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  1. “[Jimi] was actually moving in jazz circles more and more by the end of the 1960s,” Murray continues. “I think that the proposed collaboration between Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis that never happened is one of the biggest ‘What if?’ moments in the history of 20th-century music. I like to think that if Jimi was alive today, he would be a regular performer at Ronnie Scott’s. Although he made an astonishing mark on the musical landscape, I don’t think we saw the half of what he was capable of.”

    Hear Stunning Audio of Jimi Hendrix’s Final Performance, From Days...
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  3. The end of the century saw the birth of hip-hop music and culture. In the mid-1970s in the Bronx, New York DJs began isolating percussion rhythms from songs and talking over and between the songs.

    • A Cultural Gap
    • Pluralism and Diversity
    • Folk Music
    • Popular Music
    • Music and Morality
    • References

    At the beginning of the twentieth century the "cosmic principles" that traversed the expanse of history were no longer considered eternal or immutable. Subsequently the idea of transient artistic standards lacking ethical underpinnings became, in part, the basis of Arnold Schoenberg's explorations into serial techniques and the resulting "emancipation of dissonace." For the advocates of atonal serialism the Platonic concept of value in art being the result of the union of beauty, truth and goodness was viewed as a quaint vestige of a bygone era. The new music born of purly intellectual and formulaic principles resulted in music that was more often than not perceptually and cognitively opaque. Yet serialism and atonalitycontinued to hold sway for much of the later half of the twentieth century. The appearance of atonal music was thought to be a natural and historical progression evolving out of Wagnerian chromaticism and thus held a position of privilege and inevitability. However th...

    For the tonal arts these realities have led to what musicologist Leonard B. Meyer refers to as a "fluctuating stasis" in which a plethora of musical styles would coexist in an increasingly diverse world. He writes: "Our culture—cosmopolitan world culture—is, and will continue to be, diverse and pluralistic. A multiplicity of styles, techniques and movements, ranging from the cautiously conservative to the rampantly experimental, will exist side by side: tonality and serialism, improvised and aleatoric music, as well as jazz with its many idioms,and popular music... Through paraphrase borrowing, style simulation, and modeling, past and present will, modifying one another, come together not only within culture, but within the oeuvre of a single artist and within a single work of art." The result of diversity and pluralism is that there remains no "triumphant" style in the realm of "classical" or "serious" art music; a condition that should not be considered either negative or undesira...

    Folk music, in the original sense of the term, is music by and of the people. Folk music arose, and best survives, in societies not yet affected by mass communication and the commercialization of culture. It normally was shared and performed by the entire community (not by a special class of expert or professional performers, possibly excluding the idea of amateurs), and was transmitted by word of mouth (oral tradition). During the twentieth century, the term folk music took on a second meaning: it describes a particular kind of popular music which is culturally descended from or otherwise influenced by traditional folk music, such as with Bob Dylanand other singer-songwriters. This music, in relation to popular music, is marked by a greater musical simplicity, acknowledgment of tradition, frequent socially conscious lyrics, and is similar to country, bluegrass, and other genres in style. In addition, folk was also borrowed by composers in other genres. The work of Aaron Copland cle...

    Popular music, sometimes abbreviated pop music, is music belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are broadly popular or intended for mass consumption and propagated over the radio and similar media—in other words, music that forms part of popular culture. Popular music dates at least as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. In the United States, much of it evolved from folk music and black culture. It includes Broadway tunes, ballads and singers such as Frank Sinatra.

    It has become evident that in the twentieth century the condition of art music in Western culture has undergone a transformation that few could have envisaged one hundred years ago. The reasons for this transformation are many and varied including the influence of technology, the media, multiculturalism, commercialism, the increased emphasis on visual media and various philosophical, ideologicaland social changes. Perhaps the most significant philosophical change in out attitudes about art music (and art in general) is that religion, for so long the "moral compass" of society, is no longer the potent force in guiding society in the matters of morality and ethics, resulting in what educator and writer Allan Bloom referred to as a condition of "moral and cultural relativism." One result of an increasingly secular society has been that artists are less aware of the moral and ethical power of art and in many cases have slipped into a relativist mindset regarding their creative endeavors.

    Ewen, David. The complete book of 20th century music. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959. OCLC 615607
    Gardner, Edward Foote. Popular Songs of the Twentieth Century. vol. 1, St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2000. ISBN 1557787891
    Jones, Alan, and Jussi Kantonen. Saturday Night Forever: The Story of Disco. Chicago Review Press, 2000. ISBN 978-1556524110
    Machlis, Joseph. Introduction to contemporary music. New York: W.W. Norton, 1961. OCLC 381680
  4. A Brief History of 20th Century Music | PBS LearningMedia. The history, characteristics, and images, including audio examples, of 20th century musical styles are explored in an up-to-date manner through the remaking of a song in various musical styles.

    • Transitioning from The Romantic Period
    • 20th Century Movements
    • War and Political Upheaval
    • Jazz and Ethnic Folk Influences
    • Minimalism and Use of Electronics and Technology
    • Aleatoric Music and Experimentalism
    • Classical Music in The 21st Century
    • Summary

    The 20th century period of music, as its name suggests, began around 1900. It is the last of the six periods of classical music erasand comes after the romantic era that ended around 1910AD. 1. Medieval era(500-1400AD) 2. Renaissance era(1400-1600AD) 3. Baroque era(1600-1750AD) 4. Classical era(1730-1820AD) 5. Romantic era(1800-1910AD) 6. 20th Century era (1900-Present) By the end of the Romantic period, classical music had reached something of a turning point, with many conventions and structures having essentially remained in place since the Baroque era of the 17th and 18th Centuries. Composers began to reject these traditions in different ways in the 20th Century, creating a broad range of totally new and often radical music. As a result, there is no regonisable unified sound to the music of this period, and it is, in general, much more stylistically divergent than the preceding eras of Western art music.

    As we mentioned earlier, the 20th century isn’t made up of one style but actually several different movements that were popular with different composers and at different points throughout the 20th century. Below, we’ll take a look at some of these movements and the composers that lead the way in developing them.

    With two World Wars, the 20th Century was a time of major social and political change, and it was inevitable that this would have an impact upon the arts. Working in Stalinist Russia, Dmitri Shostakovich was forced to scale back his modernism in favour of a more populist, Romantic-inspired style in his symphonic works that was acceptable to the authorities, yet which remained highly creative, while his chamber works display more overtly modernist characteristics. Perhaps partly in response to the trauma of the First World War, the interwar years saw a return to more ordered art in general, with a focus on structure and emotional restraint. In music this was manifested in Neoclassicism, a movement that took influence from the Classical period. Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Sergei Prokofiev’s Classical Symphonyexemplify this as pieces that put a 20th Century twist on the stylings of 17th and 18th Century music. Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem and Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshimaby Kr...

    Jazz, which was created by African Americans, was arguably the biggest musical development of the 20th Century. The USA was now a force to be reckoned with in the world of classical composition for the first time, and a number of American composers looked towards the artform for inspiration, including Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and George Gerswhin. The latter’s Rhapsody in Bluebegins with an instantly recognisable clarinet glissando and makes frequent use of the blues scale: Non-American composers also took inspiration from jazz: Frenchman Darius Milhaud’s La Création du mondewas inspired by the music he heard in Harlem, New York, while Englishman Malcolm Arnold composed a concerto for swing clarinettist Benny Goodman. Composers also continued to incorporate their native folk music in their work, which was a tradition that began in the Romantic period. Béla Bartók collected Hungarian folk tunes, which provided inspiration for his own work, while Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote an...

    Starting in the 1960s, the minimalist school focused on using minimal musical material and making use of repetitive patterns, loops and electronic techniques, reflecting technological advances of the day. This music was generally more consonant-sounding and less overtly challenging than the modernist school, and composers like Phillip Glass and Steve Reich became incredibly popular: Musique concretealso utilised electronics. By taking recorded sounds – of instruments, the human voice or the natural environment, for example – composers like Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen would manipulate these raw materials and turn them into sort of musical collages.

    As the 20th Century continued, people came up with various inventive ways of challenging the very meaning of composition. Aleatoric music is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance. Often this means that the performer gets to determine how part of the piece should be played, perhaps with a freely improvised section. Henry Cowell’sMosaic Quartetallows the players to play fragments of the music in various different sequences, meaning that the piece can sound different each time it is performed. American composer John Cage used aleatoric elements in his music, in addition to a pioneering approach to instrumentation. He made use of a prepared piano, which has objects placed on or between the strings to alter its sound, often making it more percussive. Meanwhile, his 4’33” – in which the performers do nothing except be present for four minutes and 33 seconds, meaning that the piece is actually composed of the sounds and atmosphere in the environment – is one of t...

    Important classical music continues to be made in the present day in a range of styles. The internet has made music more accessible, making it easier for sub-genres to cross-pollinate and influence each other more easily. Music and notation software have also revolutionised the ways in which we make music. Film music has become incredibly popular as an artform, and composers like John Williams and Hans Zimmer have helped bring classical-influenced music to a wider audience.

    So that concludes our look at the classical music of the 20th Century. We have learned about impressionism, modernism, minimalism and aleatory, and about how war, politics and technology influenced music, as composers tore up the rules that were established in previous centuries. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about and listening to some of this radical and hugely varied music.

  5. 20th Century • US led the production of new music in the late 20th century • Largely an expansion of European music – Many Europeans moved or traveled in the US • Bartok, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Weill, Milhaud

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