Lorenzo Da Ponte’s (1749-1838) non-musical career

Professor of Literature

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(He wasn’t actually a composer; he was a librettist)

Gioachino Rossini’s (1792-1868) non-composer career
In retirement, he was an amateur cook (joke that he gave up composing for eating)
Franz Peter Schubert’s (1797-1828) non-composer career
teacher at his father’s school
Robert Schumann’s (1810-1856) non-compositional career

music critic in Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik

attended law school but never went to class

Franz Liszt’s (1811-1886) non-compositional career

wrote biography of Frederic Chopin

wrote essays

Hector Berlioz’s (1803-1869) non-compositional career


music critic

Frederic Chopin’s (1810-1849) non-compositional career
teaching young women from rich families how to play piano
Clara Schumann’s (1819-1896) non-compositional career

teaching music

mentoring Brahms

Felix Mendelssohn’s (1809-1847) non-compositional career


founder of Leipzig Conservatory

Victor Wagner’s (1813-1883) non-compositional career
writer (essays, reviews, books, drama)
Giuseppi Verdi’s (1813-1901) non-compositional career
Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s (1840-1893) non-compositional career
professor of harmony at Moscow conservatory
Modest Musorgsky’s (1839-1881) non-compositional career
military career
Arnold Shoenberg’s (1874-1951) non-compositional career


bank clerk

music theorist


Joseph Joachim’s (1831-1907) non-compositional career
Antonin Dvorak’s (1841-1904) non compositional career


professor at Prague University for one year

Johannes Brahms’s (1833-1897) non-compositional career
choral director
Gustav Mahler’s (1860-1911) non-compositional career
Richard Strauss’s (1864-1949) non-compositional career
Charles Ives’s (1874-1954) non-compositional career
insurance worker
Bela Bartok’s (1881-1945) non-compositional career
Alban Berg’s (1885-1935) non-compositional career
military service

Bartok’s compositional procedures/structures

  • using elements of folk music (style hongrois)
  • Hungarian, Arabic, Romanian influences
  • importance of “nature”- cultivating an understanding of modern music from childhood
  • Concerto for Orchestra
    • arch structure (sonata form/scherzo/elegiastic movement (arch form)/scherzo/sonata form)
    • Intermezzo interrotto
      • interrupting theme = direct quotation from Shostakovich’s Leningrad (representation of vulgarity)
      • altered quotation from Vincze as symbol for prewar Hungary (inversion of Shostakovich)
      • use of “flatulence” in trombones
    • borrowed
  • Bluebeard’s Castle
    • building on folkloric and classical music traditions
    • use of symbolism

Anton Webern’s compositional procedures/structures

  • found salvation in 12-tone system
  • spare and transparent textures
  • economy and symmetry
  • frequent use of canon, throwback to Renaissance artists
  • Symphony, Op. 21
    • two movements
    • reduce number of independent row forms
    • multiply field of potential relationships between row forms
    • Primary row = half steps and thirds, with tritone in the middle (intervallic palindrome)
    • only twelve possible primes and twelve possible inversions
    • tightly controlled, multidemensional symmetry
    • unity above all else

Ives’s compositional procedures/structures

  • atonality
  • chromaticism
Places in New England
  • use of polytonality (different keys at once) and polyrhythm (different groups of instruments at different rhythms)
  • use of klangfarbenmelodie-placing the melody in multiple instruments
  • dissonance

Concord Sonata

  • quoting Beethoven’s fifth

mirror (palindromic) and arch forms 

(explanation and example)

Mirror Form

  • can be applied to individual movements/segments of a larger piece or can constitute one individual movement/segment
  • in the context of serialism: intervals in each hexachord mirror each other (ex: Symphony, Op. 21 Webern)
  • Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra: sonata form-scherzo-intermezzo interrotto (arch form)-scherzo-sonata form

octatonic scales

(explanation and example)

  • based on alternating whole and half step intervals
  • Ex: C, D-flat, E-flat, E, G-flat, G, A, B-flat, C
  • Used in the theme and variation section of Stravinsky’s Octet for Wind Instruments

symphonic/tone poem

(explanation and example)

  • one-movement: might be broken up into sections
  • Liszt: symphonic poems, Strauss: tone poems
  • program music
  • for Strauss, involved leitmotivs

12-tone system

(explanation and example)

  • Schoenberg first used technique in Suite for Piano, Op. 25
  • also known as serialism
  • based on idea of “emancipation of dissonance”
  • “composition with twelve tones only related to one another”
  • no need for a tonic
  • no individual note has more importance/centrality than any other
  • rows are subdivided into 3-, 4-, or 6-note segments (four trichords, three tetrachords, or two hexachords)
  • focus: interval content, not pitch content
  • can be transposed, shifting starting pitch but keeping same intervals
  • can be inverted, reversing direction of intervals (ex: ascending a major 3rd in primary tone row and descending a major 3rd in inverted tone row) 
  • can be retrograde, played backwards
  • can be retrograde inverted