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 The end of World War II marked a turning point in the development of new music.  As societies struggled to recover from the human loss and destruction,

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Presentation on theme: " The end of World War II marked a turning point in the development of new music.  As societies struggled to recover from the human loss and destruction,"— Presentation transcript:


2  The end of World War II marked a turning point in the development of new music.  As societies struggled to recover from the human loss and destruction, economies boomed and a new optimism reigned, especially in America in the 1950’s  In Europe, recovery was much slower; however, gradual rebuilding and long-term prospects for peace led to increased hopes for the future.  The birthrate increased, “baby boom”, whose affects are still felt today.  After the war, the arts flourished and entered a second stage of Modernism. This was a period of radical experimentation, expanding upon ideas set forth in the first stage and marked by two opposing tendencies: extreme control and complete freedom

3  Before the war, the 12-tone technique was used primarily by the Viennese trio Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern  After the war, more composers in different countries began using the technique, but felt that Schoenberg and his students had not gone far enough.  They began organizing not only pitches, but also all elements of music: dynamics, rhythm, tone quality.  The 12-tone technique sometimes was called serialism because it arranged the notes into a series  The new idea of organizing all aspects of music was called total serialism.  The first composition based on total serialism was Structures I by Pierre Boulez.

4  French composer. He was one of the most influential musical figures in postwar Europe.  He had a strong training in mathematics and music.  Structures I was composed for two pianos. Boulez made a series for four musical elements: pitch, duration, attack (the way the pianist strikes the piano) and dynamics.  See chart on page 375 for the arrangement of these elements.

5  Structures I  Composed in 1952 for 2 pianos  Demands great skill for the pianist and the listener  What at first seems like a random, disjointed piano experiment is instead a precisely constructed work.  Listen for shifting textures and contrasting sounds

6  In the 1960s, U.S. and Europe underwent profound change.  Baby boomers were now adults and wanted to experiment  I was a time of unprecedented freedom in the areas of sex, drugs, social mores and individual lifestyles.  This was reflected in music.  This was the era in which popular music began to overwhelm the music of “serious” composers

7  New sounds were available to composers through the use of the synthesizer, the tape recorder and the computer. They could also with these technologies manipulate sounds in new ways.  Composers called for more extended range of sounds from traditional instruments: squeaks, whines, and flutters from wind instruments, bonks and slides from string instruments.  The piano was also modified with nuts and bolts, plastic spoons, or pieces of paper inserted between the strings  The two most interesting composers working with sounds textures were Gyorgy LIgeti and Krzysztof Penderecki

8  Polish composer.  In his St. Luke Passion for solo singers, chorus, and orchestra, he has the chorus shout, whisper, and moan  His most famous composition (1960) is entitled Threnody (homage to the dead) for the Victims of Hiroshima.  The players produce a wide assortment of noises by knocking on the bodies of their instruments or scraping the strings hard; these effects are strikingly similar to those produced by electronic means.

9  Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima  Composed in 1960 for 24 violins, 10 violas, 10 cellos, 8 double basses  The pieces falls into six identifiable sections with an introduction, reaching a peak of intensity in section IV and finally fading, after a roar of sound, to nothingness at the end of section VI.

10  Total serialism required very careful control by the composer.  At the same time composers were totally controlling their music, other composers were doing just opposite of that.  They moved in the direction of freedom for the performers, even leaving some musical matters to chance.  Some scores have several pages of music for each of the performers, allowing them to choose which page they want to play and when.  Others simply indicate time durations and give very general instructions: “As high as you can,” or “Any sound repeated five times.”  Some scores give rough drawings or sketches on the page, abandoning musical notation altogether.

11  The idea of leaving music to change was the main focus of Cage.  Born in Los Angeles and son of an inventor  At 22, he studied with Schoenberg, who told him he had no ear for music and would never make it as a composer.  Composed for prepared piano, which involves attaching objects to the strings. Cage invented this idea  He also composed a piece for 12 radios, all playing on different stations  His most famous composition was written in 1952 and is entitled 4’33’’. In it, the performer is instructed to sit at the piano for four minutes and 33 seconds and do nothing. The audience grows restless and finally start listening to sounds inside and outside the hall- sounds of rustling, coughing, the buzz of the lights, police sirens, sounds are not music, Or are they?

12  Sonata III from Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano  Composed in 1946-1948 for prepared piano

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