Atonal music is a feature of some 20th-century music.

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History (20th Century) (Page 1)

From formative principles to formal structures to just about every other musical parameter at work in free jazz, furthermore, a prominent feature is the use of asymmetry and disjunctedness. The juxtaposition of disjunct elements and the creation of a sense of unbalance are also, of course, very prevalent factors in much of classical music in the 20th-century. In reading Jost's I found that pioneers of free jazz made such innovations especially in the following categories: (a.) in the way they phrased things, (b.) in the musical content of these phrases, (c.) in rhythm, (d.) form, and (e.) in texture, all of which have good comparisons in 20th-century classical composition.

A unique of traditional forms with new processes, furthermore, presents itself in the music of Albert Ayler: "The source of [Ayler's] difference is the coupling of radicality with a regression to the simplest musical forms" (Jost 124). In his improvisations one can often find a direct juxtaposition of "archaic melodiousness" with his "playing what could be called waves of overblown tones that have no definite pitch, but appear as contours or "; his music possess "an occasionally weird mixture of folksong cheerfulness and pathos" (Jost 124). Clichés and traditional jazz "riffs" are contrasted and interspersed with distorted sounds and dissonant non-tonal playing that makes for a tense dialectic in Ayler's music between sanity and insanity, tradition and revolution. A very good example of this in 20th-century classical music is Berio's "Sinfonia," in which large swells of dissonance counter things which are very tonal sounding, like the third movement of Mahler's second symphony, the skeleton of which is quoted as a backdrop. Another example is John Zorn's "Forbidden Fruit," which quotes very classical/tonal sounding excerpts (Beethoven amongst them), directly juxtaposing them with excerpts which are distorted by tape techniques or with extended techniques of the violin, creating a sort of "counterpoint" of different styles, similar to contrasts in Ayler's music.

However, one gem of a composition was to turn twentieth-century music on its head.

20th Century Music Essay - 375 Words - StudyMode

The music history of the 20th century is Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, and the Beatles.

Though not labeled as such, free jazz musicians also employ "aleatoric" structures, much in the way of 20th-century classical music, using sounds to be chosen indeterminately by the performer or left to chance. This can be found, for instance, in Coleman's collective improvisation on which has fixed passages that members of the ensemble perform asynchronously: "...here the players are provided with tonal material whose timing is not fixed, a procedure which was to be highly important as a composition technique in the later development of free jazz" (Jost 59). This style of controlled chance can also be found in the classical spectrum in Witold Lutoslawski's "Venitian Games" or his "Paroles Tissées," each which similarly provide different parts which are specifically notated but do not provide a fixed relationship between each other, creating a blurry aural effect. Coleman also displays aleatoric techniques in his use of trumpet and violin, neither of which he knew how to play in a traditional way and used instead as "sound-tools"—producers of sounds, rhythms and emotions without necessarily tonal content: "Whereas the overriding impression of Coleman's alto is of his conscious control of the instrument and the improvisation, that of his violin (and to a lesser extent his trumpet) is of the abdication of conscious control, and a reliance on pure chance" (Jost 65). Such a conscious "abdication of conscious control" is likewise the strategy of John Cage in his "Freeman Etudes," which uses the arbitrary pattern of star charts for the material of its musical content in an attempt to remove the composer from the very process of composition itself and to objectify the composer's position with relation to his music. Boulez made similar efforts to remove himself from the decision-making process by designating row formations for every musical parameter in "Structures."

Besides using and varying traditional forms, free jazz also replaced them in some instances with entirely new kinds of formal structures. These new forms, furthermore, took on four general guises, all of which have good comparisons in 20th-century classical music: (a.) programmatic designs, (b.) aleatoric structures, (c.) the use of "process," and (d.) music that is non-goal-oriented, or "static."

Consider the development of atonal music in 20th century

The use of process, a prevalent practice of 20th-century classical composition, is also a formal innovation in a lot of free jazz. This can be best exemplified, I think, in the music of Don Cherry on . Here, the formal structure is determined by a process which gradually progresses through a series of pre-established themes; he creates a thematic "catalogue": "a list of alternatives to be chosen from during a concert or recording; that is, they are used when and where it occurs to Cherry to use them. Spontaneously deciding to pick a theme from that catalogue at a given time and in a given musical context, is itself an act of improvisation. Cherry improvises not his themes, but them" (Jost 154). The themes in Cherry's catalogues often "consist of short, rhythmically and melodically clear-cut patterns" which he "repeats several times in ostinato fashion" gradually evolving variants or proceeding to different themes (Jost 154). This process is similar, I think, to the use of process in Franco Donatoni's "Lumen," which possesses a certain "mechanical" quality about it: each part has a very simple "clear-cut pattern" which is repeated as an ostinato and evolves until it ultimately becomes something else which is also very simple and defined. Such gradual evolution of clearly defined ostinatos is also a prominent feature of a lot of Messiaen's work: for example in each of the different parts throughout "Quatuor Pour La Fin Du Temps" and in each of the two pianos in "Amen de la Création" ("Visions de L'Amen, mvmt. 1").

Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, and Nadia Boulanger: the triumvirate of 20th century music.

MUSIC4 required as many different instruments as the thickest chord, while MUSIC5 allowed a score to refer to an instrument as a template, which could then be called upon as many times as was necessary.The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center was formally established in 1959.

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Stravinsky in 20th Century Music Essay


The Defining Music and Musicians of the 20th Century

Another method of creating rhythmic disjunctedness in free jazz is in the use of ameter, which can be heard at times in the music of Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler. Cecil Taylor had started using drummers in 1961 who developed "urgent, dynamic chains of impulses... largely negating metre," and this metrically free rhythm became a "continuous source of energy" for Taylor's energy-sound playing (Jost 72); likewise, "Ayler's negation of fixed pitches finds a counterpart in [his drummers'] negation of the beat. In no group at this time is so little heard of a steady beat, as in the trio and quartet recordings of the Ayler group [in 1964]. The absolute rhythmic freedom frequently leads to action on three independent rhythmic planes" (Jost 128). The concept of ametric meter, or atonal rhythm, is also used in 20th-century music. In such music, the notated meter is more of a framework for the performer than a description of a perceived meter. Ameter can be experienced in the opening section of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," and in much of Webern's "Sechs Bagatellen," where the music, as I have previously noted, is composed of irregular rhythmic fragments. Also, Ligeti's concept of "micro-polyphony," in "Lontano," for example—similar to Webern's concept of layered fragments—also lends itself to an ametric sound mass.

Early 20th Century Music - Term Paper

A good example of this in 20th-century classical music can be found in Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," which, as Figure 20 shows below, also irregularly accentuates a constant eighth-note pulse.

Read this essay on Early 20th Century Music

Rhythm is another musical parameter which free jazz often manipulates in asymmetrical ways. Besides playing phrases off the beat, Coleman, for example, likes to employ asymmetrical accentuation patterns to blur the metrical divisions that define the music: "A similar way of heightening tension is Coleman's practice of subdividing lines of eighth notes into alternating groups of three, four, or five notes, by shifts of accent arising from the melody... what we see is not different superimposed rhythms—, three against two or five against four—but an even eighth-note motion, accentuated in a way that runs counter to the metre" (Jost 55) (see Figure 19 below).

Free College Essay 20th Century Music

This construction of phrases through fragments is well exemplified in 20th-century classical music by Webern's "Sechs Bagatellen" in which musical flow is also broken up into several isolated rhythmic identities, and dynamic markings as well as articulation and register are highly variable from one fragment to the next in each of the four voices: this method being labeled "," or "sound color melody." Albert Ayler, also, like Shepp, often displays "a pronounced discontinuity of phrasing, a result of (1) short flourishes, (2) single staccato tones, and (3) wide leaps" (Jost 123), and, it is interesting to note, a look at a transcription of one of Ayler's improvisations (see Figure 18 below) looks very similar in character to the "sound color melody" of the Webern "Bagatelles."

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Formal structures in free jazz also sometimes display asymmetry as we have already seen in the case of continual variance in the music of Sun Ra, which, like through-composed classical music, ends differently from how it begins and does not create repeated divisions as in traditional forms (AABA, ABA, etc.). A really good example of asymmetrical form can also be found in Ornette Coleman's composition "Mind and Time": "A division of the melody into bars (which at the same time implies an accentuation of certain beats) is irrelevant; since the tune is 11 and 1/2 'bars' long, notes falling on 'one' the first time round would fall on 'three' in the repeat" (Jost 57) (see Figure 22 below).

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