20th Century Music Essay

1191 Words5 Pages
Most periods of musical history are dominated by a small number of composers whose musical styles had a number of common musical features. Why is twentieth century music characterised by a much wider range of styles and explain how the music reflects the particular times and cultures in which it was created. Use specific styles of music, composers and musical works to support your ideas. In this essay I shall be analysing why twentieth century music represents the times and cultures in a greater sense than other periods of musical history. I will be drawing from historical facts and also my own conclusions in this essay. The first thing I shall consider is composers- the twentieth century gave birth to many new ideas and so composers of that era also utilized new techniques and styles. Composers of the past, such as baroque composers (like Bach and Handel) would have been commissioned by nobles to compose music for a certain occasion, all the while keeping within the style of the time and what the client wanted. These restrictive attitudes were continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, making the musical periods of these times very easy to generalise. Music did evolve and change, but boundaries were never pushed to the point of where it invoked powerful emotions in the audiences it was played to. One of the most significant people to cross this boundary was Igor Stravinsky, with his opera The Rite of Spring. This work caused outrage and nearly a riot when it was first performed in 1913- mainly because it was completely different to anything that had been heard before. It experimented heavily with changing metre, dissonance and various changes in tonality that were unheard of at the time. With this being the beginning of the 20th century, it marked a turning point in music where composers could experiment with radical new ideas and techniques instead of
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