Chapter 30. The Early Twentieth Century

Chapter Outline



The early twentieth century was a time of rapid change in technology, society, and the arts, including music. American popular music developed new currents in ragtime and jazz that won the world뭩 attention. Composers in the classical tradition, forced to compete for space on concert programs with the classics of the past, sought to to win an audience in the present and secure a place in the permanent repertoire of the future by offering a unique style and perspective that balanced tradition and novel elements. Faced with common problems, they created highly individual solutions, differing in what they valued most in the tradition, what they discarded, and what innovations they introduced. Most continued to use tonality, but many wrote post-tonal music, and a few took up the banner of the avant-garde. As a result, music became increasingly diverse in style and approach, a process that accelerated throughout the twentieth century. 

Chapter Outline: 

  1. Changing Traditions
    1. New currents
      1. American ragtime and jazz won international recognition.
      2. Composers in the classical tradition attempted to balance the past with novel ideas.
      3. Although many continued to use tonality, other wrote post-tonal music.
      4. Some composers took up the banner of the avant-garde.
    2. Modern times, 1898-1918
      1. This era was self-consciously “modern.”
      2. Technological developments include:
        1. Electric lighting
        2. Affordable automobiles
        3. Airplanes
        4. Player pianos and phonographs (see HWM Innovations, pages 760-61, and Figures 30.1 and 30.2)
        5. Motion pictures, with live musical accompaniment
      3. Economies expanded greatly.
        1. People continued to migrate to cities, and nostalgia for nature increased.
        2. Workers organized labor unions to fight for better conditions.
        3. The great powers competed for dominance.
        4. Increasing tensions led to World War I, in which technological advances contributed to the high number of casualties.
      4. The United States
        1. The country emerged as a global power after World War I.
        2. The Progressive movement created reforms to reduce the dominance of large corporations.
        3. Immigrants continued to stream to the country.
        4. African Americans from the south moved to northern cities, where they settled into segregated neighborhoods.
      5. Freud and Pavlov challenged Romantic views of individual self-determination.
      6. Artists did not necessarily seek popular appeal; many searched for new and unusual content or techniques.
        1. Symbolist poets used intense imagery.
        2. Impressionist painters captured impressions of a subject (see HWM Figure 30.3).
        3. Cubist artists depicted subjects with geometrical shapes (see HWM Figure 30.4 and 30.5).
  2. Vernacular Musical Traditions
    1. Popular song
      1. Popular songs were performed in a variety of venues in many regions.
      2. Tin Pan Alley was in its heyday.
    2. Stage music
      1. Revues with popular songs spread from Paris to London to New York.
      2. Operetta was given new life with popular successes.
        1. The Merry Widow (1905) by Franz L�har (1870-1948) in Vienna
        2. Babes in Toyland (1903) and Naughty Marietta (1910) by Victor Herbert (1859-1924) in the United States
      3. Musical comedies, or musicals, featured popular songs and dances in the context of spoken plays with comic or romantic plots.
        1. George Edwardes established the genre in London during the 1890s.
        2. George M. Cohan inaugurated a distinctive American musical with Little Johnny Jones (1904), which featured two famous songs: Give My Regards to Broadway and The Yankee Doodle Boy.
    3. Silent films
      1. Moving pictures emerged in the 1890s.
      2. The first public display was Emile Reynaud’s Pantomimes lumineuses (Luminous Mime Shows, 1892) in Paris with music by Gaston Paulin.
      3. Films were silent until the 1920s.
      4. Silent films were usually accompanied by live music.
      5. Role of music
        1. Cover noise of projector
        2. Provide continuity to the succession of scenes and shots
        3. Evoke appropriate moods
        4. Mark dramatic events
      6. Musical accompaniment
        1. Music was often performed by a pianist or organist, who might improvise.
        2. Larger theaters had music created by the music director for an ensemble.
        3. Musical techniques and excerpts were borrowed from the Classic repertory.
      7. Beginning in 1909, studios issued cue sheets to show the sequence of scenes and events in a movie.
      8. Music anthologies, such as Giuseppe Becce’s Kinothek (Berlin, 1919), were published to help the theater music director.
      9. Original scores were created for films.
        1. Saint-Sa�ns inaugurated the tradition with L’assassinat du duc de Guise (1908).
        2. Joseph Carl Breil (1870-1926) created an orchestral score for D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, a film with a racist message.
        3. Breil mixed excerpts from classics with new music.
    4. Band music
      1. The tradition of bands remained strong and extended to colleges and schools.
      2. Among the professional bands to emerge was Helen May Butler’s Ladies Brass Band, one of several all-female ensembles.
      3. Repertory
        1. Few pieces for band were composed in the Classic and Romantic eras.
        2. New serious works were written for band, largely by English composers.
      4. African-American musicians were trained in brass bands, and black bands played important social roles through the turn of the century.
    5. Ragtime
      1. Ragtime, featuring syncopated (or “ragged”) rhythms against a regular bass, was a popular style from the 1890s through the 1910s.
      2. This syncopation was apparently derived from the clapping Juba of American blacks, a survival of African drumming and hand clapping.
      3. Ragtime encompassed piano music, ensemble music, and songs.
      4. Cakewalks helped introduce syncopation.
        1. A cakewalk was a couples dance derived from slave dances.
        2. It is marked by strutting and acrobatic movements.
        3. The music was published without syncopations until 1897.
      5. Will Marion Cook (1869-1944), an African-American composer, introduced the new rhythmic style to Broadway.
      6. Many new songs were written with ragtime rhythms.
    6. Scott Joplin (1867-1917) was the leading ragtime composer (see HWM Figure 30.6).
      1. The son of a former slave, he moved to New York in 1907.
      2. He completed an opera, Treemonisha, in 1910, but it was not staged until 1972.
      3. He is best known for his piano rags, which he intended to be classical works, equivalent to Chopin’s mazurkas and waltzes.
    7. Maple Leaf Rag (1899; see NAWM 136a and HWM Example 30.1)
      1. Background
        1. The rag was named after the Maple Leaf Club in Sedalia, Missouri, where he performed regularly.
        2. The work eventually sold over one million copies.
      2. The rag is set in 2/4 and follows the form of a march.
        1. Typically a rag has two sixteen-measure strains, each repeated (AABB).
        2. A trio with two more strains follows, usually in a key a fourth higher (CCDD).
      3. Unusual features of Maple Leaf Rag
        1. No introduction
        2. The first strain returns before the trio, creating this form: AABBACCDD
        3. The original key returns in the last strain; hence the C strain is in the subdominant D-flat major, while the rest is in A-flat major.
      4. The left hand keeps a steady pulse while syncopations appear in melodies of the right hand.
      5. The harmony is colorful, with chromatic passing tones, lowered sixth chords, and changes of mode.
      6. The repetition of short rhythmic ideas can be traced to African traditions.
      7. The recordings feature two early performances: a player piano roll created by Joplin and a jazz version by Jelly Roll Morton.
    8. Early jazz
      1. Jazz, another type of African-American music, began to develop in the 1910s.
      2. Jazz appears to have begun as a mixture of ragtime, dance music, and blues.
      3. New Orleans has traditionally been viewed as the “cradle of jazz,” although recent research has uncovered early jazz in other regions as well.
        1. The French and Spanish background in the city gave the music a distinctive character.
        2. It was the only southern city in which slaves were allowed to gather in public; hence African traditions were maintained more strongly.
        3. The city had close connections to Caribbean rhythms, including Haitian, Cuban, and Creole.
        4. The style was first known as the New Orleans style of ragtime, but when it was transplanted to other urban centers, it was called jazz.
      4. Jazz performers improvised on a given work, allowing each performer to develop a distinctive character.
      5. Jelly Roll Morton performed Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag in a jazz style (NAWM 136b).
  3. Modern Music in the Classical Tradition
    1. The classic canon
      1. At the end of the eighteenth century, audiences demanded new music.
      2. At the end of the nineteenth century, audiences demanded old music that had become enshrined as classics.
      3. Concert halls became museums for musical artworks created over the last two centuries.
      4. Living composers found themselves competing with music of the past.
        1. Composers sought to continue tradition while offering something new.
        2. Decisions about what to preserve and what to change varied greatly.
        3. Individuality took precedence over conventionality.
        4. Some composers abandoned tonality; others redefined it.
        5. Many turned to national styles.
    2. Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
      1. Mahler was the leading Austro-German composer of symphonies after Brahms and Bruckner and one of the great masters for voice and orchestra.
      2. He was famous as a dynamic and precise conductor (see HWM Figure 30.7).
        1. He conducted at numerous opera houses, including the Vienna Opera from 1897 to 1907.
        2. He also conducted the Metropolitan opera in New York (1907-10) and the New York Philharmonic (1909-11).
      3. Major works
        1. Nine symphonies, and a tenth that was unfinished
        2. Five orchestral song cycles
    3. Mahler symphonies
      1. Songs played a large role in his symphonies.
        1. Themes from his Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) appear in his Symphony No. 1.
        2. Voices are in four of his symphonies.
        3. Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, and 4 use themes from Mahler’s songs based on texts from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy’s Magic Horn).
      2. For Mahler, writing a symphony was to “construct a world,” which can be seen in the enormous variety of musical styles that he employed.
      3. Orchestration
        1. Huge forces, extending up to Symphony No. 8, the “Symphony of a Thousand”
        2. Great imagination in the combination of instruments, often only a few playing at a time
      4. A number of his symphonies have programmatic implications.
      5. Symphony No. 4
        1. The symphony begins in G major and ends in E major, and each movement differs from the others.
        2. The first movement recalls the eighteenth-century style of Haydn, particularly in the treatment of themes (see HWM Example 30.2).
        3. Later themes and developments in the first movement create the sense that the Enlightenment was displaced by irrational dreams analyzed by Freud.
        4. The movement suggests the contradictions in modern life, similar to what is seen in Gustav Klimt’s painting, Music (see HWM Figure 30.8).
    4. Mahler song cycles with orchestra
      1. Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children, 1901-4) is based on five poems by Friedrich R�ckert.
      2. Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth, 1908)
        1. Mahler created this work for tenor and alto soloists with orchestra.
        2. The poems are translated from Chinese.
        3. The texts alternate between frenzied grasping at the dreamlike whirl of life and sad resignation at having to part with all its joys and beauties.
        4. The mood alternates between ecstatic pleasure and deadly foreboding.
    5. Nun will die Sonn’ so hell aufgehen from Kindertotenlieder (NAWM 137)
      1. The text contrasts the death of a child at night with the uncaring rise of the sun in the morning.
      2. The sparse use of instruments creates the transparency of chamber music.
      3. The poem has four couplets, which Mahler sets in an AABA song form.
      4. First couplet
        1. The initial duet of horn and oboe is stark and empty.
        2. The opening line “Now will the sun so brightly rise” is set to a mournful melody that emphasizes descending half-steps.
        3. The next line turns to a radiant D major with a rising chromatic line, creating a contrast between the moods of the text and music.
        4. An orchestral interlude leads back to minor for the second couplet.
      5. Second couplet
        1. The music is a variant of the opening section.
        2. The text matches the musical moods more closely.
      6. Third couplet
        1. This is the only couplet not to mention misfortune or the sun.
        2. New music develops from earlier motives.
        3. The music reaches a height of dissonance, chromaticism, and intensity.
      7. Fourth couplet
        1. The music of the first couplet returns.
        2. The final line is repeated, and the song closes in a poignant D minor.
    6. Strauss operas
      1. Strauss tuned to opera after establishing himself with symphonic poems.
        1. Guntram (1893) was an early failure.
        2. Feuersnot (The Fire Famine, 1901) was a moderate success.
      2. Salome (1905)\
        1. Strauss adapted the libretto from a one-act play by Oscar Wilde (see HWM Figure 30.9).
        2. In this decadent version of the biblical story, Salome performs the Dance of the Seven Veils and entices Herod to sever the head of John the Baptist.
        3. Strauss created harmonically complex and dissonant music that greatly influenced later composers (see HWM Example 30.3).
        4. For its effect, Strauss depended upon the audience hearing the dissonance in relation to an eventual resolution.
      3. Elektra (1906-8)
        1. This is the first of seven operas to librettos by Viennese playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
        2. Elektra is adapted from a play by Sophocles and dwells on insane hatred and revenge.
        3. The dissonance is at times even more extreme than in Salome.
      4. Der Rosenkavalier (The Cavalier of the Rose, 1909-10)
        1. The opera depicts a sunny world of elegance, eroticism, and nostalgia.
        2. This sentimental comedy features Viennese waltzes.
  4. Claude Debussy (1862-1918) (see HWM biography, page 781, and Figure 30.10)
    1. Biography
      1. Debussy was born in a suburb of France to a middle-class family.
      2. He began studies at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of ten.
      3. He traveled to Russia and worked for Nadezhda von Meck.
      4. Winning the Prix de Rome, he spent two years in Italy.
      5. He returned to Paris and befriended symbolist poets and painters.
      6. He worked as a music critic.
    2. Musical influences
      1. Debussy admired Wagner’s works, but was repulsed by his bombast.
      2. He preferred the French tradition of restraint, such as in the works of Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894).
      3. He found inspiration in Russian composers, medieval music, and music from Asia.
    3. Impressionism and symbolism
      1. Although his music is generally referred to as impressionistic, it is closer in spirit to the French poetic movement symbolism.
      2. With both movements there is a sense of detached observation.
      3. As in symbolism, our attention is drawn to individual images that carry the work’s structure and meaning.
      4. He creates musical images through motives, exotic scales (whole-tone, octatonic, pentatonic), and timbre.
      5. Many of the ideas are not developed or resolved, but simply juxtaposed.
    4. Piano music
      1. These characteristics are exemplified in a passage from a piano work entitled L’isle joyeuse (The Joyous Isle, 1903-4) (see HWM Example 30.4).
      2. In Debussy’s music, the urgency to resolve harmony is absent.
      3. Pleasure is derived from the moment, not the drive toward resolution.
      4. Many of Debussy’s piano pieces have evocative titles.
      5. The twenty-four Preludes (two books, 1909-10 and 1911-13) are character pieces with picturesque titles.
    5. Orchestral music
      1. The orchestral works are similar to those for piano but with the added element of instrumental color.
        1. Motives are often associated with a particular instrument.
        2. The works require a large orchestra, but seldom use the full sound of the ensemble.
      2. Pr�lude � “L’apr�s-midi d’un faune” (Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun,” 1891-94)
        1. A symbolist poem by Mallarm� is the inspiration for this work.
        2. It evokes moods through suggestion rather than expression.
      3. Nocturnes (1897-99) contains three movements that suggest night scenes.
        1. Nuages (Clouds)
        2. Fetes (Festivals)
        3. Sir�ns (the Sirens of Greek mythology), which uses a wordless female chorus
      4. La Mer (The Sea, 1903-5) captures the movement of the sea.
    6. Nuages from Nocturnes (NAWM 138)
      1. The juxtaposition of images replaces traditional development.
      2. This work is set in a modified ABA’ form.
      3. The A section (measures 1-63) is the longest.
        1. The lack of harmonic direction at the beginning suggests slowly moving clouds.
        2. Each appearance of the opening material is different.
        3. A recurring English horn motive is never developed.
        4. The horns usually answer the motive with a tritone (see measure 23).
        5. A chordal idea (measures 15-20) and a unison melody (measures 33-42) provide contrast.
      4. The B section (measures 64-79) is more exotic.
        1. Debussy had heard a gamelan orchestra in Paris in 1889.
        2. He simulated the gamelan texture with a simple pentatonic tune (flute and harp) and a static accompaniment.
      5. The return of the opening material in the A’ section (measures 80-102) is fragmented, as if the clouds are scattering.
      6. Harmony
        1. Octatonic and whole-tone scales contribute to the vague imagery.
        2. Chords are not used to shape phrases with tension and release.
        3. Chords are conceived as sonorous units within a phrase.
        4. Oscillating chords, parallel triads, ninth chords, and sustained chords serve to characterize musical images.
        5. Debussy still maintains a sense of tonality; the A sections are in B minor, and the B section centers on the D-sharp Dorian scale.
      7. Orchestration
        1. The English horn is identified with a single motive.
        2. The horns are used only for brief gestures.
        3. The combination of unison flute and harp creates a bell-like sonority.
        4. Strings are muted and divided.
        5. Delicate timpani rolls are barely audible near the beginning.
    7. Songs and stage music
      1. Debussy set texts by a number of major French poets.
      2. He wrote music for several plays.
      3. He completed only one opera, Pell�as et M�lisande (1893-1902).
        1. The opera is a musical response to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.
        2. This work is based on a symbolist play by Maurice Maeterlinck.
        3. The allusions of the text are matched by strange, often modal harmonies, subdued colors, and restraint.
        4. Instrumental interludes carry the mysterious inner drama.
    8. Influence
      1. A seminal composer, Debussy provided a model for later composers in his use of harmony and the orchestra.
      2. He influenced many distinguished composers, including American jazz and popular musicians.
  5. The First Modern Generation
    1. Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
      1. Ravel’s distinctive style is characterized by:
        1. Consummate craftsmanship
        2. Traditional forms
        3. Diatonic melodies
        4. Complex harmonies within an essentially tonal language
      2. Jeux d’eau (Fountains, 1901) (see HWM Example 30.5)
        1. Liszt’s pianistic techniques and Debussy’s color are combined.
        2. Whole-tone and diatonic music are juxtaposed.
        3. Whole-tone sonorities function as dissonances that need to resolve.
        4. Ravel also employed major-seventh chords.
      3. Although he is often considered to be an impressionist, Ravel was subject to a variety of influences.
      4. Several works can be viewed as impressionistic in their imagery, orchestration, and harmonies.
        1. Miroirs (Mirrors, 1904-5), descriptive piano pieces
        2. Rapsodie espagnole (Spanish Rhapsody, 1907-8), an orchestral suite
        3. Daphnis et Chlo� (1909-12), a ballet.
      5. Some piano works (which were later orchestrated) evoke the stylized dances of the French Baroque.
        1. Pavane pour une infante d�funte (Pavane for a Dead Princess, 1899)
        2. Le tombeau de Couperin (Memorial for Couperin, 1914-17)
      6. His songs draw on French art and popular traditions.
      7. He incorporates Classic forms in numerous works.
        1. String Quartet in F (1902-3)
        2. Piano Trio (1914)
      8. Ravel also incorporated popular traditions from outside of France.
        1. La valse (1919-20) is an orchestral poem using Viennese waltz rhythms.
        2. Tzigane for violin and piano (1924) evokes a gypsy style.
        3. The Violin Sonata uses blues.
        4. Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (1929-30) incorporates jazz elements.
        5. Bolero (1928) features Spanish idioms
    2. Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
      1. Like other Spanish composers, de Falla composed in a national style.
        1. Wanting to go beyond mere exotic sounds, he studied folk music.
        2. The ballet El amor brujo (Love, the Sorcerer, 1915) and other early works are imbued with melodic and rhythmic qualities of Spanish popular music.
      2. His finest mature works combine national elements with neoclassic elements.
        1. El retablo de maese Pedro (Master Pedro’s Puppet Show, 1919-23) is based on an episode from Don Quixote.
        2. Concerto for Harpsichord with five solo instruments (1923-26) harkens back to the Spanish Baroque.
    3. Gustav Holst (1875-1937) (see HWM Figure 30.11)
      1. The English musical renaissance begun by Elgar took a nationalist turn in the early twentieth century.
        1. Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams collected and published folk songs.
        2. Both used folk songs in their compositions.
      2. Holst’s Somerset Rhapsody uses folk melodies.
      3. Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda (1908-12) uses Hindu sacred texts.
      4. The orchestral suite The Planets (1914-16), his best-known work, is non-nationalist.
    4. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
      1. Biography
        1. He studied with Ravel.
        2. His influences included Debussy, Bach, and Handel.
      2. He composed art music and practical music, using elements from each tradition in the other.
        1. Vaughan Williams used folk melodies and English hymnody.
        2. He edited the new English hymnal in 1904-6.
      3. Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (1910)
        1. Composed for a double string orchestra and string quartet, this works is based on a Tallis hymn in the Phrygian mode.
        2. Fragments of the theme are developed in a free fantasy that uses antiphonal sonorities and triads in parallel motion.
    5. Leos Jan�cek (1854-1928)
      1. Jan�cek was the leading Czech nationalist composer of the twentieth century.
      2. He worked within the genres of Western art music, but developed a national style based on his study of folk music from Moravia.
      3. His music juxtaposes contrasting sonorities and is closer in procedure to the music of Musorgsky or Debussy than to the German tradition.
      4. His operas dominated the Czech stage beginning with Jenufa (1904), which is based on a Moravian subject.
      5. The juxtaposition of contrasting materials heard in his operas is also found in his instrumental works, such as the flashy orchestral Sinfonietta (1926).
    6. Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
      1. Finland was part of the Russian Empire from 1809 to 1917 and was culturally dominated by Sweden.
      2. Sibelius, a Finnish patriot, sought to create a national musical style.
        1. He wrote songs and derived symphonic poems from the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala.
        2. He established himself as the leading nationalist composer with a series of symphonic poems, including The Swan of Tuonola (1895) and Finlandia (1900).
      3. Sibelius gained an international reputation, largely based on his Violin Concerto and seven symphonies.
      4. His personal style is characterized by:
        1. Modal melodies
        2. Uncomplicated rhythms
        3. Insistent repetition of brief motives, ostinatos, and pedal points
        4. Strong contrasts of timbres and textures
      5. Sibelius employs a “rotational form.”
        1. He repeatedly cycles through a series of thematic elements that are varied each time.
        2. The rotational form can be seen in the third movement of his Symphony No. 4 (see HWM Example 30.6).
      6. His reliance on tonality helped build his popularity in Britain and the United States, but it hurt his reputation elsewhere.
      7. He had stopped composing by the late 1920s.
    7. Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) (see HWM Figure 30.12)
      1. Rachmaninov and his classmate Scriabin (see below) at the Moscow Conservatory showed no interest in folk music; each developed an individual style.
      2. Rachmaninov made his living primarily as a pianist, and his most characteristic works are for piano, including:
        1. Twenty-four preludes in every major and minor key
        2. Two sets of Etudes-Tableaux
        3. Four piano concertos
        4. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra (1934)
      3. His orchestral works include:
        1. Three symphonies
        2. The Isle of the Dead (1907), a symphonic poem
      4. Musical style
        1. Rachmaninov is renowned for his passionate, melodious idiom.
        2. He reworked a variety of elements from the Romantic tradition.
    8. Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23, No. 5 (1901) (see NAWM 139 and HWM Example 30.7)
      1. The work has an ABA Coda form.
      2. The A section (measures 1-34) is in aaba song form.
        1. The principal theme is marchlike and builds to a powerful climax.
        2. The theme is simple in conception, but the rhythm and figuration make it unique and memorable.
        3. Each repetition of this theme is varied.
      3. The B section (measures 35-53)
        1. The theme is lyrical and passionate with rolling arpeggiations in the accompaniment.
        2. The theme has several subtle connections to the first section.
        3. A countermelody is added for the repetition of the theme.
      4. The work uses traditional harmonies.
        1. The music never leaves the key of G minor.
        2. Rachmaninov introduces motion through the circle of fifths in the A section to suggest modulation.
        3. The B section focuses on the dominant seventh chord.
      5. Rachmaninov’s rhythms, registration, and development create a unique character that earned his music a place in the permanent repertoire.
    9. Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) (see HWM Figure 30.13)
      1. Scriabin began by composing piano works in the style of Chopin, but he gradually absorbed other elements:
        1. The chromaticism of Liszt and Wagner
        2. The octatonic scale and exoticism of Rimsky-Korsakov
        3. The juxtapositions of texture, scale, and figuration from Debussy
      2. Scriabin developed a complex harmonic vocabulary of his own.
      3. In addition to piano music, he composed symphonies and the notable orchestral work Poem of Ecstasy (1908).
      4. Scriabin’s last five piano sonatas (1912-13) dispense with key signatures and tonality; each develops from a complex chord that functions as a kind of tonic.
    10. Vers la flame (Toward the Flame), Op. 72 (1914) (see NAWM 140 and HWM Example 30.8)
      1. This one-movement work is a tone poem for piano.
        1. Theme A (measures 1-6) involves two voices moving in counterpoint.
        2. Theme B (measures 27-34) is a single melody.
      2. Two main ideas define the form.
        1. The title suggests a journey toward enlightenment.
        2. The activity and dynamics gradually increase until reaching a transcendent climax at the end.
      3. The works has four large sections that place the two thematic elements in new contexts (see diagram in NAWM 140 commentary).
      4. The B theme appears in a different transposition each time, but A returns to the original pitch level in sections 3 and 4, creating a sense of stability.
      5. The harmony centers on a referential sonority of two tritones, which are derived from the octatonic scale: E-A-sharp-G-sharp-D.
        1. These tritones, heard at the beginning, serve as a kind of tonic chord.
        2. Variations appear throughout.
        3. At the end, D is raised to D-sharp (measure 125), which resolves the remaining tensions.
      6. Harmonic relationships by thirds are common in the work.
      7. Most chords have four or more notes; the final sonority has six.
      8. The dissonances do not require resolution.
      9. Scriabin uses the harmonic color to create static blocks of sound.
    11. Tonal and post-tonal music
      1. The composers in this survey varied in their treatment of tonality, ranging from Scriabin to Rachmaninov.
      2. Many composers continued to work with tonality, some bringing out new flavors and possibilities.
      3. Other composers created new approaches that either redefined tonality or abandoned the idea.
      4. The term post-tonal can be applied to all the new ways composers found to organize pitch, from atonality to neotonality.
  6. The Avant-Garde
    1. Avant-garde is a term that is best reserved for art that seeks to overthrow accepted aesthetics and start fresh.
      1. The movement began in the years before World War I.
      2. The music is not marked by a shared style, but by a shared attitude-an unrelenting opposition to the status quo.
    2. Erik Satie (1866-1925)
      1. The music of French composer Erik Satie wittily upends conventions.
      2. In the three Gymnop�dies (1888) for piano, he challenges Romantic notions of expressivity and individuality with music that is plain and unemotional.
      3. Satie composed several sets of piano pieces between 1900 and 1915.
        1. He used surrealistic titles such as Three Pieces in the Form of a Pear (1903), which actually has seven pieces.
        2. He added directions to the performer that satirized Debussy.
      4. Satie did not attempt to write masterworks.
        1. He challenged the basis of Classical tradition.
        2. His larger works sought to fix our attention on the present.
      5. His “realistic ballet” Parade (1916-17) was a collaborative production with writer Jean Cocteau, choreographer L�onide Massine, and Picasso (see HWM Figure 30.14).
        1. Satie incorporated jazz elements, a whistle, a siren, and a typewriter.
        2. The work caused a scandal, as did some of his other large works.
      6. Satie’s works question the listener’s expectations; no two pieces are alike.
      7. Satie influenced the younger French generation and a number of American composers.
    3. Futurism
      1. Italian futurists even rejected traditional musical instruments.
      2. Luigi Russolo (1885-1947)
        1. He argued that musical sounds had become stale (see HWM Source Reading, page 798).
        2. He divided noises into six families, and he helped build new instruments called intuonarumori (noisemakers).
      3. The movement anticipated other later developments, including electronic music.

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