A revolution occurred in 20th century music listening as the radio gained popularity
worldwide and new media and technologies were developed to record, capture, reproduce and
distribute music. Because music was no longer limited to concerts, opera-houses, clubs, and
domestic music-making, it became possible for music artists to quickly gain fame nationwide
and sometimes worldwide. Conversely, audiences were able to be exposed to a wider range of
music than ever before, giving rise to the phenomenon of world music. Music performances
became increasingly visual with the broadcast and recording of music videos and concerts.
Music of all kinds also became increasingly portable. Headphones allowed people sitting next to
each other to listen to entirely different performances or share the same performance. Copyright
laws were strengthened, but new technologies such as file sharing also made it easier to record
and reproduce copyrighted music illegally.
Twentieth-century music brought new freedom and wide experimentation with new
musical styles and forms that challenged the accepted rules of music of earlier periods. The
invention of electronic instruments and the synthesizer in the mid-20th century revolutionized
popular music and accelerated the development of new forms of music. Eastern, Middle-Eastern,
Latin and Western sounds began to mix in some forms. Faster modes of transportation allowed
musicians and fans to travel more widely to perform or listen. Amplification permitted giant
concerts to be heard by those with the least expensive tickets, and the inexpensive reproduction
and transmission or broadcast of music gave rich and poor alike nearly equal access to high
quality music performances.
In the early twentieth century many composers, including Rachmaninoff, Richard
Strauss, Giacomo Puccini, and Edward Elgar, continued to work in forms and in a musical
language that derived from the nineteenth century. However, modernism in music became
increasingly prominent and important; among the most important modernist precursors were
Alexander Skryabin, Claude Debussy, and the post-Wagnerian composers such as Gustav
Mahler and Richard Strauss, who experimented with form, tonality and orchestration. Busoni,
Stravinsky, Schoenberg, and Schreker were already recognized before 1914 as modernists, and
Ives was retrospectively also included in this category for his challenges to the uses of tonality.
Others such as Francis Poulenc and the group of composers known as Les Six wrote music in
opposition to the Impressionistic and Romantic ideas of the time. Composers such as Ravel,
Milhaud, and Gershwin combined classical and jazz idioms. Others, such as Prokofiev,
Hindemith, Shostakovich, and Villa-Lobos expanded the romantic palette to include more
Late-Romantic nationalism was found also in British, American, and Latin-American