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20th Century Classical Music Timeline
Transcript of 20th Century Classical Music Timeline
19th century- 1920s 1915 1930 1945 1960 1975 1990 2000s START Postmodernism
Began in 1930s Modernism
Became popular in 1913 Minimalism
Began in 1975 : ) Expressionism
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 Vladmir Nabakov (Russia), James Joyce (Ireland), Virginia Woolf (England), and Ernest Hemingway (American). 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, talking machines, and characters portrayed as types rather than individuals.
German Bertolt Brecht wrote dramas of ideas, usually promulgating socialist or Marxist theory. In order to make his audience more intellectually receptive to his theses, he endeavored—by using expressionist techniques—to make them continually aware that they were watching a play, not vicariously experiencing reality. started at the turn of the century originating in Paris, France. It was viewed as opposing conventional means. Claude Debussy- (August 1862 through March 1918) French composer
He was one of the most prominent in his field working with impressionist music although he himself did not approve of the term “impressionism” because he was trying to create something different and didn’t want it labeled. Arnold Schoenberg began the 12-tone technique, which was important in the expressionism phase. This technique uses all 12 notes of chromatic scale evenly and avoids being in a key. 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. Igor Stravinsky- (June 1882- April 1971) Russian/French/American composer
Brought up in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Stravinsky was very enthusiastic about music but was expected to be a lawyer by his parents. He enrolled in law school but rarely went to class preferring to take private music lessons and compose his first pieces. 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. This was inspired by composers claiming that mankind is inherently "diatonic" and "tonal" ; the opposite of ultra-modernist musical influences and compositions at the time. Erik Satie- (May 1866- July 1925) French composer and pianist
Satie was born in London and soon after his mother’s death took his first music lessons from a local organist. He was in and out of musical conservatories and discharged himself from the military by deliberately contracting bronchitis. Soon after he started writing music. Often tried to create everyday sounds in a future context. The process of extending musical vocabulary by exploring all available tones was pushed further by the use of microtones. Microtones are on intervals smaller than semitones. Human voices and unfretted notes can play microtones but pianos and organs cannot. **If you were listening, you probably caught the trembling effect called a tremolando. On a percussion instrument, this would sound like a roll. It’s a fight between discordance and traditional tones. Charles Ives (October 1874- May 1954) American Modernist Composer
He was born in Danbury, Connecticut to an Army bandleader in the American Civil War. Ives’ talent was ignored for most of his adult life and many of his works went unperformed for many years. John Cage (September 1912- August 1992) American composer and music theorist
Cage was born in Los Angeles, California to a deeply patriotic family. His first experiences with music were piano lessons, which furthered his interest for the field. Cage was considered influential in the creation of modern dance as well as his musical talents.
The trademark feature of John Cage’s music were his elements of chance. Things like indeterminancy and aleatoric are when sounds differentiate from expectation. He also used stochastic music which is music generated by mathematical processes and computers produce the scores. Electroacoustic music is the use of synthesizers and machines to produce sounds. About 1913 ballrooms the Tango took over the ballroom. Many cities banned the Tango in public venues. After the Tango, the Foxtrot became the new craze because it combined fast and slow steps, which made it simple and flexible. However, this huge dance craze became largely overshadowed when World War I began. Americans became more exposed to new music and dance, as the popularity of cabarets and dance halls grew. This brought people of all classes and backgrounds together.
Before dance halls and cabarets became boomed with popularity, evenings were spent in ballrooms with more modest dancing, such as the waltz and the polka. Dances, such as the two-step, were simple, enjoyable for both men and women, and for people of every social class. Ragtime music, with its syncopation, made dancing fun and it became a popular craze of this time.
This change in music was seen as an outrage. Dance halls and public dancing were referred to as "paths to hell”. More conservative people disapproved of unchaperoned co-ed dancing.
New dances jumped into the scene such as the Turkey Trot, Grizzly Bear, Bunny Hug, and the Chicken Scratch. The dance floor was figuratively turning into a barnyard. This stemmed from ragtime music and the black community. These dances were made up of “shoulder shaking, slouching, and tight embrace” whereas elegant European classes were quiet, dignified, and elegant. Dance teachers hated these new obscene and vulgar dances.
This “problem” was solved by bringing in new and more civilized dances like ballroom dancing
Spaces were made in every restaurant for dancing, afternoon "Tea Dances” became all the rage. The One-Step made its way to ballrooms about 1910. “The One-Step was quick and lively, giving the appearance of a jaunty walk”. After World War I, prohibition was passed and things started to spiral a little out of control. Prohibition caused people to be more reckless and search for fun. Jazz and blues became popular, and the jazz dancing that came along with it. Jazz and jazz dancing was hated by many conservative people.
The Charleston was brought into popularity by the all black cast of a show called "Runnin' Wild." Tin Pan Alley started creating many Charleston tunes. Dance halls and hotels started having Charleston contests; so many new variations of the dance were made. The Charleston became so popular that Hospitals reported increasing numbers of patients who complained of "Charleston knee."
Stodgier ballrooms tried to discourage the frenetic Charleston all together, or at the least posted signs that read simply, "PCQ" - "Please Charleston Quietly”.
The mood of this decade was fun and energetic, which ended with the Stock Market Crash of 1929. 1914-18: World War I
(20 million casualties) 1939-45: World War II
(55 million casualties) 1964-73: USA-Vietnam war
(3 million casualties) With the great depression coming into play, Americans used dance as a form of escape from the economic realities. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers became huge Hollywood dance stars, and the moves that they performed were simplified and taught to couples across America. Their films brought a new interest to ballroom dancing. Couples couldn’t afford to go to night clubs during the Depression, so they would dance in their living rooms to their record player or radio.
The dance that most typifies the 1930s is Swing. Swing dancing started in Harlem in the late ‘20s/early 30s. It started because of black dancers improvising new moves to fast jazz. Swing dance encouraged partners to separate and improvise. Early Swing was called Lindy Hop because of Charles Lindbergh's "hop" across the Atlantic. During WWII American G.I.'s spread the Lindy Hop to Europe. Swing was also called Jitterbug because black dancers referred to the less talented white dancers as “jitterbugs”. The most common dances from the 1970s are from the disco and punk genres, and even though these genres are extremely different, both gained popularity. Disco involves flashy, colorful lights and tight clothes, while punk style is dark, aggressive, and rebellious.
Punk began with British bands such as The Clash. Common dances from the 1970s punk scene are the Mosh and the Pogo. Moshing includes "head banging," "body-slamming," and other aggressive contact. The goal isn’t to harm others, but because of how much physical contact there is, people often get hurt while moshing.
Songs such as "Pogo Dancing" by The Vibrators helped the Pogo become one of the most common dances from the ‘70s. The Pogo is jumping up and down off the floor and landing in the same spot you jumped from. The jumping goes along with the beat of the music. The 1940s included a lot of mixing dances together . A lot of dances were creatively combined: ballet was fused with modern dance; modern dance with burlesque and vaudeville. Jazz, tap, and swing music influenced everything; popular dances as well as dance moves from Harlem nightclubs, such as the jitterbug, made their way to the Broadway stage and other performance halls.
Many new dances were created from the 1950s to the 1970s. Dances became popular in the bigger cities first because of the club scenes. Among these new dance crazes were the Twist, the Watusi, and the Shake.
As pop music grew in the late 50s, many dances were written for popular songs, and many of the songs during this time were purposefully written to create new dance styles. Examples would be “Mashed Potato Time” and “The Loco-Motion”.
In the early ‘60s, Chubby Checker recreated Hank Ballard’s song “The Twist”, which became one of the most popular songs in the nation and even became well known throughout the world. The dance, which shares the name with the song, became the first major international rock and roll style of dance where the couples dancing did not have to touch each other. The Early 20th century was a time of rapid innovation and technological advances. Einstein had recently published his theory of relativity; the radio was becoming more and more practical, and the Wright brothers showed their first flight at Kitty Hawk.
These innovations, along with a growing sense of a new world that came with these advances at the turn of the century inspired new types of music invented to mirror this philosophy.
Schoenberg and his atonal music challenged the traditions instilled with the romantic period. He renewed the use of a twelve-tone style that challenged the use of traditional major and minor keys. Meanwhile, the French developed an avant-garde style that furthered this idea of new ideas. Prepared pianos, or pianos with objects placed in them to create a different sound, were used to further push the envelope in terms of musical innovation. 1910-1919 was a difficult period for the world, with the majority of the period dominated with the repercussions of the First World War.
However, this decade also saw the beginnings of prohibition the crashing of the unsinkable ship, the titanic, as well as the Spanish flu outbreak.
Along with these struggles, the Russian revolution began, ultimately serving as the first steps towards the formation of the Soviet Union.
This decade of morose outcomes somewhat stifled musical innovation, especially in Russia. At Igor Stravinsky’s premiere of “The Rite of Spring,” an admittedly harsh piece, with multiple examples of dissonance and polyrhythms, there were riots and fistfights reported. The piece could not continue its second act until armed police arrived on scene. As Russia matured into the Soviet Union, creativity ultimately ceased to exist forcing Russian musicians to stick to traditional motifs and melodies. The 1920’s were a much more uplifting decade and featured a variety of cultural firsts.
It was in this decade that “it all started with a mouse” as the popular Disney cartoon Mickey Mouse makes his first musical appearance. Speakeasies and the Charleston come to life, along with the short skirts and the new voices that accompanied the women’s suffrage.
Along with the new voices of women, another voice that has been frequently ignored is beginning to make its way into the mainstream.
Jazz is sweeping the nation by storm. A combination of African rhythm and call and response style along with the blue notes mixed with European musical elements emphasize the United States “Melting Pot culture.” This new style of music becomes an instant sensation, and even at time makes its way to the classical stage.
George Gershwen takes elements of this style and infuses them into traditional styles, particularly in his piece “Rhapsody in Blue.” The 1930’s show the Great Depression, a worldwide economic slump that nearly brings the worlds economy to its knees. 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. With its bold new dance style, it quickly becomes a sensation amongst younger people. 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.
However, Big band music is able to make a stand. With its loud brass sound, it brings comfort to homes that are immersed in one of the darkest periods of the country’s history.
The 1950’s mark a new period in American history. As the country returns home from war, and soldiers continue return to education with the GI bill, the standard of living greatly increases for the average American.
TV is becoming affordable for the standard citizen, and along with it, the Ed Sullivan Show, serving as a stepping off point for some of the most prominent musical figures of the time.
This time in particular, is when popular music really starts. Commercialization of music, Rock and Roll and other genres, begin to lay the groundwork for the Music industry as it stands today. 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 classical music showcase the great variety of the era. The development of music works side by side with the development of the world at this time, and shows how closely related social reform and the music that defines a generation ultimately are. From 1960- 70 marks a period of rapid social change in the United States. Drugs and Free Love campaigns rock the boat against a very strict societal and familial structure and the clash is catastrophic.
The Vietnam War creates a strict dichotomy in the general population. The Civil Rights movement brings to light several voices that haven’t been expressed in the countries history. JFK is assassinated, along with Dr. Martin Luther King , leaving the country in shock.
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 reverted to simple repetition and lots of texture to create emotion in his music. While very simple, and minimally structured, the mix of sounds seems to create a clash that seems to embody the tension of the decade. The overlap of so many instruments plying at the same time, creates a harsh feeling that seamlessly coalesces with the mood and atmosphere of rapid social change. Break dancing the biggest dance craze of the early 80s. 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. Most break dancing moves call for a lot of physical strength. Often, break dancing involves a “battle” between two dancers to see who can do bigger and better moves.
In the ‘90s, synchronized dancing became widespread. The ‘90s was a huge decade for boy bands. From ‘Nsync to the Backstreet Boys, synchronized, choreographed dancing was seen everywhere. Besides dances done by boy bands, synchronized dancing was also seen with the popular song “Macarena” in the mid ‘90s. One last popular dance that came out in the late ‘90s was the ChaCha slide. Claude Monet’s painting “Impression” was the basis for the movement Impressionism. Impressionist paintings usually captured the overall essence instead of focusing on fine details. The different colors were kept side by side instead of blending. Another aspect included natural light being a main emphasis by focusing attention on the reflection of colors from object to object. As advertising started to expand, artists started to incorporate ads into their art. The main artist behind this movement (called pop art) was Andy Warhol. One of his most famous paintings is the Campbell’s soup can. Some of the most expensive pieces were created by Andy Warhol. This proves how influential media and advertising became. Picasso was one of the main founders of the movement known as Cubism. In Cubism, objects were broken up and then reassembled to create an abstract piece. Multiple viewpoints were used to represent the subject instead of focusing on only one view. The invention of steel lead to the improvement and stability of skyscrapers. Skyscrapers were seen as sign of power. Whatever country had the tallest building was the best. Stalin commissioned eight massive skyscrapers to try and show dominance. Seven of the eight were eventually built. Another example is the Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea which suffered several delays until it was eventually stopped in 1992 following the fall of the Soviet Union. Frank Lloyd Wright is known as one of the best architects of the 20th century. His work includes over 1,000 designs and 500 completed projects. He designs were in harmony with its environment which made him an organic architect. His best work is “Falling Water” which has been called the “best all-time work of American architecture” by the American Institute of Architects.