Being an ardent lover or follower of the music and theories of Wagner.

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making trips (pilgrimages) to the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, owning copies of Wagner’s scores, prose writings, etc, or

       Musical Ex:

Composing using Wagner’s methods, such as Leitmotivs (Elgar, Dream of Gerontius 1900); unending melody and orchestration techniques (Strauss, Don Quixote 1897, Debussy, Trois Nocturnes, “Nuages” 1900, Mahler, Kindertotenleider and “Liebst du am Schönheit” 1901) or chromaticism (all of the previous composers’ works).


Music Drama

Wagner’s term for his operas, such as Die Walküre (1870).


*Extra: Music dramas were always Gesamtkunstwerke, and would use elements such as Leitmotivs for their compositional material.



“total work of art” 


W’s goal was to enhance the drama by allowing the composer to control all aspects of the production including music, text, sets, scenery…


Ex: Die Walk;re 1870


* Wagner even had his own special theater made for the above works.


a reoccurring theme usually w/in vocal works (operas, music dramas, oratorios) that signifies a person, place, thing, or idea. 


A form of representative text painting. 


Ex: “Spear” and “Fire” motive from Die Walkure 1870

Anxiety of Influence

The idea that composers in the age of Beethoven had to fight against his perceived influence to gain both a hearing and creation of something new/unique. 


4 Choices: Copy, do Beethovian technique more than B did (C. Schumann, rhythmic motive, op. 10 Scherzo), work in styles/genres that B didn’t like (program music, characteristic pieces, Chopin’s Nocturne in Db), or improve/misread B’s compositions (Berlioz, Sym. Fantastique). 

Program Music

music that attempts to present an extra- musical idea via the use of a printed program/ section titles/etc. 


Ex. Characteristic pieces, program symphonies, tone poems. Chopin’s Nocturne in Db “Nuages” 1900


Absolute Music

Abstract 19th century music with no program (that can evoke an emotional response). 


Often composed in Classical-era genres i.e. Symphony, solo sonatas, string quartets. 


Ex. Composers: Brahms and R. Schumann


Opposite of programmatic composers: Liszt and Wagner


Ex: Brahms Fourth Symphony (1884)



New German School

group of composeres that favored program music over absolute. Thought of themselves as “heirs of Beethoven”. 


Compositions sanctioned by NGS: Liszt’s Orphee and Les Preludes; Strauss’s Don Quixote (1896-7) <– all tone or symphonic poems. 



Symphonic Poem

A.K.A. Tone Poem


usually one mvmt. programmatic composition, which might suggest a scene, create mood, or develop a specific image. 


Liszt developed the genre based on Berlioz’s program symphonies.


Ex. Smetana’s “The Moldau” 1880, Strauss’s Don Quixote 1897



repeated melodic pattern similar to a “round”. 


Ex: Brahms uses a chaccone as the basis for last mvmt of Fourth Symphony (1884-5) 


celebrating one’s country through music and culture. 


Requires a pride in nation’s cultural achievments, support for promotion of cultural achievements (schools…) composers and artists willing to promote works based on national ideas, and a hegemonic power to oppose. 


Ex. Smetana’s The Moldau 1880. 




19th Cent. trend in which composers wrote music that evoked feelings and a setting from distant lands/cultures. 


Ex. Bizet’s Carmen (French parody Spain and Roma cultures) 1875




type of 19th- cent. opera that presents normal ppl in everyday situations, often framed by brutal/ sorbid events. In Italian, this is known as verismo. 


Ex. Bizet’s Carmen 1875

National Society for French Music 

(Gesellschaft fur Musik freunde)

in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War 1870-71), this org. was founded to help promote French music.


Sought to alleviate embarrassment of losing to the Prussians by focusing on cultural cohesion to promote idea of French cultural superiority. 


Debussy (Nocturnes Db “Nuages” 1900), Faure, Saint-Saens were effected by this. 

Exposition Universalle
Held in 1889. Included exhibits from all over world. Debussy first heard a Javanese gamelan here and many believe this lead to Debussy’s sonic impressionism in “Nuages” (1900). 

Early 20th cent. term derived from art, in which music avoids all traditional forms of “beauty” in order to express deep personal feelings through exaggerated gestures, angular melodies, and extreme dissonance. 


Ex. Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (1912), Berg’s Wozzeck (1914)


21st cent technique in which notes of the melody are distributed among different instruments of the ensemble in a pointillistic style. 


Can also refer to use of slowly shifting chords, where the melody jumps from one voice to another. 


Ex. “Farben” (Colors) mvmt. of Schoenberg’s Five Orchestral Pieces (early 1900s). 


a technique whereby a singer half-sings and half-speaks a melodic line. 


Ex. Schoenberg’s Pierre Lunaire 1912 and Berg’s Wozzeck 1914 

Twelve Tone Music

20th- cent. form of atonality based on the systematic ordering of the 12 notes of the chromatic scale into a row that may be manipulated according to certain rules. 


Ex. Webern’s Sym. mvmt 1, 1928


atomizing a musical line amongst different instruments or registers. 


Ex. Webern Sym. op. 21 (1928)


using inspiration from early human history or non-Western history within a composition or artwork. Often heavy use of exoticism, folk, folk-like materials, heavy reliance on rhythm. 


Ex. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring 1913

Ballets Russes

Russian Ballet company organized by Diagalev to bring exotic Russian dancing to Paris. 


Ex. Le Sacre de Pritemps (Rite of Spring) 1913 by Stravinsky was written specifically for this company. 


* Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, etc wrote specifically for this co. 


A stage work danced by professionals. A dramtic work that includes a story relayed through dance and music. 


Ex. Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring) 1913.

Four Idiots
Stravinsky(composer, co-writer), Ninjinsky (choreographer), Roerich (ethnologist, co-wrote scenario, scenery), and Diagalev (funder): the individuals responsible for creating/producing Le Sacre du Printemps. Called “four idiots” in press after a riot at premiere of the ballet. 1913

20th century style that revealed a preference for “balance, coolness, objectivity, and absolute music.” A mvmt to revive forms, genres, and styles of 18th cent. 


These forms, genres, and styles included, but were not limited to, those from Classical, Baroque and Renaissance periods. 


Ex: Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (Early 1900s), Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony (1917). 

Status vs. Contract

metaphor used to describe…


Status music: music that requires the audience to educate themselves in order to understand the composer’s intension


Contract Music: music that is meant to be instantly communicable. 


20th-cent. style of composition whose proponents make a conscious radical break from the musical language of their predecessors and contemporaries while maintaining strong links to tradition.


Ex. Composers: Stravinsky (Rite of Spring 1913), Schoenberg (Pierrot Lunaire 1912), Webern, Berg (1914), Bartok (1936)… all early 1900s

English Musical Renaissance

period between 1880- 1940 (or 1960) of increased indigenous compositional activity in England. 


Ex. Pieces by Elgar (Dream of Gerontius 1900), Vaughan Williams (Five Tudor Portraits 1935).

English Folk Song Society

Founded in 1898 by group of leading musicians in order to direct the collection and preservation of Folk Songs, Ballads, and Tunes and the publication of such of these. Ppl believed that rapid industrialization of Britain was killing off folk music. 


Members: Holst, Vaughan Williams


Ex. “The Tunning of Elinor Rumming” from Five Tudor Portraits 1935.


Elevation of rural and/or folk music into material for concert music, or material to be used ad basis/imitated to compose concert music.


Ex. Vaughan Williams “The Tunning of Elianor Rumming” from Five Tudor Portraits 1935; Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta 1936 


Music style popular at the turn of century that features a syncopated melody over a regular, march- like bass. 


Ex. Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” 1899


Largely derived from Ragtime. Adapted ragtime’s left hand patterns (one note, usually tonic) to form the distinctive ‘stride bass’ on the first half of the beat along with a more expanded chord on the second half of the beat. 


Ex: Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” 1899

New Orleans Jazz

Jazz style prevalent in first two decases of 20th century that featured two or more individual soloists (coronet, clarinet, trombone) backed by a rhythm section (piano, drums, occasionally tuba). 


Ex: Hardin’s “Hotter than That” 1927


Jazz Style, popular in 1930-40s that concentrated on ensemble playing through groups (choirs) of instruments: sax, trumpet, trombone, rhythm section


Ex: Ellington “Ko-Ko” 1940


Jazz, particularly popular in 1940-50s that focused on improvisation with small ensembles (usually just rhythm section and 1-3 soloing instruments). 


Ex: Parker and Gillespie’s “Koko” 1945 and Monk’s “Misterioso” 1948

Harlem Renaissance

Intellectual mvmt during 1920-30s centered in Harlem, NYC that celebrated and embraced African American traditions, history, art, and culture. The mvmt paralleled developments in Jazz and the entertainment culture of Swing.


Ex: Ellington’s “Ko-Ko” 1940


a momentary interruption in the accompaniment (especially of the rhythm section) when the soloist is featured. 


Ex: Hardin’s “Hotter than That” 1927 with clarinet solo. 


In Jazz, a statement of the harmonic progression in the opening tune, over which a one or more instruments play variants or new musical ideas. 


Ex: Hardin’s “Hotter than That” 1927; Ellington’s “Ko-Ko”1940; Parker and Gillespie’s “Koko” 1945 and Monk’s “Misterioso” 1948. 


Short melodic ostinat, usually 2-4 bars long that may be either repeated intact (strict riff) or varied to accommodate an underlying harmonic pattern. 


Ex: Duke Ellington’s “Koko” 1940

Free Jazz
Performers given free reign in elements that might include tonality, tune, and chord sequences, also features collective improvisation. 
Prepared piano

a technique used in 20th cent. to expand sonic possibilites. The Piano would be “prepared” through insertion of objects on top of and into strings, including screws, nuts, bolts, erasers, wedges, etc. 


Ex: John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano 1948, etc. 

Aleatoric Music

A.K.A. indeterminancy, chance music, chance operations.


Music includes elements of random activity built into the composition. 


Ex: Cage: Music of Changes, Book I, 1951

Elektronishe Musik

music based on sounds that are produced or modified through electronic means. 


Ex. Babbitt’s “Philomel” 1964

Musique Concrete

Style of music created by recording sounds and manipulating them (working “concretely” from the music), instead of abstractly (by creating notation). 


Ex: Cage, William’s Mix, 1952


One of the leading musical styles of the late 20th century, in which materials are reduced to a minimum and procedures simplified so that what is going on is immediately apparent. Considered to be a hybrid genre, combining elements of classical composition with world music and popular music.


Lansky’s “Notjustmoreidlechatter” 1988


Concept Album

Album arranged with a specific theme or narrative in mind. 


Ex: The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967


Other ex: Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds , Pink Floyd’s The Wall , The Who’s Tommy , XTC’s Skylarking , and Styx’s Paradise Theater and Kilroy Was Here .


Pop Music

“Term coined in the 1950s for music that reflected the tastes and styles popular with the teen and young-adult market.” Our elaborations: “ Rock and Roll with emphasis on arrangements beyond traditional ensembles. ” “Pop” was often gendered as “feminine” as opposed to Rock’s “masculine.”


Beatles’ Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967

Rock Music

consolidation of earlier Rock and Roll with emphasis on youth audience, “authenticity” (via a return to the Blues and sticking with original, stripped-down Rock and Roll ensembles) and amplification; thought of as “masculine” as opposed to Pop music’s “femininity.”


Ex: Rolling Stones’ “I Wanna Be Your Man.” 1963

Rock and Roll

A musical style that emerged in US in 1950s as a blend of primarily rhythm-and-blues, country music, and Tin Pan Alley.”


A mix of rhythm and blues and country music along with Tin Pan Alley song forms and gospel ornamentation that featured at its core an ensemble that included electric guitars, drums, and possibly electric bass and keyboard.


Ex: Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock around the Clock.”