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20th Century Music- Nat 5

Scottish National Qualifications
by

Elise Haller-Shannon

on 26 September 2016

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Transcript of 20th Century Music- Nat 5

20th
century

national 5
music
20th century
minimalism
Minimalism - when a work is stripped down to it's most fundamental feature.
In music it is an avant-garde movement, which is characterised by very short melodic and/or rhythmic figures which are constantly repeated with very slight changes.
The following video uses the basic concepts of minimalism
(b. 1936)
Steve Reich
(b. 1936)
Steve Reich, a Grammy Award-winning American composer, is one of the most innovative and pioneering composers of minimal music.
His composition techniques include using
tape loops
to create phasing patterns, e.g. one of his earliest compositions,
'It's Gonna Rain'
.
'Clapping Music'
by Steve Reich is a composition written for two performers, which is performed entirely by clapping.
In this piece one performer claps a basic rhythm and the other performer claps the same rhythm, but after every 8 or 12 bars the second performer
shifts by one quaver to the right
.
This continues until the second performer has shifted 12 quavers to the right and is playing the rhythm in
unison
with the first player again.
Some of the most well known composers of minimalist music are
Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Cage and Terry Riley.
20th Century
Another influential composer of the 20th century was Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951).
atonality
Schoenberg was born in Vienna to Jewish parents. During the war the Nazi party condemned his music as
degenerate art
.
He started writing
atonal
music when his wife left him for his friend who was an artist.
Atonal music has no feeling of key (major or minor) and is usually very dissonant.
His approach to composition, both in terms of
harmony and

development
, is among the major landmarks of 20th-century musical thought.
Peripetie
‘Peripetie’ is the 4th movement from 'Five Orchestral Pieces' - an atonal expressionist work by Schoenberg.
‘Peripetie’ is Greek for ‘sudden changes’ or 'a sudden change of fortune'.
As you listen to the music see if you can think of why this name is appropriate. Pay special attention to the

timbre

and

texture
.
Schoenberg described this piece as "a vivid, uninterrupted succession of colours and moods".
A term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany to describe almost all modern art. Degenerate art was banned on the grounds that it was 'un-German' or 'Jewish' in nature.
Cracked Automatic
Cracked automatic is an
aleatoric
piece written for laptop and ensemble by Glasgow based composer, Nick Fells.
It's a process of taking an arbitrary pattern of numbers representing number of beats (3 beats, 5 beats, 5 beats etc), and then repeating that pattern but diminishing it by one each time.
The challenge in the piece is...
The second repeat has one less number, taken from the beginning of the pattern; so 3 5 5 4 becomes 5 5 4 becomes 5 4 etc.
a) To keep track of where you are
b) To up the tempo to something exciting
c) To choose other additional constraints that make interesting sound patterns across the ensemble (e.g. constraints like 'every fifth sound should be a long one', or 'alternate high and low sounds on your instrument' etc)
It is a case of trial and error until you find something that 'works'!
You are going to play this piece as a class on your chosen instrument.
Each of you will pick a line to start at and follow the 'bars' to the end. Once you get to the bottom you stop.
You should only play on the
first beat
of each bar
(unless you choose to lengthen the notes)
.
When this piece was originally performed the laptop kept the pulse with a ticking sound - somebody could keep the pulse on a hi-hat to keep the class in time.
This piece integrates a heterophonic melody line.
Heterophony - The simultaneous playing or singing of two or more versions of a melody.
Peripetie contains a lot of
chord clusters
-
groups of notes which clash when played together.
Aleatory or Chance/Choice Music
Aleatory music (from Latin, 'alea', a dice) makes for unpredictability either in the composing process, in performance, or both.
Full transcript