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Unit 3: "Modern" Classical music

1. Atonal music

  • This music was developed at the beginning of the 20th Century.

  • Never use tonality patterns

  • Use music theories from the past (Specially medieval and Renaissance).

  • Use of twelve notes system (Tonality only use seven).

  • Strange ensembles.

  • New instruments (Ondes martenot and Theremin).

  • Some composers who used this style were: Carl Orff, Bela Bartok and Igor Stravinsky

Carl Orff - Camina Burana (O Fortuna)

Bela Bartok - Sonata for two pianos and percussion

Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring.

2. Dodecaphonism

  • It is a method of musical composition devised by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg-

  • The technique is a means of ensuring that all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are sounded as often as one another in a piece of music.

  • The technique was influential on composers in the mid-20th century.

  • Some composers were: Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg and Anton Weber

Arnold Schönberg - piano piece

Alban Berg - Violin Concerto

Anton Weber - Variations op.27

3. Electronic and Concrete music

  • Electric music originated in Western art music during the modern era following the incorporation of electric sound production into compositional practice.

  • Tape music, electronic music, and computer music were all explored. 

  • The majority of electroacoustic pieces use a combination of recorded sound and synthesized or processed sounds.

  • Musique concrète is a genre of electroacoustic music that is made in part from acousmatic sound.

  • Some composers were John Cage, Luciano Berio and Karlheim Stockhausen

John Cage - Imaginary landscape Nº1

Luciano Berio - Sequenza III

Stockhausen - Telemusik

4. Aleatoric music

  • It is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance.

  • Sometimes, realization is left to the determination of its performer(s).

  • The term is most often associated with procedures in which the chance element involves a relatively limited number of possibilities.

  • Some composers were: Henry Cowell, Penderecki and Ligeti

Henry Cowell - Mosaic Quartet

Penderecki - Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima

Ligeti - Articulation

5. Minimalism

  • It is a style associated with the work of American composers La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass.

  • It originated in the New York Downtown scene of the 1960s and was initially viewed as a form of experimental music called the New York Hypnotic School.

  • it is marked by a non-narrative, non-teleological, and non-representational conception of a work in progress.

  • Normally, minimalism tried to use a small amount of musical elements.

  • It focuses on the internal processes of the music, which lack goals or motion toward those goals.

  • Some composers are:  Riley, Reich, Glass

Ramin Djawadi - Game of thrones soundtrack

Break of reality ensemble


Michael Nyman - The Piano BSO

Clint Mansell - Requiem for a dream soundtrack

Kate Chruscicka, violin


Post-modern Music

  • It is refered to music wrote in the postmodern era (since 1970's).

  • It puts a bridge between popular and elitist music.

  • It uses any style from the past, including the 20th Century.

  • It considers music as a part of a bigger cultural movement.

  • It uses high technology.

  • It is widely used in movies and videogames.

  • Some composers are: Koji Kondo, Conrad Tao or Eric Whitacre.

Koji Kondo - The Legend of Zelda

Bastyr Chapel

Eric Whitacre - Water Night

Conrad Tao - Iridescence for Piano and iPad

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