Chapter22 - Concise History of Western Music Fourth Edition...

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By Barbara Russano Hanning Based on J. Peter Burkholder, Donald J. Grout, and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music , Eighth Edition Concise History of Western Music Fourth Edition Chapter 22 The European Mainstream in the Early Twentieth Century
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PRELUDE
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Challenge for the modern composer To secure a place in the crowded concert repertory Composers had to meet the criteria established by the classics. Maintain high quality of serious art music Have lasting value Reward performers and listeners through rehearings and study Proclaim a distinctive musical personality that balances tradition and novel effects
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Challenge for the modern composer Individuality took precedence over conventionality. Some composers abandoned tonality; others redefined it.
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The first modern generation Mahler and Strauss exemplify the search for a personal style. Common features of the first generation Interplay between tradition and innovation Balance of national identity and personal style
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CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862– 1918)
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Musical influences Debussy admired Wagner’s works but was repulsed by his bombast. He preferred the French tradition of restraint, as in the works of Emmanuel Chabrier (1841–1894). He found inspiration in Russian, medieval, and Asian music.
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Impression and symbolism Although his music is generally referred to as impressionistic, it is closer in spirit to the French poetic movement of symbolism. In both movements there is a sense of detached observation.
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Impression and symbolism As in symbolism, our attention is drawn to individual images that carry the work’s structure and meaning. Debussy creates musical images through motives, exotic scales (whole-tone, octatonic, pentatonic), and timbre. Many of the ideas are not developed or resolved but simply juxtaposed.
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Piano music These characteristics are exemplified in a passage from the piano work L’isle joyeuse (The Joyous Isle, 1903–4) In Debussy’s music, the urgency to resolve harmony is absent. Pleasure is derived in the moment, not in the drive toward resolution.
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Piano music Many of Debussy’s piano pieces have evocative titles. The twenty-four Preludes (two books, 1909–10 and 1911–13) are character pieces with picturesque titles.
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Orchestral music The orchestral works are similar to those for piano but with the added element of instrumental color. Motives are often associated with a particular instrument. A large orchestra is required, but the full ensemble is seldom used.
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Prélude à “L’Après-midi d’un faune” (Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun,” 1891–94) A symbolist poem by Mallarmé inspired this work. Moods are evoked through suggestion rather
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This note was uploaded on 03/02/2012 for the course MUS 2116 taught by Professor Howell during the Spring '07 term at Virginia Tech.

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Chapter22 - Concise History of Western Music Fourth Edition...

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