Presentation on theme: "Modernism and the Period Between the World Wars. Modernism Underlying conception of progress in history Reaction against Romanticism Desire for restabilization."— Presentation transcript:
Modernism Underlying conception of progress in history Reaction against Romanticism Desire for restabilization after World War I Emphasis on science and technology to solve problems “New Objectivity” in the arts: – the Bauhaus approach to design – cubism in visual art
Twelve-tone composition Schoenberg as most influential innovator — system developed in early 1920s Solutions to two problems – problem of systematic means to achieve atonal harmony – problem of extended musical forms without coherence provided by tonality Principles – no pitch class repeated until complete aggregate of twelve has been presented – core musical material provides unity to a piece or movement
Practical aspects of twelve-tone composition Tone row — ordering of twelve pitch classes (i.e., sequence of intervals) as basis for composition; may be transposed to any pitch Row forms – prime (original) – inversion – retrograde – retrograde inversion Adaptable to any personal style Some inherent inclination to contrapuntal textures and variation form
Contrasting approaches to the use of twelve-tone composition Schoenberg students: Alban Berg (1885–1995) – Romantic approach, rich scorings – combinations of twelve-tone and tonal material Anton Webern (1883–1945) – objective approach, sparse scorings – extension of serial principle to scoring, dynamics and articulation, rhythm
Objectivist aesthetics in music — Stravinsky, Poetics of Music (1939 lectures) “At the outset the name artist was given only to the Masters of Arts: philosophers, alchemists, magicians; but painters, sculptors, musicians, and poets had the right to be qualified only as artisans.... The creator’s function is to sift the elements he receives from his imagination, for human activity must impose limits on itself. The more art is controlled, worked over, the more it is free.”
Neoclassicism Objectivity in musical style Tonal harmony most important characteristic, often colored by edgy dissonance Transparent textures Genre forms and forms based on styles of earlier centuries – “neoclassic” imitation of eighteenth-century types most common – “neo-Baroque,” “neo-medieval,” “neo-Renaissance” as other possibilities
French neoclassicism Tradition of Apollonianism in France since at least the Académies founded in the era of Rationalism Included later works of Debussy and Ravel Erik Satie (1866–1925) — experimental, satirical Influence of writer Jean Cocteau (1889–1963) “Les six” — different approaches – Louis Durey (1888–1979) – Arthur Honegger (1892–1955) – Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) – Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983) – Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) – Georges Auric (1899–1983)
Some new approaches to tonality New harmonic theory — based on acoustic principles – Paul Hindemith, The Craft of Musical Composition (1937) Derivation from ethnic traditional music — unusual modes and asymmetric rhythms (cf. nineteenth-century nationalist styles) – Béla Bartók, ethnomusicological research in eastern Europe
Socialist realism Political-aesthetic principle in USSR — period of Lenin – “ Art belongs to the people.” Music should be understandable by the masses – not difficult or too dissonant (i.e., not “formalist” like decadent western European music) Music should inspire the masses – worthy of the great heritage of the past and of Russia Therefore tonality — i.e., neoclassicism (or neo- Romanticism) — becomes crucial to socialist realism in music
Music in the United States Between the World Wars Concert tradition Appeal to popularity Appeal to national identity Therefore tonality — i.e., neoclassicism (or neo- Romanticism) — becomes crucial Rise of jazz — appeal to popularity and national identity New Orleans or Dixieland style — 1920s Big band and swing — 1930s
The avant-garde movement — radical modernism Rejection of tradition — every work should be based on new principles – Feruccio Busoni, Draft for a New Aesthetic of Music Expansion of sound vocabulary, including sounds usually heard as “noise” – Luigi Russolo, L’arte dei rumori Incorporation of material referencing industrial sounds Invention of new instruments
Questions for discussion How did the effects of the World Wars parallel or differ from the effects of earlier wars on music? Compare the exploration of mathematical aspects of music in serialism to the application of mathematical thinking in music of earlier periods. What does this comparison suggest about the expressive models for music in the twentieth century? What are and what are not valid roles of government in relation to the arts? How did the avant-garde movement and the reaction to it in the twentieth century resemble or differ from earlier progressive movements in the Western musical tradition?
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