique
o Some performers specialize in avant-garde music
Cathy Berberian, Jan DeGaetani
2. Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992): and the Postwar era
o French composer, organist, and educator
o Messiaen's music is an expression of his religious faith
Draws on medieval church modes, chant, and Eastern sounds (India, Java)
o His love of nature, especially bird song, is reflected in his music
3. Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time (Listening Guide 86)
o Written while a POW in Germany, 1940
Imprisoned with a violinist, cellist, and clarinetist
Composed while interred and gave a concert to other prisoners
o The work is based on a passage from the Revelation of St. John
Scored for piano, violin, cello, clarinet
8 movements that incorporate the sounds of birds, of Gregorian chant, the expressive quality of the
cello, and Messiaen's mysticism
4. Pierre Boulez (b. 1925) and the French Avant-Garde
o French composer
o Influenced by Messiaen, Debussy, Stravinsky, Webern
o Embraced total serialism
o Emotional content of Boulez's music is broad
o Fond of the sound of the gamelan
o Recent works combine media (orchestra and electronic equipment)
An example of this is his concerto for MIDI flute
Flute communicates with a computer in performance
o Conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
o Co-founder of IRCAM, the French center for computer music research
5. Boulez: Notations IV (Listening Guide 87)
o One of his chief early works
o Composed in 1945 (piano), orchestrated in 1978
Revision calls for a huge orchestra
o Constructed from three hexachords (6-note sequences)
o Unified by an ostinato, which is manipulated through a complex process Boulez calls frequency
o Boulez describes the work as "organized delirium"
6. George Crumb (b. 1929) and Avant-Garde Virtuosity
o American Composer, numerous awards and honors
Pulitzer, Grammy Award
o Emotional, dramatic, expressive music
o Professor of composition at the University of Pennsylvania until 1999
o Affinity for the poetry of Federico García Lorca
7. Crumb: Ancient Voices of Children (Listening Guide 88)
o Cycle of songs for soprano, boy soprano, oboe, mandolin, harp, electric piano, percussion
o Voice is used like an instrument
o Opens with a vocalise (wordless melody)
o Includes singing into an amplified piano, singing microtones
o Percussion includes instruments from around the world
o Mysterious music reflects dark intimations of poetry
Contemporary Composers Look to World Music
1. The West has always felt the influence of other cultures
o A number of composers responded to the philosophy of the Far East
In particular, Californians Henry Cowell, Harry Partch, and John Cage
2. Important Experimenters
o Henry Cowell (1897-1965) drawn to a variety of non-Western musics
Student of the music of Japan, India, Iran, rural Ireland and America
Experimented with foreign scales
Innovations include tone clusters
Adjacent tones are struck with the fist, palm, etc.
o Harry Partch (1901-1974)
Serious proponent of microtonal music (he devised a scale of 43 pitches)
Unique now instruments (cloud-chamber bowls, diamond marimba, etc.)
3. The Music of John Cage (1912-1992)
o American Composer
o Student of Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg
o Invented the prepared piano to simulate the sound of the Javanese gamelan
Consisted of items (nails, bolts, etc.) inserted in the piano strings
o Preoccupied with East Asian philosophy
o Quest for tranquility pervades his life and work
o Composed music based on chance (indeterminacy)
o Explored the role of silence: 4'33" (a piece of silence)
4. Cage: Sonata V, from Sonatas and Interludes (Listening Guide 89)
o A group of 16 pieces for the prepared piano
Bits of materials inserted in between strings
Approximates the sounds of the Javanese gamelan
o Captures the meditative character of Oriental thought
o Set in binary form (A-A-B-B)
5. The Javanese Gamelan
o Indonesia comprises many diverse cultures and musical traditions
o The gamelan is central to the musical traditions
Composed of melodic percussion instruments
o Music is played from memory, passed as an oral tradition
o Played for ritual ceremonies (court, shadow-puppet theater)
o Two tunings: sléndro (5-note), pélog (7-note)
6. Javanese Gamelan Music: Patalon (Listening Guide 90)
o Patalon serves as an overture to the shadow puppet play
o In shadow puppet theater (wayang), a master puppeteer
Operates the puppets
Narrates and sings the songs
Leads the gamelan
o The performance begins in the early evening and continues until dawn
o Rhythmic structure is cyclic (colotomic structure)
o Melodic framework (balungan) interacts with rhythmic structure
o Instruments played are metallophones (metallic percussion)
7. Multicultural Influences in Contemporary Society
o The impulse toward a world music sound continues with contemporary composers
o Today's artists are more exposed to multicultural influences than ever before
8. György Ligeti's (1923-2006) and his Etudes for Piano
o Hungarian composer
o Active in electronic music, serial music, incorporation of world music
o Innovator of "micropolyphony": interweaving complex polyphonic fabric
o Shape is derived from barely perceptible shifts in timbre, dynamics, texture
o Resultant effect is a murmuring continuum
o Most popular works: Atmosphéres, Lux aeterna (included in Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey)
9. Ligeti: Disorder (Désordre), from Etudes for Piano, Book I (Listening Guide 91)
o Explores rhythmic manipulation
Method derivative of sub-Saharan African and Indonesian rhythm
Ligeti was particularly interested in the region of Uganda
o Book I, Disorder: additive meters (5 + 3, 3 + 5) over triple patterns
o Virtuosic ability needed to play complex rhythms
10. Music from East Africa
o Uganda is in eastern Africa (bordering Kenya and Lake Victoria)
o Many outside forces have significantly influenced the culture
o Musical instruments of the region: chordophones, aerophones, idiophones, and membranophones
o Pentatonic music is favored in this region
11. Eastern African Music: Ensiriba ya munange Katego (Listening Guide 92)
o Tale of a sub-chief who loses his good luck charm
o Played by an entenga (prestigious court drumming ensemble)
Melodic drums play using a pentatonic scale
o The work has a dense polyrhythmic texture
o Music is transmitted orally through the master/apprentice system
12. Bright Sheng (b. 1955) and the Meeting of Musical Cultures
o An innovative composer, he blends Western and Asian cultures
o His Chinese name is Sheng Song-Liang (Liang means "bright lights")
His Anglicized name is a combination of English and Chinese
o Born and raised in Shanghai
o In 1966, the Red Guards took away his piano because it was considered "bourgeois"
o Sent to Tibet during the Revolution
Learned to play other instruments and gathered folk songs
o In 1976, the Revolution ended and he entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music
o Studied in the U.S.
Queens College, Columbia University
o Successful musical career in the U.S.
o Works to preserve Eastern traditional musical cultures
Collaborates in this project with Yo-Yo Ma
o Merger of Eastern and Western ideas enriches the listener's understanding of both cultures
13. Sheng: China Dreams: Prelude (Listening Guide 93)
o A symphonic suite composed between 1992 and 1995
o Four movements for large orchestra
o Nostalgic in tone
o Combines Western and Eastern musical ideas
o The opening Prelude evokes Chinese folk music
In particular the northwest region
Pentatonic melodies, sliding glissando figures
Three-part structure
o Fanfare is more agitated and percussive
Reflects unpleasant memories of China
o The Stream Flows draws on a well-known folk song
From southern China Yunnan province
o The Last Three Gorges of the Long River
Inspired by a dream, refers to the Yangtze River
14. An Introduction to Chinese Traditional Music
o To understand Bright Sheng's music, exploring Abing's (1883-1950) music is helpful
o Chinese composer, born Hua Yanjun
o Orphaned and later adopted by Daoist monk
Began studying music as an apprentice Daoist
Expelled for playing sacred music in secular settings
o Before dying in 1950, recorded 6 of his works
o His music is highly revered and part of the standard repertory at modern conservatories
15. Abing: The Moon Reflected on the Second Springs (Er quan ying yue) excerpt (Listening Guide 94)
o Originally conceived for solo erhu
Bowed two-string fiddle, played upright, with a snakeskin-covered sound box
o Modern version adds the yangqin
Hammered dulcimer with trapezoidal sound box strung with metal strings and struck with bamboo
Based on a pentatonic scale (D-E-G-A-B)
The melody is repeated 4 times, each with more ornamentation
Music for Films
1. Music has helped to create some of the most memorable moments in film history
2. The Role of Music in Film
o The most important function of music in film is to set a mood
o Supplying music that contradicts what is seen creates irony
Technique known as running counter to the action
o There are two principal types of music in a film
Underscoring: comes from an unseen source, often an invisible orchestra
Source music: functions as a part of the drama, from a logical source
o Leitmotifs create musical unity within the context of the drama
3. Music in the Silent Film Era
o Silent films were generally accompanied by solo piano or organ
Special organs were capable of producing effects (gunshots, animal noises, etc.)
Music was one of three types:
Classical music, arranged well-known tunes, and new music
4. The Sound Era
o The late 1930s is considered the Golden Age of films and film music
o Major composers of early Hollywood: Max Steiner, Eric Korngold (both Austrian)
Germany, France, and the Soviet Union also pursued filmmaking
Shostakovich was known as composer for Stalin's propaganda films
Prokofiev wrote 8 Soviet films (including Alexander Nevsky)
5. Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953): His Life and Music
o Russian composer, started his musical training in the conservatory at 13
Early success as a pianist and composer
o Emigrated to Paris after the Revolution of 1917
Frequently traveled across Europe and into the U.S.
o Returned to Russia
Accused by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of "bourgeois formalism" (influenced
by European modernism)
Was censored, and his music was removed from the repertory
His works found their way back into the concert hall nonetheless
o Died on March 5, 1953, one day after Stalin
6. Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky, Seventh Movement (Listening Guide 95)
o Sergei Eisenstein production, 1938
o Based on the life of a folk hero who defeated the Germans
o Prokofiev wrote the film score, later arranged it into a cantata
o The cantata has 7 movements
Scored for chorus, mezzo-soprano, and orchestra
Alexander's Entry into Pskov, movement 7
Triumphal return of conquering hero
7. The Postwar Years
o Financial constraints curtailed the lush symphonic score of the Golden Age
o Composers used popular genres as well as 20th-century art music
o Major composers of the postwar years: Bernard Herrmann, Miklós Rózsa
Rózsa used the Theremin was used to create eerie effects
o Later composers included Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein
o After the late 1940s, film music was newly composed or borrowed from Classical or popular repertory:
rock, country-western, and jazz
o In the 1950s, Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith emerged as film composers
8. Beyond Star Wars
o Star Wars (1977) revolutionized the industry in terms of visual and aural effects
o The score by John Williams was immensely popular
Incorporated full symphony orchestra, use of leitmotifs
o John Williams (b. 1932)
Wrote for television in the 1950s and 1960s
Began to compose for films in the 1960s
1970s successes
Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman
1980s, 1990s, and the present:
Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter films, Munich
o James Horner (b. 1953)
Studied in Los Angeles (University of Southern California, UCLA)
Successes include Star Trek II & III, Apollo 13, Titanic, etc.
o Synthesizers were a major part of the sound of 1980s film scores
Synthesizers are largely the domain of popular musicians
o Danny Elfman (b. 1953)
Founder of the rock group Oingo Boingo
Worked with director Tim Burton
Successful scores for many films
Beetlejuice, Batman, Men in Black, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
o Hans Zimmer (b. 1957)
Comes from a popular music background
Successes include: Rain Man, The Lion King, Gladiator, Pearl Harbor, Madagascar, Pirates of
the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
o Rachel Portman (b. 1960)
First woman to win an Academy Award for Best Music (Emma, 1996)
Successes include: The Joy Luck Club, The Cider House Rules, The Manchurian Candidate
o During the 1990s and into the 21st century, American composers of art music turned to film
John Corigliano, The Red Violin; Tan Dun, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Elliot Goldenthal,
o Minimalism made its way into film in the 1990s
The Matrix and The Hours with scores by Philip Glass
9. Williams: Raiders March, from Raiders of the Lost Ark (Listening Guide 96)
o Heard in its entirety during the closing credits of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Fashioned from two leitmotifs in the film (Indiana Jones and Marion)
o Three-part form (Indiana Jones theme, Marion's theme, Indiana Jones theme)
o Instrumentation and beat of a traditional march
Technology and Music
1. The Technological Revolution
o Two trends emerged simultaneously in the late 1940s and early 1950s
o Musique concrète: Paris-based movement headed by Pierre Schaeffer
Relied on recordings of natural sounds that were manipulated through external devices
The American offshoot of tape music incorporated artificially generated sounds
o Electronische Musik: Cologne-based movement headed by Herbert Eimert
Major proponent was Karlheinz Stockhausen
The heart of the system was the oscillator (electronic waveform generator)
Waveforms were subjected to many types of manipulation
o Eventually the many components were combined into a synthesizer
o Synthesizers
RCA first delivered the synthesizer in 1955
A second version was delivered to Columbia-Princeton's Electronic Music Center in 1959
o Robert Moog and Donald Buchla created a more compact and affordable synthesizer in the 1960s
o First electronic piece commissioned by a record company: Morton Subotnik's Silver Apples of the Moon
o Widespread popularity of the synthesizer came after the 1968 recording Switched-On Bach by Walter (later
Wendy) Carlos
o Digital frequency modulation synthesis replaced analog systems (developed by John Chowning at
Chowning sells rights to Yamaha—developed Yamaha DX7 (1983)
o Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) adopted in 1983
o Technology became affordable in the mid-1980s
o Digital samplers re-created realistic sounds of any noise
o Composers combined computer savvy with musical inspiration
o Hiller and Issacson's software MUSIC generated musical compositions (1956)
2. Important Figures in Electronic Music
o Edgard Varèse (1883-1965), French expatriate in the U.S.
Turned to electronic medium late in life
Poème electronique (1956-58)
Commissioned for a sound-and-light show at Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels
World's Fair
Consisted of electronic and concrète sounds recorded on a multi-channel tape
Pavilion was designed by Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis (who later became a
Music accompanied the lighting effects and projected images
The piece was played on more than 400 speakers in the pavilion
2 million people experienced the composition by the end of the World's Fair
o Mario Davidovsky (b. 1934)
Argentine-born American composer
Combines electronic sounds with live music
Director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York
Currently teaching at Harvard University
Best-known works: Synchronisms (1963-88)
o Milton Babbitt (b. 1916)
American composer
Composed at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center
Combined electronic music with live performers
Representative works: Philomel (1964), Phonemena (1974; soprano & tape)
o Pauline Oliveros (b. 1932)
American Composer
Helped found the San Francisco Tape Center; became director in 1966
Explores mixed media, multichannel tape and live performers
Known for experiments with live electronic music and "deep listening" perception process
3. Tod Machover (b. 1952) and Musical Interactivity
o A leader in the contemporary music scene
o Embraced technology as creative tool
o Spent five years as Director of Musical Research in Paris at IRCAM
o Explores American music styles (art and popular, including rock)
o Goal in music is to "make people pay attention and listen carefully"
o Professor of music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Creates "smart" computers that follow gestures and intentions of performers
Dextrous Hand Master
4. Machover: Hyperstring Trilogy: Begin Again Again . . . , excerpts (Listening Guide 97)
o Piece for solo cello, inspired by J. S. Bach's Cello Suite No. 2
Cellist is in control of an array of live computer electronics
o Written for Yo-Yo Ma, premiered at the Tanglewood Festival in 1991, recently revised
o Conceived as the first in a trilogy based on Dante's Divine Comedy
Explores the possibility of renewal after suffering
o Form is in two large parts, each with a theme and four variations
Some Current Trends
1. Highly intellectual music caused reactionary trends that seek immediate audience appeal
o Minimalism and New Romanticism are primary movements
2. Minimalism and Post-Minimalism
o Minimal art first found expression in painting and sculpture
o Composers of this style stripped their compositions down to the barest essentials
Features: repetition of melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic patterns with very little variation
o The listener's attention is focused on a few basic details
Turns away from the highly intellectual style of the serialists
Minimalists often incorporate non-Western ideas
Widely known composers of minimalism: Steve Reich (b. 1936), Philip Glass (b. 1937)
Spiritual minimalism: offshoot of minimalism
Mainly a European trend, deeply meditative
Nonpulsed music inspired by religious beliefs
Expressed in chains of lush modal or tonal progressions
Primary composers: Arvo Pärt, Henryk Górecki, John Taverner
3. Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) and Spiritual Minimalism
o Estonian composer
o Concert, film, and stage composer
o Explored 20th-century techniques (Neoclassicism, serialism)
o Religious convictions made life in the Soviet Union difficult
o Left for West Berlin
o Composes Latin and Orthodox Church choral music
o Created a new style called tintinnabulation (from the Latin word for ringing of bells)
4. Pärt: Cantate Domino canticum novum (Listening Guide 98)
o Inspired by medieval chant
o Latin text, based on Psalm 95
o Uses notation system similar to Gregorian chant, not traditional notation
o Scored for SATB chorus and organ
o Tintinnabular (bell) style
o Incorporates word painting
o Varied texture, use of counterpoint
5. John Adams (b. 1947) and Post-Minimalism
o American composer
o Educated at Harvard, steeped in serialism
o Influenced by rock music
o Moved to San Francisco
Advocate for contemporary music in the Bay Area
Taught at the San Francisco Conservatory
o Incorporates late Romantic expressive harmonies in minimalist music
o Often collaborates with director Peter Sellars
6. Adams: Tromba Lontana (Distant Trumpet) (Listening Guide 99)
o Short orchestral fanfare
One of two fanfares written in 1986
Short Ride in a Fast Machine = exuberant and propulsive
Tromba lontana = quiet and introspective
o Commissioned by the Houston Symphony
Includes 2 solo trumpets placed at opposite sides of the stage
o Evokes Eastern music with sues of crotales and string harmonics
o Mesmerizing, repetitive accompaniment in the orchestra
7. The New Romanticism
o New Romanticism is a reaction to the intellectual and alienating 12-tone movement
o New Romanticism favors a harmonic language from the late Romantic era
o Precursors to the movement include Samuel Barber, Ned Rorem
o John Corigliano (b. 1938) follows in this tradition
Composes in a wide variety of genres including film music (The Red Violin, 1999)
8. Libby Larsen (b. 1950) and the Musical Voice of Women
o One of very few composers making a living with music alone (not an academic position)
o Born in Delaware and raised in Minneapolis
Co-founded the Minnesota Composers' Forum
Now the American Composers' Forum
Key group in a time of limited support for the arts in the U. S.
o Has held some very diverse composer-in-residence positions
o Inspired largely by nature and writings of women
9. Larsen: Sonnets from the Portuguese, Nos. 5 and 6 (Listening Guide 100)
o Worked closely with singer Arleen Auger in composing this 6-song cycle
Auger premiered the work and the recording won a Grammy in 1994
Set to poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Love poems secretly written during the courtship with Robert Browning
Larsen describes the songs as "metaphor[s] of resolved and unresolved harmonies"
No. 5 "Oh, yes!" features:
Disjunct lines
Quick exchanges between solo voice and woodwinds
Alternation of speechlike quality with lyrical lines
Dissonance and chromaticism with reference to Musselmans and Giaours
No. 6 "How do I love thee?" features:
Free-flowing, arched lines according to the text
Expressive use of instruments
Subtle text-painting
The enjoyment of music depends on perceptive listening
Perceptive listening is achieved gradually, with practice and effort
Words are helpful insofar as they lead us to enjoy the music
Wisdom rests neither in dates nor in facts but only in the sounds themselves
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