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week12_lecture11 - 21M011(spring 2006 Ellen T Harris...

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21M011 (spring, 2006) Ellen T. Harris Lecture XI European 20th-century music Twentieth Century Literature and poetry: freed from rigid structure: James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, e. e. cummings; symbolist poets (Mallarmé, Maeterlinck), Brecht, Sylvia Plath Visual Arts: movement from representation to abstraction: impressionism, expressionism, cubism, etc.; Kandinsky, Picasso, Braque, Mondrian, Matisse, Munch, Brancusi, Klee, Dali, Sculpture at MIT includes: Alexander Calder ( The Big Sail by the Green Building), Henry Moore ( Three piece reclining figure, draped in Killian Court) and many others Architecture: Louis Sullivan, Antonio Gaudi, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto (Baker Dormitory), Eliel Saarinen (MIT Chapel), Eero Saarinen (Kresge), I. M. Pei (Wiesner Building), Frank Gehry (Stata Center) Science, engineering and industrialization: travel (car, air); communication (telephone, fax, computer) )—affecting sense of time; space exploration—affecting sense of time and space; entertainment (movies, film, television, video, DVD; atomic power and weaponry; Kerman rightly emphasizes the centrality of Einstein, Darwin, and Freud [impact of technology on the arts; recording industry on music composition] Politics: Russian Revolution (1917); Totalitarianism; WWI; “the” depression; Nazi Germany; WWII; Communism; Soviet Union; Korean War; Viet Nam War; fall of Soviet communism (1989) Style characteristics: Timbre : new emphasis on individual instrumental colors (Stravinsky, Webern); new sounds from “old” instruments (Crumb); recorded sound, musique concrète (Varese); electronic (created) sound, synthesizers; electronic (altered) sound, tape especially; aleatoric (chance) music (Cage); computer music Harmony : freeing from major/minor harmony; “new” scales: pentatonic: Musorgsky, Debussy; octatonic: Debussy, Stravinsky; whole-tone: Debussy; “emancipation of the dissonance”: atonality, serialism (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern)—leading to mid-century efforts to serialize (strictly control intellectually) all aspects of music, in many respects a retreat from freedom, an attempt to gain control following WWII, and its opposite: aleatoric (or chance) music (see under timbre )
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Rhythm : mechanistic rhythms; influence of jazz; rhythm and rhythmic structure as organizing principle, deliberately related in some cases to the driving rhythms of the Baroque era Melody : fragmented (atomized) in stark contrast to the extended surging melodies of the 19 th century, but compare to the motivic structure of Haydn and Beethoven Texture : mostly contrapuntal, both imitative (Copland, Bartok, Reich) and, especially in serialism, non-imitative; replacement of voice leading with sound blocks or clusters (Ligeti) Form : variation principle (Berg, Copland, Reich, Bernstein, Ellington), and think of serialism as a kind of variation, too, even though it’s not meant to be heard that way; through-composition; use of sound or rhythm as organizing principle instead of form Key terms: nationalism, exoticism, impressionism, expressionism, neoclassicism Stravinsky, Rite of Spring (10’ 41”) 1913 K 5:25-31
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