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Other innovative musical styles arose within

the 20th century. Among these were the


following:
PRIMITIVISM
NEO-CLASSICISM
AVANT-GARDE MUSIC
MODERN NATIONALISM
Primitivistic Music is tonal
through the asserting of one note as
more important than the others. New
sounds are synthesized from old ones
by juxtaposing two simple events to
create a more complex new event.
•In music, exoticism is a genre in which
the rhythms, melodies, or instrumentation
are designed to evoke (BRING OR
RECALL) the atmosphere of far-off lands
or ancient times.
Primitivism has links to
Exoticism through the use of
materials from other cultures
•An emphasis upon ethnic identity.
PRIMITIVISM links to ETHNICISM
through the use of materials from
European ethnic groups
Bela Bartok was born in
on , to
musical parents. He started piano lessons with his
mother and later entered
in 1899.He was
by the performance of
to write his first nationalistic
poem, Kossuth in 1903. He was a concert pianist as
he travelled exploring the music of Hungarian
peasants.
Bartok is for his
It
represents the greatest achievement
of his creative life, spanning a full 30
years for their completion. The six
works combine difficult and dissonant
music with mysterious sounds.
The a five-
movement work composed late in Bartok’s life,
features the exceptional talents of its various
soloists in an intricately (complicated or detailed)
constructed piece. The short and popular
(1911) for solo piano is punctuated with
swirling rhythms and percussive chords, while
(1926–1939), a set of six books
containing progressive technical piano pieces,
introduced and familiarized the piano student with
contemporary harmony and rhythm.
His musical compositions total more or less
which include ,
, ,
, , ,
and . In , the political
developments in Hungary led Bartok to
migrate to the United States, where he
on in
Neo-classicism was a moderating
factor between the emotional
excesses of the Romantic period
and the violent impulses of the
soul in expressionism.
The
was also used by composers
such as ,

, and
.
is regarded today
as a combination of neo- ,
, and
composer. His style is uniquely
recognizable for its progressive
technique, pulsating rhythms,
melodic directness, and a resolving
dissonance.
SERGEI PROKOFIEFF (1891–1953)
Sergei Prokofieff is regarded today as a combination of
neo-classicist, nationalist, and avant garde composer. His
style is uniquely recognizable for its progressive
technique, pulsating rhythms, melodic directness, and a
resolving dissonance.
Born in the Ukraine in 1891, Prokofieff set out for the St.
Petersburg Conservatory equipped with his great talent as
a composer and pianist. His early compositions were
branded as avant garde and were not approved of by his
elders, he continued to follow his stylistic path as he fled to
other places for hopefully better acceptance of his
creativity.
Born in the , Prokofieff set
out for the
equipped with his great talent as a composer
and pianist. His early compositions were
branded as avant garde and were not
approved of by his elders, he continued to
follow his stylistic path as he fled to other
places for hopefully better acceptance of his
creativity.
His contacts with Diaghilev and Stravinsky gave him the
chance to write music for the ballet and opera, notably
the ballet Romeo and Juliet and the opera War and Peace.
Much of Prokofieff’s opera was left unfinished, due in
part to resistance by the performers themselves to the
seemingly offensive musical content. He became prolific
in writing symphonies, chamber music, concerti, and solo
instrumental music. He also wrote Peter and the Wolf, a
lighthearted orchestral work intended for children, to
appease the continuing government crackdown on avant
garde composers at the time.
He was highly successful in his piano music, as evidenced
by the wide acceptance of his piano concerti and sonatas,
featuring toccata-like rhythms and biting harmonic
dissonance within a classical form and structure. Other
significant compositions include the Symphony no. 1 (also
called Classical Symphony), his most accessible orchestral
work linked to the combined styles of classicists Haydn
and Mozart and neo-classicist Stravinsky. He also
composed violin sonatas, some of which are also
performed on the flute, two highly regarded violin
concerti, and two string quartets inspired by Beethoven.
Prokofieff’s musical compositions
include concerti, chamber music,
filmscores, operas, ballets, and
official pieces for state occasions.
He died in Moscow on March 15,
1953.
FRANCIS POULENC (1899–1963)

One of the relatively few


composers born into wealth
and a privileged social position,
the neo-classicist Francis Jean
Marcel Poulenc was a member
of the group of young French
composers known as “Les Six.”
Poulenc was a successful composer for piano, voice, and choral
music. His output included the harpsichord concerto, known as
Concert Champetre (1928); the Concerto for Two Pianos (1932),
which combined the classical touches of Mozart with a
refreshing mixture of wit and exoticism in the style of Ravel; and
a Concerto for Solo Piano (1949) written for the Boston
SymphonyOrchestra. Poulenc’s vocal output, meanwhile,
revealed his strength as a lyrical melodist. His opera works
included Les Mamelles de Tiresias (1944), which revealed his
light-hearted character; Dialogues des Carmelites (1956), which
highlighted his conservative writing style; and La Voix Humane
(1958), which reflected his own turbulent emotional life.
Poulenc’s choral works tended to be more somber and
solemn, as portrayed by Litanies a la vierge noire (Litanies
of the Black Madonna, 1936), with its monophony, simple
harmony, and startling dissonance; and Stabat Mater
(1950), which carried a Baroque solemnity with a prevailing
style of unison singing and repetition. Poulenc’s musical
compositions total around 185 which include solo piano
works, as well as vocal solos, known as melodies, which
highlighted many aspects of his temperament in his avant
garde style. He died in Paris on January 30, 1963.
Other members of “Les Six”
• GEORGES AURIC (1899–1983) wrote music for the movies and rhythmic
music with lots of energy.
• LOUIS DUREY (1888–1979) used traditional ways of composing and wrote
in his own, personal way, not wanting to follow form.
• ARTHUR HONEGGER (1882–1955) liked chamber music and the
symphony. His popular piece Pacific 231 describes a train journey on the
Canadian Pacific Railway.
• DARIUS MILHAUD (1892–1974) was a very talented composer who wrote
in several different styles. His love of jazz can be heard in popular pieces like
Le Boeuf sur le Toit which he called a cinema-symphony.
• GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892–1983) was the only female in the group.
She liked to use dance rhythms. She loved children and animals and wrote
many works about them. She also wrote operas, concerti, and many works
for the piano.
Avant-Garde Music
Closely associated with electronic music, the avant-garde
movement dealt with the parameters or the dimensions of sound in
space. The avant-garde style exhibited a new attitude toward
musical mobility, whereby the order of note groups could be
varied so that musical continuity could be altered. Improvisation
was a necessity in this style, for the musical scores were not
necessarily followed as written. For example, one could expect a
piece to be read by a performer from left to right or vice versa. Or
the performer might turn the score over, and go on dabbling
indefinitely in whatever order before returning to the starting
point.
From the United States, there were avant-garde composers such as
George Gershwin and John Cage with their truly unconventional
composition techniques; Leonard Bernstein with his famed stage
musicals and his music lectures for young people; and Philip Glass
with his minimalist compositions. Through their works, these
composers truly extended the boundaries of what music was
thought to be in earlier periods. The unconventional methods of
sound and form, as well as the absence of traditional rules
governing harmony, melody, and rhythm, make the whole concept
of avant-garde music still so strange to ears accustomed to
traditional compositions. Composers who used this style include
Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Phillip Glass, Leonard Bernstein,
George Gershwin, and Pierre Boulez.
GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898–1937)

GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898–1937)-


born in NewYork to Russian Jewish
immigrants. His older brother Ira was his
artistic collaborator who wrote the lyrics
of his songs. His first song was written in
1916 and his first Broadway musical La
La Lucille in 1919.
From that time on, Gershwin’s name became a fixture on
Broadway. He also composed Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and
An American in Paris (1928), which incorporated jazz
rhythms with classical forms. His opera Porgy and Bess
(1934) remains to this day the only American opera to be
included in the established repertory of this genre. In
spite of his commercial success, Gershwin was more
fascinated with classical music. He was influenced by
Ravel, Stravinsky, Berg, and Schoenberg, as well as the
group of contemporary French composers known as “Les
Six” that would shape the character of his major works—
half jazz and half classical.
Gershwin’s melodic gift was considered phenomenal, as
evidenced by his numerous songs of wide appeal. He is a true
“crossover artist,” in the sense that his serious compositions
remain highly popular in the classical repertoire, as his stage and
film songs continue to be jazz and vocal standards. Considered
the “Father ofAmerican Jazz,” his “mixture of the primitive and
the sophisticated” gave his music an appeal that has lasted long
after his death. His musical compositions total around 369which
include orchestral music, chambermusic, musical theatre, film
musicals, operas, and songs. He died in Hollywood, California,
U.S.A. on July 11, 1937.
LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918–1990)
LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918–1990)
Born in Massachussetts, USA, Leonard
Bernstein endeared himself to his many
followers as a charismatic conductor,
pianist, composer, and lecturer. His big
break came when he was asked to
substitute for the ailing Bruno Walter in
conducting the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra in a concert on November 14,
1943. The overnight success of this event
started his reputation as a great
interpreter of the classics as well as of the
more complex works of Gustav Mahler.
Bernstein is best known for his compositions for the stage. Foremost among
these is the musical West Side Story (1957), an American version of Romeo
and Juliet, which displays a tuneful, off-beat, and highly atonal approach to
the songs. Other outputs include another Broadway hit Candide (1956) and
the much-celebrated Mass (1971), which he wrote for the opening of the
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
He composed the music for the film On the Waterfront (1954). As a lecturer,
Bernstein is fondly remembered for his television series “Young People’s
Concerts” (1958–1973) that demonstrated the sounds of the various
orchestral instruments and explained basic music principles to young
audiences, as well as his “Harvardian Lectures,” a six-volume set of his
papers on syntax, musical theories, and philosophical insights delivered to
his students at Harvard University. His musical compositions total around
90. He died in New York City, USA on October 14, 1990.
PHILIP GLASS (1937– )
PHILIP GLASS (1937– )
One of the most commercially successful minimalist composer is
Philip Glass who is also an avant-garde composer. He explored the
territories of ballet, opera, theater, film, and even television jingles.
His distinctive style involves cell-like phrases emanating from bright
electronic sounds from the keyboard that progressed very slowly
from one pattern to the next in a very repetitious fashion. Aided by
soothing vocal effects and horn sounds, his music is often criticized
as uneventful and shallow, yet startlingly effective for its hypnotic
charm. Born in New York, USA of Jewish parentage, Glass became
an accomplished violinist and flutist at the age of 15. In Paris, he
became inspired by the music of the renowned Indian sitarist Ravi
Shankar. He assisted Shankar in the soundtrack recording for
Conrad Rooks’ film Chappaqua. He formed the Philip Glass
Ensemble and produced works such as Music in Similar Motion
(1969) and Music in Changing Parts (1970), which combined rock
type grooves with perpetual patterns played at extreme volumes.
Glass collaborated with theater conceptualist Robert
Wilson to produce the four-hour opera Einstein on the
Beach (1976), an instant sell-out at the New York
Metropolitan Opera House. It put minimalism in the
mainstream of 20th century music. He completed the
trilogy with the operas Satyagraha (1980) and Akhnaten
(1984), based on the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy,
Martin Luther King, and an Egyptian pharaoh. Here, he
combined his signature repetitive and overlapping style
with theatrical grandeur on stage. His musical
compositions total around 170. Today, Glass lives
alternately in Nova Scotia, Canada and New York, USA.
MODERN NATIONALISM
A looser form of 20th century music development focused on nationalist composers
and musical innovators who sought to combine modern techniques with folk materials.
However, this common ground stopped there, for the different breeds of nationalists
formed their own styles of writing. In Eastern Europe, prominent figures included the
Hungarian Bela Bartok and the Russian Sergei Prokofieff, who were neo-classicists to a
certain extent. Bartok infused Classical techniques into his own brand of cross rhythms
and shifting meters to demonstrate many barbaric and primitive themes that were
Hungarian—particularly gypsy—in origin. Prokofieff used striking dissonances and
Russian themes, and his music was generally witty, bold, and at times colored with
humor. Together with Bartok, Prokofieff made extensive use of polytonality, a kind of
atonality that uses two or more tonal centers simultaneously. An example of this style is
Prokofieff’s Visions Fugitive. In Russia, a highly gifted generation of creative individuals
known as the “Russian Five” —Modest Mussorgsky, Mili Balakirev, Alexander Borodin,
Cesar Cui, and Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov—infused chromatic harmony and
incorporated Russian folk music and liturgical chant in their thematic materials.
SUMMARY
The early half of the 20th century also gave rise to new musical styles, which
were not quite as extreme as the electronic, chance, and minimalist styles that
arose later. These new styles were impressionism, expressionism, neo-classicism,
avant garde music, and modern nationalism.
Impressionism made use of the whole-tone scale. It also applied suggested,
rather than depicted, reality. It created a mood rather than a definite picture. It
had a translucent and hazy texture; lacking a dominant-tonic relationship. It made
use of overlapping chords, with 4th, 5th, octaves, and 9th intervals, resulting in a
non-traditional harmonic order and resolution.
Expressionism revealed the composer’s mind, instead of presenting an
impression of the environment. It used atonality and the twelve-tone scale,
lacking stable and conventional harmonies. It served as a medium for expressing
strong emotions, such as
anxiety, rage, and alienation.
Neo-classicism was a partial return to a classical form of
writing music with carefullymodulated dissonances. It made
use of a freer seven-note diatonic scale.
The avant garde style was associated with electronic music
and dealt with the parameters or dimensions of sound in
space. It made use of variations of self-contained note groups
to change musical continuity, and improvisation, with an
absence of traditional rules on harmony, melody, and rhythm.
Modern nationalism is a looser form of 20th century music
development focused on nationalist composers and musical
innovators who sought to combine modern techniques with
A number of outstanding composers of the 20th century each
made their own distinctive mark on the contemporary classical
music styles that developed. Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel
were the primary exponents of impressionism, while Arnold
Schoenberg was the primary exponent of expressionism, with the
use of the twelve-tone scale and atonality. Bela Bartok was a neo-
classical, modern nationalist, and a primitivist composer who
adopted Hungarian folk themes to introduce rhythms with
changing meters and heavy syncopation. Igor Stravinsky was
also an expressionist and a neo-classical composer. He
incorporated nationalistic elements in his music, known for his
skillful handling of materials and his rhythmic inventiveness.
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