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31. 20th. C.: Introduction; Stravinsky

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Peter Chun

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of 31. 20th. C.: Introduction; Stravinsky

20th C. Music
Modern Music
Contemporary Music
New Music
Avant Garde Music
“To study music, we must learn the rules. To create music, we must break them.”
—Nadia Boulanger
“The entire history of modern music may be said to be a history of the gradual pull-away from the German musical tradition of the past century.”
—Aaron Copland
Major Currents
Beginning of the 20th century marks a shift in thinking about the world and the arts
No longer single dominant aesthetic
Split between
continuation of ideals of the Romantic period
Traditionalists -
Modernists -
Wanting to BREAK from tradition
Escaping from refinement
Adopt primitive, uninhibited, and above all, spontaneous style
Modernism
Skepticism of
The old
Question
everything
Ex. Vassily Kandinsky, "Composition #4" (1911)
Music of the early 20th c.
Until c. 1908 most composing in Post-Romantic vein
As fin-de siecle phenomenon wears down, composers start looking for something new
One thing in common: Hyper-chromaticism of Wagner and other post- Romantics robbed functional tonality of order, meaning
So what now???
"-—isms"
Impressionism
Expressionism
Atonality
Neo-Classicism
Primitivism
Futurism
Major Musical Trends of the Early 20th C.
Stress the eerie, the grotesque, the nightmarish
Reflection of horror and despair
Ex. Edvard Munch, "The Scream" (1893)
Expressionist (later 12-tone) Composers
Arnold Schoenberg
Alban Berg
Anton Webern
Expressive harmony
Extreme ranges
Disjunct melodies
Musical characteristics
Fascination with non-Western culture
Rejection of artifice
Ex. Paul Gaugin, "Arearea" (1892, Tahiti)
Artistic rendering of machines, speed, industrialism, “modern world”
Ex. Umberto Boccioni, "Materia" (1912)
Return to aesthetics of 18th c. Classicism
“Back to Bach”
More objective style - attempt to divorce music from emotional content
Looking at structure of
non-Western music—not tonal
Many composers particularly attracted to rhythmic qualities of non-Western music
Polytonality
some common ideas
Experimentation with new scales
New ideas about melody
Short motives as the basis for “melodic” line
dissonance
Extreme dissonances
No obligation to resolve
“Every dissonance doesn’t have to resolve if it doesn’t happen to feel like it, any more than every horse should have its tail bobbed just because it’s the prevailing fashion.”
—George Ives, to his son Charles
Igor Stravinsky
(1882-1971)

“I hold that it was a mistake to consider me a revolutionary. If one only need break habit in order to be labeled a revolutionary, then every artist who has something to say and who in order to say it steps outside the bounds of established convention could be considered revolutionary.”
—Igor Stravinsky
Born near St. Petersburg, Russia
Learns music from very early age
Early success composing works for Ballet Russe (Paris), headed by Serge Diaghilev
Firebird
Petrushka
"Le Sacre du Printemps" ("The Rite of Spring")
early Style
Combines Russian nationalism, primitivism, and polytonality
Sets up expectations, then doesn’t fulfill
New use of rhythm
irregular and shifting
Percussiveness for own sake
Rhythm independent of meter
Additive basis for composition (structure)
Exoticism
Melodically
Short motives repeated and slowly changed = motivic cells
Feature of Russian folk music
Formally
Strings short sections together
Based on rather loose plot
Idea of pagan celebration of the beginning of spring
Religious ritual to ensure fertility, acknowledge change of seasons
Coming together of various tribes
Culminates in sacrifice of young girl to God of Spring
Completely revolutionary in its time
Harmony - not really tonal
Very dissonant
Percussive effect of notes more important than melody
Shifting meters
“Mild protests against the music could be heard from the very beginning of the performance... The uproar continued, however, and a few minutes later I left the hall in a rage…. I have never again been that angry. The music was so familiar to me; I loved it, and I could not understand why people who had not yet heard it wanted to protest in advance.”
20th. Century
Full transcript