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20th-21st Century Art Music
Transcript of 20th-21st Century Art Music
(cc) image by jantik on Flickr
20th - 21st Century Art Music
19th century- 1920s
Began in 1930s
Modernism in the 1900's
Began in 1975
associated with WWI
Many critics consider F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby (1923) the best novel of the twentieth century.
Modernism lasted about forty years and includes authors such as T.S. Elliot, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, William Faulkner, Joseph Conrad etc.
The Holocaust of World War II inspired many works by actual survivors, including Night by Elie Wiesel.
Writers who identified as “modernists” reflected this new sense of isolation and displacement in their works.
Women and minority voices became more prominent in the 1930s and afterward.
The Beat Generation began in the late 1940s and writers reflected the growing trend of anti-conformist thought.
Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird during the beginning of the Civil Rights era, exploring the moral nature of humans.
Thematically, the social upheavals of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s—particularly the civil rights and women's movements, gay liberation, and the AIDS crisis—provided impetus for new plays that explored the lives of minorities and women. Beginning with Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (1959), drama by and about African Americans emerged as a significant theatrical trend.
After World War I, Western drama became more internationally unified and less the product of separate national literary traditions
An important movement in early 20th-century drama was expressionism. Expressionist playwrights tried to convey the dehumanizing aspects of 20th-century technological society through such devices as minimal scenery, telegraphic dialogue and characters portrayed as types rather than individuals.
Began at the turn of the century originating in Paris, France.
Afternoon of a Faun
This piece introduced the whole-tone scale, Octatonic scale, the 'illegal' tri-tones. Caused scandal as the character in the Opera masturbates on stage.
Arnold Schoenberg began the 12-tone technique, which was important in the expressionism phase. Igor Stravinsky used this technique further (sometimes also called Bach on the Wrong Notes). He also used styles from neoclassical and neo-baroque forms in his piece “The Rite of Spring”.
**On the premiere of this ballet, listeners stormed out of the concert hall after the first note because the high register of the bassoon seemed like a misuse of the instrument. All throughout the performance, the performers were booed because of their primitive rhythm and scandalous outfits. The crowd later attacked the performers. However, the piece gained popularity with time and became one of the most influential works of the 20th century composed.
Composers turned to previous centuries for their inspiration to draw elements such as form, harmony, melody, and structure. It was an anti-progress, anti-industrial and anti-innovative musical style.
Strauss' Salome contains complex Poly chords and harmonic suspensions. A more traditional element Strauss draws from were the cadential resolutions. It is easily recognizable through its leit motif and the beginnings tri-tone based Clarinet scale.
Right at the beginning of the 20th Century Schoenberg moved to Berlin to become Musical Director at Uberbretti Cabaret. As more and more cabarets and dance halls were built, new music was created by composers like Schoenberg. A range on new dances were born to suit the new styles of music, an example being Ragtime and Jazz music; swung and syncopated.
A selection of key compositions from this time:
3 Places in New England
, 1914. These pieces display his adaptations of ragtime and electric textures of paraphrase and quotation.
1918 and Milhaud's
La Creation du Monde
1923. These traditionally classical composers were influenced throughout these work by Jazz which was prominent in France.
Original Dixieland Jazz Band's
Jelly Roll Blues
Livery Stable Blues
Darktown Strutter's Ball.
This band in New Orleans created some of the first Jazz record releases.
World War I came to an end, prohibition was passed and things started to spiral a little out of control.
Composers were influenced by the war similarly.
The mood of this decade was fun and energetic, which ended with the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
(1914-18) composed at the beginning of the war includes graphic portrayals of militarism (Mars) and peace (Venus), and was used for a patriotic hymn (Jupiter: The hymn
1914-18: World War I
(20 million casualties)
1939-45: World War II
(55 million casualties)
1964-73: USA-Vietnam war
(3 million casualties)
The Early 20th century was a time of rapid innovation and technological advances. Einstein had recently published his theory of relativity and the radio was becoming more and more practical. This led to the music of this time to mirror this philosophy.
Ich Darf Nicht Dankend
Year of the Soul
was composed in 1907. It contributed to the revolution of Atonality as well as the use of vagrant chords and the twelve-tone feature. Inspiration was taken from poet Stefan George.
String Quartet No. 2
1910-1919 was the time of the First World War. Music, in turn reacted to the distress of this with dominating Composers such as; Elgar, Schoenberg, Strauss and multiple others.
This was the beginning of the Russian revolution in 1917, the Spanish flu eruption both contributing to the early development of the Soviet Union.
Another monumental moment was the sinking of the Titanic; supplied with barrels or alcohol to be transported as the starting point of prohibition.
As the 20th Century birthed, composing massive stately symphonies was very much in fashion. Elgar's first Symphony from 1908 held a very direct and intentional melodic line, as well as a march-like bass line.
The Rite of Spring
in 1913 was performed in the brand new Paris venue
Theatre des Champs-Elysees.
The piece introduced exoticism, complex polyrhythmns, which ultimately let to a riot which the police had to break up
This decade the popular Disney cartoon Mickey Mouse makes his first musical appearance as well as the Charleston compositions are now being made. These enlightening firsts made the 1920's a more inspiriting decade.
The Jazz music style was born through African culture and its slavery history. Consequently, the swung, syncopated rhythms were combined with the African call and response style. This new style of music becomes instantly popular, subsequently making appearances into classical art music entirely.
The 1930’s show the Great Depression, a worldwide economic slump that nearly brings the worlds economy down. This economic struggle causes the Nazis to rise to power and a Mass migration.
However it is in this decade that Franklin Roosevelt Pioneers the use of the radio with his fireside chats. Many more people are tuning into the radio, making music much more readily available to the masses. The radio broadcasts bring classical music to the people in a way that has never been utilized before.
The radio is also able to broadcast a new jazz-derivative, Swing.
The 1940’s turn into WWII for the United states. This period is long and drawn out, with little musical change during the decade as the majority of the Country is focused towards the war effort.
Big Band's loud brass sound, brought comfort to homes that were immersed in one of the darkest periods of the country’s history.
This time in particular, is when popular music really starts. Commercialization of music, Rock and Roll and other genres. While this does mark a major period of change in the music industry, classical music continues to stay relatively similar during this time period.
The major transitions of the 1900’s Art Music displays the great variety of the 20th and 21st Century. The development of music works side by side with the development of the world at this time, and shows how closely related key social aspects and the music truly are.
From 1960- 70 marks a period of rapid social change in the United States. Drugs and Free Love campaigns are challenging against a very strict societal and familial structure.
It is amazing however, that instead of embracing the rock and roll culture or coinciding with the many progressive movements of the time period, many classical musicians try to revert music back to a very simple structure.
Minimalists like Terry Riley use simple repetition and thick texture to create emotion in his music. The mix of sounds embodies the tension of the decade. The overlap of so many instruments playing at the same time, creates a harsh feeling of the mood and atmosphere of rapid social change.
Break dancing began in the ‘70s as a street dance, but evolved into it’s own style in the ‘80s. Break dancing was created with hip hop influences. The ‘90s was a huge decade for boy bands; to name a few:
Boys II Men
New kids on the block
The “Impression” painting by Claude Monet was the basis for the movement Impressionism. The world was seen in terms of colour and light rather than depth and volume. Impressionism was ultimately the reaction of Romanticism and was mainly influenced my the rising stature of science and photography.
As advertising started to expand, artists started to incorporate ads into their art. Andy Warhol was the main Artist in the Pop Art movement. One of his most famous paintings is the Campbell’s soup can. This proves how influential media and advertising became.
Russian Artist, Kandinsky was a key inspirational figure to numerous composers, e.g Schoenberg. Kandinsky started to move away from the Representationalism in Art. It became increasingly non-figurative as the shapes and colours dominate the paintings.
In 1911, Schoenberg wrote his Opera
. It was one of the first
pieces to introduce Atonality using
eerie fluttering melodies. It contained
short, pointillistic phrases, with a
restricted set of pitches however. The
muted dynamics help bring forward the
Sprechgesang (speech-like singing)
in a modernistic manner.
List of works consulted
Spencer, Mel. "Twentieth Century Music: Where to start." Classic fm (n.d) Accessed 5 April, 2016.
Vaslav Nijinsky (choreographer), Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune to music by Claude DeBussy. Excerpt from film Nijinsky, dir. Herbert Ross. Paramount Pictures, 1980.
Pfeiffer, Iris. "Zwei Leider fur Gesang und Klavier (Two Songs for Voice and Piano) Op.14 (1907/08)" Rev. of " ". by Belont Music Publishers. Perf. Karl Henckell. n.d. 24 July, 2009.
Jansen, HW, Jansen, Af and Marmer, M. History of Art. New York: Schrimer, 1986.
Futurism: Visual Arts Movement.
Russolo's 1913 futurist music manifesto,
The Art of Noises arguing that the new urban industrial soundscape requires new, nose based music.