general trend

-extravagant experimentation that had marked the PREWAR period no longer seemed appropriate

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-turn back to other styles and genres (ex. Classicism)

-alternatives to modernism were explored

-a search for solid standards and norms (ex. Serialism) 

Modernism in music (2nd phase)

-re-emerges as the driving force in music furing the 3rd quarter of teh 20th cenutry; in a new more extreme phase

-two main (contradictory phases):

1)COMPLEX CONSTRUCTIVISTS: highly intellecutal constructive tendencies (inspired by Schoenberg’s serialism) ;

2) CHANCE COMPOSERS: relinquishing control of some elements of musical construction and leaving them to chance;


a general term for sound quality, either of a momentary chord or of a whole piece or style

-one of the two areas in which avant-garde music in post WWII pahse made the greatest of its breakthroughs (the other area was TIME and RHythm) ;

musique concrete

1 of 3 stages of electronic music

-incorporating sounds of life into compositions

-lives on in ;sampling;;


1 of 3 stages in the evolution of electronic music.

-appartus designed for music with arrays of sound-producing modules connected by ;patch cords; to create complex sounds ;

computer music

last of 3 stages in the evolution of electronic music


chance music

also called aleatoric music (dice)

-certain elements usually specified by the composer are left to chance

-chance composers questioned assumptions about musical time

-stress a passive sense of time that cuts against goal-directed culture



typifies search for new sonorities and also new attitudes towards time

-some music uses no clear pitches or chords

-;sound complexes; ; slowly change over time; so many pitches that consonance, dissonance and quality of pitch is lost

-no discernable time or rhythm

-;drone-like; quality (glacial surging, sense of receding, yet diverse tone colours).

-MUSICAL FORM: simplicity.;

poeme electronique


-extraordinary multimedia experience, 1958 World Fair;


an interesting composer who bridged BOTH phases of modernism in twentieth-century music

-1920s; music among most radical

-approach to RHYTHM and SONORITY (especially)

-makes use of MUSIQUE CONCRETE IN ;poeme; ;


the most consistent radical figure of postwar music (the ;father; of CHANCE music); following footsteps of Ives

-studied with Schoenberg;

-statement often more important than the SOUNDS



-earliest and most famous of the new styles emerging in the mid-1960s

-sharp reaction ot complexities of modernist composition

-uses very simple melodies, motives and harmonies repeated many times

-presentation of long, slowly changing blocks of musical time (similar to modernist experimentation) ;


-old master of the minimalist style

-MUSIC FOR 18 MUSICIANS: one of the early classics of minimalist style

-includes singers, cellists, violinists, clarinetists, and large percussion

-has timbre; percussive sound alternating between ringing and dry and brittle; reminiscent of the gamelan orchestras in Indonesia

-piece is not directed by a conductor but by the RESONANT VIBRAPHONE

-piece rigorously, schematically organized;

music for 18 musicians

-modernist (20th century)


-demonstrates minimalits’ love of symettrical musical forms (arch form in this case; A B A B A)

-demonstrates minimalists’ ability to make us hear MUSICAL PROCESS in a new way/with a new concentration (incessant repetition means we focus on the gradual changes)

the grammar of dreams

-SAARIAHO (1988)

-a cycle of five songs for two unaccompanied sopranos

-song set to words of Plath; bring together prose and another poem

-scatters stanzas unevenly across her five songs

-superimposes two different texts sung simultaneously (similar to the isorhythmic motet of the middle ages)


today’s compositional scene is most noteworthy for three tendencies:

1. eclecticism: free, juxtaposing of many different styles and gestures

2. its self-conscious reference ot earlier styles and genres

3. its strong, straightforward expression  

long semidramatic piece on a religious subject for soloist, chorus and orchestra