Romantic period

saw the rise of the middle class audience

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entire 19th century (1800-1899), beginning overlapped with end of classical period (1750-1825)


Aesthetic ideas of Romanticism

1. music= greatest of the arts b/c it could express the unexpressable

2. romantic artist= lonely hero

3. absence, memory, nostalgia

4. glorification of nature (beauty&fear) + the supernatural

5. close connection btw. music and literature

6. fascination with the exotic & bizarre

7. preoccupation with melody


-supreme romantic instrument b/c artist= lonely hero

-Franz Liszt & Cara Schumann (performing career, composer, mother of 7)

19th century composers were inspired….
by Beethoven’s music ; aspired to write music worthy of his memory
19th century attitudes towards music

-inspired 21st century attitudes towards music

a. split btw. serious music and other music

b. concept of subjective, individual musical expression

c.each listener percieves a musical work differently

german for “song”
through composed song
has new (non-repeating) music for all stanzas of its poetry (ex: Schubert’s Der Erlkonig)
Strophic song
uses the same music for each stanza of text (ex: Verdi’s aria “La donna é mobile”)
program music

a new genre invited during the 9th century

instrumental, not vocal

music that asks the listener to make mental references to non musical topics, thus inviting the listener into the creative experience

enlarged paying audiences

idee fixe


;;the melody that unifies the program

“idee fixe”= the protagonist’s beloved

coined by Berlioz’s program symphony of 1830 (symphonie fantastique)


after it’s presentation in the first movement, its rhythm and timbre are transformed for each successive movement


Giuseppe Verdi

dominated italian 19th century opera which played the role that tv and movies do today

His opera’s came to stand for the 19th century struggle for italian political unification and his name was assicoated with that of Victor Emmanuel, eventually the king of italy

his music style was attractive to the middle class

German 19th century opera

dominated by Richard Wagner

NOT middle class entertainment

according to him- opera should emulate ancient greek drama by combining poetry, music, dance and visual arts into a gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art)

should be morally and spiritually uplifting

Wagner’s and Verdi’s musical styles were very different

Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon Faun (1894)

-sometimes called the first piece of modern music

-new, non germanic approach to composition from Paris (btw of german defeat in french-prussian war= french hostile to germans in late 19th century)

-focused upon qualities of sound rather than upon key-driven forms


a french late 19th century literary movement represented by Stephani Mallarme’s poem, The Afternoon of a Faun (1876), explored the art of ambiguity

had rhythmic and harmonic ambiguity, voluptuous timbre’s, and use of silence seemed to translate Sybolist poetic ambiguity into musical sound

Themes in the history of 20th century music

-focus upon rhythm and beat

-strong conflict btw popular and serious or classical music (as a reaction against wagner’s music)

-technological developments that profoundly influenced musical composition

-eclecticism and multiculturalism

-from about 1970, commercialization of music

Igor Stravinsky’s, Rite of Spring (1913)

reflects the early 20th century Parisian vogue for “primitive” tribal art and makes rhythm central by using mixed meters, irregular rhythmic patterns, and ostinatos (brief rhythmic patterns used over and over)

-also includes folk-like melodies and highly dissonant harmonies

-choreography=modernist, discarding the positions, techniques and costumes of classical ballet

Which three classical composers utilized american popular styles in their work?
Gershwin, Copland & Bolcom
rhythmic technique often associated with jazz, pushes a note ahead of or behind the main beat
blue notes

associated with jazz

slightly lower pitches

a late 19th century paino style used by african american pianists playing in bordellos, the left hand (bass notes) kelt the beat and the right hand (high pitched notes) played the melody “ragged”, anticipating the beat by means of syncopation
12- bar blues form
a pattern of harmonies originating in the blues (black vocal folk music) and used as the basis for much jazz
technological developments from 1949 on…

-first in tape recording and then in computer techniques have allowed adventuresome 20th-21st century composers to expand the 19th century interest in timbre to include any and all sounds, and to bypass the live performer, giving the composer nearly total control of sound

-also lead to new concepts of musical performance and new relationships among composer, work, performer and audience

John Cage

american composer who experimented with the inclusion of change into musical composition

famous piece 4 33 (1952), he specified only that it contain three sections, all else he left to chance

musical eclecticism

brings together musical elements from diverse musical styles that can include those of western classical music, popular music, and non western music

it is related to the multiculturalism of the late 20th and 21st century. “multiculturalism” derives from the educational theory of the 1980’s

commercialization of music

since about 1970, the commercialization of music has required catering to a mass market

in much popular music, this has led to a general “smoothing” of the sound

-in the intellectual tradition, it has resulted in a decline in innovation and a renewed use of tonality, as in Adam’s Tromba lontana

in the lovely month of may



1.      Music as the greatest of the arts (Schopenhauer, 1818)


2.      Artist-pianist as lonely hero, performing in the salon



4.      Glorification of nature and of the supernatural



song (Lied) for voice and piano,  poem by Goethe

march to the scaffold


1.      The program


2.      Central role of melody: Berlioz’s idée fixe and its transformations throughout the symphony


3.      Timbre and orchestration


4.      Musical structure of movement 4: sonata form!

la donne e mobile



a.       Focus on the voice (bel canto = “beautiful singing”)


b.      Emphasis on melody, with homophonic texture (orchestra subservient to voice)


c.       Strophic construction

the afternoon of a faun


A.    Genre: tone poem (program music)


B.     Mallarmé’s Symbolist poem: ambiguity and subtlety


C.     Debussy’s music


1.      Represents a late-19th-century artistic revolution in Paris against German music


2.      New approach to composition: qualities of sound rather than key-driven forms


3.      Musical techniques


a.       Ambiguity of rhythm


b.      No real sense of key


c.       Central importance of timbre


                                                                                            i.      Juxtaposed blocks of sound


                                                                                          ii.      Spare textures + use of silence


                                                                                        iii.      New orchestration


4.      Nijinsky’s choreography for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes

the rite of spring



a.       Primitivism


b.      Modernism


i.        Dance: rejection of classical ballet techniques, positions, and costumes


ii.      Music:


a.       Rhythm: irregular patterns + ostinatos


b.      Pitch: strong dissonances + complex harmonies


c.       Melodies: folk-like, repetitive, with limited pitch ranges


d.     Timbre: focus on “new” sonorities of winds and percussion + juxtaposed blocks of sound

billy the kid (Street in a Frontier Town)


a.       Combination of the familiar (traditional cowboy song melodies) with a modernist style

a night in tunisia


1.       Reaction against big-band jazz


2.       Smaller bands again, virtuosic solo improvisation


sonata V from sonatas and inter…


a.   For “prepared” piano


b.   Exotic timbres + repetitive patterns suggest Javanese gamelan music

er quan ying yue


a.  Instruments: erhu (2-string fiddle) and yangqin (hammered dulcimer)


b.  Heard through the filter of late-20th-century technology/sound preferences (our recording: 1997)

tromba lontana


i.         Minimalist, feel-good music: consonant, soft atmosphere “heals” all dissonances

hyperstring trilogy



                                                                                                                         i.       For electronic cello and computer-generated sound


                                                                                                                       ii.       Source: J. S. Bach, cello suites (18th century)


b.       Rock, jazz, pop, folk elements: Bernstein, Mass (1971)


c.       Non-Western musical styles

ride of the valkaries


1.      Vastly enlarged orchestral role; the singer is not the principal focus, but only one part of a larger musical fabric (“endless melody”)


2.      Continuous music (no aria/recitative distinction)


3.      Each Leitmotiv (musical idea) stands for an element in the story


4.      Harmonic richness: inspiration for 20th-century composers


billys blues

billie holiday


1.       Influence of Dixieland jazz (New Orleans, 1920s): small ensemble, simultaneous improvisation


2.       From blues: 12-bar blues form (chorus = 1 statement of the pattern)


E.      Swing or big-band jazz (1930s and 1940s, for large ensembles; composed and written down)