8 Chapter 5: European and Arnerican Art Music since 1900l






As has been true of all perlods, muslc of the last hundred or so years ls related to past tradltlons yet has deVeloped modes of expresslon that are dlstlnctly modern and depart from earller practlces. Works of art are always ln some respect reflectlVe of the tlme ln whlch they were created and, conVersely, shape our perceptlon of the perlod ln whlch they were produced. Some muslc readlly speaks to us because we are ln some way connected to lts hlstorlcal and cultural context, yet often the closer works of art are to us ln tlme, the more

1 This content is available online at <http //cnx.org/content/m55732/l.l/>.


Available for free at Connexions <http //cnx.org/content/colll803/l.l>





allen and lnaccesslble they seem. Thls ls not a new phenomenon. Artlsts haVe tradltlonally been Vlslonarles, creators of new ways of experlenclng and communlcatlng that challenge our comprehenslon. Inslght lnto the clrcumstances of a work’s genesls and what the composer set out to accompllsh can help us llsten wlth more sympathy and understandlng.

In the early decades of the 20th century, many creatlVe artlsts were reactlng agalnst the aesthetlcs and Values of Romantlclsm. The composer Igor StraVlnsky and the palnter/sculptor Pablo Plcasso are among the lmportant figures whose works reflect thelr lnterest ln trlbal socletles and the prlmltlVe, rltuallstlc dlmenslon of the human psyche that was the subject of Freud’s research and wrltlngs. One of the most radlcal departures from past muslc tradltlons was Arnold Schoenberg’s “method of composlng wlth twelVe tones” that rejected prlnclples of a key center and the dlstlnctlon between consonance and dlssonance that had been the foundatlon of Western muslc for centurles. Because of the absence of a tonlc, twelVe-tone muslc ls often called “atonal,” a term to whlch Schoenberg objected, or “serlal” because the composltlonal technlque lnVolVes manlpulatlon of a germlnal serles of pltches. Schoenberg’s theoretlcal wrltlngs and hls serlal works haVe had great lmpact on subsequent generatlons of composers. Whlle twelVe-tone descrlbes Schoenberg’s composltlonal procedure, hls style ls classlfied as expresslonlst. Expresslonlsm was an early 20th-century moVement that sought to reVeal through art the lrratlonal, subconsclous reallty and repressed prlmordlal lmpulses postulated and analyzed ln the wrltlngs of Freud.

Another lmportant deVelopment durlng the early decades of the 20th century was awakenlng of lnterest among Amerlcan Vlsual artlsts, noVellsts, poets, playwrlghts, choreographers, and composers ln creatlng works that reflected a dlstlnctly Amerlcan, as opposed to a European, senslblllty. In muslc, the renowned Czech composer Antonln DVorak, who Vlslted the Unlted States durlng the 1890s, challenged Amerlcans to compose thelr own muslc based on natlVe folk materlals. Hls own Symphony # 9 (1893), wrltten durlng hls stay ln Amerlca, was eVocatlVe of the Afrlcan Amerlcan splrltual. By the 1920s Amerlcan composers llke George Gershwln and Aaron Copland were lncorporatlng the rhythms and blues tonallty of jazz lnto thelr symphonlc works. Gershwln’s 1924 plece, Rhapsody ln Blue, ls the best-known work from thls genre. Durlng the 1930s and early 1940s, Copland, Gershwln, Vlrgll Thomson, and Roy Harrls drew from an array of Amerlcan folk styles lncludlng splrltuals, blues, cowboy songs, folk hymns, and fiddle tunes ln composlng thelr popullst symphonlc works.

Amerlcan composers of the early 20th century also sought to create dlstlnctly new works by engaglng ln radlcal experlmentatlon. Charles IVes, wrltlng ln the first two decades of the century, was the first Amerlcan to moVe away from the Romantlc European conVentlons of form and style by employlng dlssonance, atonallty, complex rhythms, and nonllnear structures. These ldeas were contlnued by the Amerlcan experlmental composers Henry Cowell, Conlon Nancarrow, Edgar Varese, and Ruth Crawford Seeger ln the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1940s and lnto the post-World War II years, Amerlcan aVant-garde composer John Cage would challenge llsteners to completely rethlnk what constltuted muslc and art through hls radlcally experlmental works that drew from new technology, performance art, and Eastern systems of thought and aesthetlcs. Cage paVed the way for the so-called “downtown” New York experlmental scene that broke down barrlers between muslc, Vlsual art, performance, and so forth. Cage’s lnterest ln non-Western muslc lnsplred the mlnlmallst composers lncludlng Terry Rlley, SteVe Relch, and Phlllp Glass, who would draw on Afrlcan and Aslan muslcal systems ln the 1960s and 1970s.

Thls lnterest ln non-Western muslc ln the last 50 years ls a result of the unprecedented contact between dlfferent cultures. For most of human hlstory, muslcal repertorles haVe eVolVed largely ln lsolatlon from one another, so muslcal experlences haVe been prlnclpally confined to the muslc of an lndlVldual’s own lmmedlate culture. Today the opportunltles to hear muslc and the types of muslc that are aVallable haVe expanded dramatlcally as a result of modern technology and lncreased contact among peoples. Modern modes of traVel and communlcatlon and technologles for recordlng muslc lnVented slnce the end of the 19th century haVe remoVed barrlers that lsolated dlfferent muslcal tradltlons and repertorles from each other. A typlcal muslc store ln the Unlted States today has sectlons deVoted to recordlngs coVerlng the entlre span of European classlcal muslc from the Mlddle Ages to the present, world muslc, and repertorles that eVolVed durlng the 20th century such as jazz and rock. Muslc from dlstant tlmes and places ls also featured ln the programmlng of some radlo statlons, teleVlslon statlons, and onllne muslc sltes. Resldents of large cltles and those llVlng



near college campuses haVe opportunltles to hear llVe performances by muslclans tralned ln other cultural tradltlons or speclallzlng ln early muslc, as well as concerts by orchestras, opera companles, and sololsts performlng standard classlcal repertory. For muslclans, the globallzatlon of muslc has opened new doors and dlssolVed old boundarles. Performers study and galn mastery ln repertolres of cultures other than thelr own, and composers can draw on llterally the entlre world of muslc ln creatlng new crossoVer styles.

Modern technology has made posslble not only the preserVatlon and broad dlssemlnatlon of muslc, but has also become a source for the generatlon and manlpulatlon of muslcal sounds. One of the earllest deVlces that created muslcal sounds by electronlc means, the Theremln (named after lts lnVentor, the Russlan sclentlst, Leon Theremln) was lntroduced ln the early 1920s. Uslng the numerous technologles that were deVeloped ln the followlng decades, composers recorded muslcal tones or natural sounds that they transformed by mechanlcal and electronlc means and sometlmes supplemented wlth others generated electronlcally ln a studlo. Thls raw materlal was then assembled for playback, elther as a self-sufficlent composltlon or comblned wlth llVe performance. Today, technology-based composltlon has become a wldely aVallable process through the storage of sound samples ln home computers. Syntheslzed, sampled, and dlgltally altered sounds are commonly used for speclal effects ln popular muslc, moVle scores, and works for the concert hall. There ls also a repertory ln whlch the tone color dlmenslon of sound ls what the work ls about. Comparable to the abstract palnter whose materlals are the baslc elements of shape and color, the composer constructs a successlon of aural eVents of unlque tone color, dynamlcs, and reglstratlon.

Historic Context

  • Marconl transmlts telegraphlc radlo messages, 1901.
  • Henry Ford founds Ford Motor Company, 1903.
  • Wrlght brothers’ first alrplane fllght, 1903.
  • Flrst Tour de France blcycle race, 1903.
  • Flrst World Serles ln baseball, 1904.
  • Broadway subway opens, 1904.
  • Flrst cublst exhlbltlon ln Parls, 1907.
  • W. E. B. DuBols founds NAACP, 1910.
  • Manhattan Brldge ls completed, 1910.
  • S.S. Tltanlc slnks on malden Voyage, 1912.
  • Slxteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constltutlon lntroduces federal lncome tax, 1913.
  • Grand Central Termlnal opens, 1913.
  • Nlels Bohr formulates theory of atomlc structure, 1913.
  • Panama Canal opens, 1914.
  • World War I, 1914-1918.
  • Elghteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constltutlon prohlblts manufacture, sale, or lmportatlon of alco- hollc beVerages, 1920; repealed 1933.
  • Foundlng of the League of Natlons, 1920; U.S. Senate Votes agalnst jolnlng.
  • Nlneteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constltutlon glVes women the rlght to Vote.
  • SoVlet states form USSR, 1922.
  • Scopes trlal ln Tennessee on teachlng of theory of eVolutlon, 1925.
  • Charles Llndbergh solo fllght across the Atlantlc, 1927.
  • Museum of Modern Art opens ln New York Clty, 1929.
  • Stock market crash, beglnnlng of world economlc crlsls, 1929.
  • Bulldlng of the Emplre State Bulldlng, 1929-1931.
  • George Washlngton Brldge ls completed, 1931.
  • Unlted States enters World War II, 1940.
  • Enrlco Ferml spllts the atom, 1942.
  • Flrst atomlc bomb detonated, New Mexlco, 1945.
  • Unlted States drops atomlc bombs on Hlroshlma and Nagasakl, Japan, 1945; Japan surrenders.
  • Nuremberg trlals of Nazl war crlmlnals begln, 1945.
  • Jackle Roblnson becomes first Afrlcan Amerlcan major league baseball player, 1947.



  • Foundlng of the State of Israel, 1948.
  • Unlted Natlons bulldlng ln New York Clty ls completed, 1950.
  • Unlted States explodes first hydrogen bomb at Paclfic atoll, 1952.
  • U.S.S.R. explodes hydrogen bomb, 1953.
  • U.S.S.R. launches Sputnlk I and II, first earth satellltes, 1957.
  • Guggenhelm Museum opens, 1958.
  • Berlln wall ls constructed, 1961.
  • Assasslnatlon of Presldent John Fltzgerald Kennedy, 1963.
  • Martln Luther Klng, Jr. wlns Noble Peace Prlze, 1964; assasslnated, 1968.
  • Apollo landlng and moon walk, 1969.
  • Parls Peace Accords to end Vletnam War, 1973.
  • Three Mlle Island nuclear accldent, 1979.
  • Sandra Day O’Connor appolnted first female justlce of U.S. Supreme Court, 1981.
  • Vletnam Veterans’ War Memorlal dedlcated ln Washlngton, DC, 1982.
  • AIDS Vlrus dlscoVered by U.S. and French research teams, 1984.
  • Blshop Desmond Tutu of South Afrlcan Councll of Churches recelVes Nobel Peace Prlze, 1984.
  • Chernobyl nuclear accldent, 1986.
  • Challenger dlsaster, 1986.
  • SoVlet lnVaslon of Afghanlstan, 1988.
  • Pan Am 103 ls blown up oVer Lockerble, Scotland, 1988.
  • Exxon Valdez oll splll ln Alaska, 1989.
  • Tlanemen Square massacre, 1989.
  • Solldarlty wlns first free electlon ln Poland slnce World War II, 1989.
  • Fall of the Berlln Wall, 1989.
  • Reunlficatlon of Germany, 1990.
  • Mlkhall GorbacheV elected first presldent of the SoVlet Unlon; awarded Nobel Peace Prlze, 1990.
  • Hubble Space Telescope put lnto orblt, 1990.
  • Iraq lnVades Kuwalt, 1990.
  • Operatlon Desert Storm; end of the Gulf War, 1991.
  • Warsaw Pact dlssolVed, 1991.
  • Collapse of the SoVlet Unlon, 1991.
  • World Trade Center bomblng ln parklng garage, 1993.
  • Nelson Mandela lnaugurated as South Afrlca’s first presldent, 1994.
  • Successful clonlng of Dolly the sheep, 1996.
  • Terrorlst attacks on World Trade Center, the Pentagon, crash of Unlted fllght 175, 2001.
  • U.S. admlnlstratlon declares War on Terrorlsm, 2001.
  • Unlted States attacks Afghanlstan, 2002.
  • Introductlon of the Euro currency, 2002.
  • Space shuttle Columbla dlslntegrates on reentry, 2003.
  • Iraq war beglns; Bush declares end of fightlng, 2003. Milestones in Music
  • Flrst phonograph recordlng by opera great Enrlco Caruso, 1902.
  • Manhattan Opera House bullt ln New York, 1903.
  • Flrst recordlng of an opera, Verdl’s Ernanl, 1903.
  • Flrst radlo transmlsslon of muslc, 1904.
  • LeV Theremln lnVents earllest electronlc muslcal lnstrument, 1927.
  • Flrst annual Newport Jazz FestlVal, 1954.
  • Stereophonlc recordlngs lntroduced, 1958.
  • Openlng of the Rock Roll Hall of Fame, CleVeland, Ohlo, 1995. Major Figures In Music



  • Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951): Austrlan-born composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Charles IVes (1874-1954): Amerlcan composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Bela Bartok (1881-1945): Hungarlan composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Edgard Varese (1883-1965): French aVant-garde composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Sergel ProkofieV (1891-1953): SoVlet composer.
  • Bessle Smlth (1894-1937): Amerlcan blues slnger; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • George Gershwln (1898-1937): Amerlcan composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Lllllan Hardln (1898-1971): Amerlcan planlst and composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Paul Robeson (1898-1976): Amerlcan slnger, actor, polltlcal actlVlst.
  • Edward Kennedy “Duke” Elllngton (1899-1974): Amerlcan jazz composer and bandleader; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Aaron Copland (1900-1990): Amerlcan composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Louls Armstrong (1901-1971): Amerlcan jazz composer and performer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953): composer and folk muslc transcrlber; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Earl Hlnes (1905-1983): Amerlcan jazz planlst and composer.
  • Dmltry ShostakoVlch (1906-1975): SoVlet composer.
  • Benny Goodman (1909-1986): Amerlcan clarlnetlst and jazz bandleader.
  • Woody Guthrle (1912-1967): Amerlcan folk slnger.
  • Mahalla Jackson (1912-1972): Amerlcan gospel slnger.
  • Blllle Hollday (1915-1959): Amerlcan blues slnger.
  • Thelonlous Monk (1917-1982): Amerlcan jazz planlst and composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Dlzzy Glllesple (1917-1993): Amerlcan trumpeter.
  • Leonard Bernsteln (1918-1990): Amerlcan composer and conductor; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Pete Seeger (b. 1919): New York Clty urban folk slnger; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Charlle Parker (1920-1955): Amerlcan jazz muslclan; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Charles Mlngus (1923-1979): Amerlcan jazz basslst and composer.
  • RaVl Shankar (b. 1920): Indlan sltar Vlrtuoso and composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Blll Haley (1925-1981): Amerlcan rock bandleader and composer.
  • BB Klng (b. 1925): lnfluentlal blues muslclan; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • John Coltrane (1926-1967): jazz saxophonlst; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Mlles DaVls (1926-1991): Amerlcan jazz muslclan; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Mlles DaVls (1926-1991): Amerlcan jazz trumpeter, composer, bandleader.
  • Stephen Sondhelm (b. 1930): Amerlcan muslcal theater composer.
  • ElVls Presley (1935-1977): Amerlcan rock-and-roll slnger; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • SteVe Relch (b. 1936): Amerlcan mlnlmallst composer; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • John Lennon (1940-1980): Engllsh pop muslclan and composer.
  • Frank Zappa (1940-1993): Amerlcan rock muslclan, bandleader, composer.
  • Bob Dylan (b. 1941): Amerlcan folk slnger; see Muslclan Blographles.
  • Bob Marley (1945-1981): Jamalcan reggae muslclan.
  • Mlchael Jackson (b. 1958): Amerlcan rock slnger and songwrlter. Other Historic Figures
  • Slgmund Freud (1856-1939): Austrlan neurologlst, founder of psychoanalysls.
  • Joseph Conrad (1857-1924): Engllsh noVellst.
  • Alfred North Whltehead (1861-1947): Engllsh mathematlclan and phllosopher.
  • EdVard Munch (1863-1944): Norweglan palnter.
  • Alfred Stleglltz (1864-1946): Amerlcan photographer.
  • Frank Lloyd Wrlght (1869-1959): Amerlcan archltect.
  • Mahatma Gandhl (1869-1948): Indlan natlonallst and paclfist.
  • OrVllle Wrlght (1871-1948): Amerlcan alrcraft ploneer.
  • Bertrand Russell (1872-1970): Brltlsh phllosopher.



  • Wllla Cather (1873-1947): Amerlcan noVellst and short story wrlter.
  • Wlnston Churchlll (1874-1965): Brltlsh statesman.
  • Robert Frost (1874-1963): Amerlcan poet.
  • Thomas Mann (1875-1955): German noVellst; Nobel Prlze 1929.
  • D. W. Grlffith (1875-1948): Amerlcan dlrector of 484 films.
  • Jack London (1876-1916): Amerlcan noVellst.
  • Hermann Hesse (1877-1946): German author; Nobel Prlze 1946.
  • Martln Buber (1878-1965): Austrlan Jewlsh phllosopher.
  • Carl Sandburg (1878-1967): Amerlcan poet.
  • Albert Elnsteln (1879-1955): German physlclst; Nobel Prlze, 1921.
  • Pablo Plcasso (1881-1973): Spanlsh-born artlst, actlVe chlefly ln France.
  • James Joyce (1882-1941): Irlsh noVellst.
  • Vlrglnla Woolf (1882-1941): Engllsh noVellst and crltlc.
  • Edward Hopper (1882-1967): Amerlcan palnter.
  • Benlto Mussollnl (1883-1945): Itallan fasclst dlctator.
  • Franz Kafka (1883-1924): German wrlter.
  • D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930): Engllsh noVellst.
  • Edna St. Vlncent Mlllet (1892-1950): Amerlcan poet.
  • Slnclalr Lewls (1895-1951): Amerlcan noVellst, Noble Prlze, 1930.
  • Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980): Austrlan Expresslonlst palnter.
  • Dlego RlVera (1886-1957): Mexlcan palnter and murallst.
  • Le Corbusler (1887-1965): French archltect.
  • Georgla O’Keefe (1887-1986): Amerlcan palnter.
  • Marc Chagall (1887-1985): Russlan-born French palnter.
  • T. S. Ellot (1888-1965): Amerlcan poet.
  • Eugene O’Nelll (1888-1953): Amerlcan playwrlght.
  • Adolf Hltler (1889-1945): Nazl dlctator.
  • Martha Graham (1893-1991): Amerlcan dancer, choreographer, teacher, dlrector.
  • Mao Tse-tung (1893-1976): founder of Chlnese Communlst Party, leader People’s Republlc of Chlna.
  • F. Scott Fltzgerald (1896-1940): Amerlcan noVellst.
  • Ernest Hemlngway (1899-1961): Amerlcan noVellst; Pulltzer Prlze, 1952.
  • Martln Heldegger (1889-1969): German phllosopher.
  • Vladlmlr NabakoV (1899-1977): Russlan-born Amerlcan noVellst.
  • Alfred Hltchcock (1899-1980): Engllsh-born Amerlcan film dlrector.
  • Enrlco Ferml (1901-1954): Itallan physlclst; Nobel Prlze, 1938.
  • John Stelnbeck (1902-1968): Amerlcan noVellst; Pulltzer Prlze, 1940.
  • George Orwell (1903-1950): Engllsh author.
  • Graham Greene (1904-1991): Engllsh noVellst.
  • SalVador Dall (1904-1989): Spanlsh palnter.
  • J. Robert Oppenhelmer (1904-1967): Amerlcan nuclear physlclst.








Chapter 8



Music Appreciation: Its Language, History and Culture Copyright © by Daphne Tseng. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book