20th Century Music Analysis

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Introduction to 20th century music
Although the music we make today is (generally) very different from the music composed and listened to in the 20th century we can still appreciate the style and sound of this era. This era and its composers rebelled against the previously accepted practices of music, which is what makes this era both interesting and intriguing.
Another factor which is somewhat intriguing about this era of music is the dates involved. As the name suggests 20th century music is classified as music which was composed in the years 1901 till 2000. However within these years there were different ‘’influences’’ which overlap into the 20th century of music. The Modern Era is from 1890 till 1930 and the contemporary era is from 1975.
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This is why the composers of the 20th century liked to use these genres.
The piece Voiles by Claude Debussy was composed in 1909 and was published in 1910 as part of a 12 set prelude. It is written in ternary form.
This piece uses the whole-tone scale extensively (practically throughout the entire piece). The pentatonic scale is also used, as well as changing the tempos of the piece in each section. These elements of this piece make it distinct and obviously from the 20th century of music.
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The use of expressionism in music happened between World War I and World War II. This music was in many ways an expression of the composer’s feelings, which were not always positive feelings. It did not set boundaries for the type of emotions conveyed and no feelings were euphemised. The use of appealing harmonies was abolished and more dissonant chords were used. Polyphony was used and there wasn’t a very big influence on melody. It is said that Richard Wagner of the Romantic era was the true pioneer of
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Neoclassic composers focussed their attention on balance ,clarity and emotional restraint. The attention shift came after the Romantic era where music was heavily emotionally influenced and has little or no form. Elements which were prominent in the 20th century were contrapuntal texture, expanded tonal harmony and an emphasis on rhythm. The Romantic era focussed on programme music whereas the 20th century used absolute music more. Neoclassic composers drew inspiration from the Baroque and Classical eras.
The concerto Grosso, fugue and symphony genres were used frequently in this style.
Igor Stravinsky is a Russian composer who composed the piece ‘’Rite of Spring’’ which is a ballet and orchestral work. Stravinsky was a dominant figure in neoclassism as he has composed many pieces in this style. ‘’Rite of Spring’’ was written and performed for the first time in 1913. It is said to be one of the most influential pieces of the 20th century. The experimental use of tonality, metre, tempo and dissonance is expected in the 20th century of music.
The reason why we listen to music is to feel something. Although the 20th century era was not conventional is still makes the listener feel emotions which is the most important and ultimately the goal on the composer. The 20th century music was a stepping stone towards the music that we have now
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