Musical Modernism with Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg

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Musical modernism can be seen as the time where music emerges its liberty from Romantic era style -that started in the late nineteen century to end of the Second World War- and gains new ideas and freedom. With the political turmoil and chaos that took over the European countries, -that lured countries into the First World War- composers and artists started to find, create more and new ways to express themselves. They eagerly began to discover the art of Eastern countries with the hope of finding new ways of expression. The changes in tonality, irregular rhythms, tone clusters, distressed and antagonistic melodies, the expressionist, abstract, unusual ideas over powers the music, the traditional structures recreated or composed with unusual techniques and music gains Non-Western elements. Therefore 20th Century Music shows its rebellion from Romantic era –and any other era in fact- and earns itself the name ‘The Modern era “ and a new importance through this movement in the history. In addition, with the modernist movement, music obtained more interest as a subject that it never had before.

“I wanted from music a freedom which it possesses perhaps to a greater degree than any other art, not being tied to a more or less exact reproduction of Nature but to the mysterious correspondences between Nature and Imagination”

Claude Debussy (1902)

Roughly from the 1900’s, the music started to obtain a big role in people’s life with its new aspects and it was not only made to please the listeners but carried meanings about life itself. With the modernist movement emotions other than love, anger and joy has started to be portrayed more securely and concisely. Composers like Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg are very...

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...s were his guard against to harmonic resolution in his music. He was mostly fascinated by the waltz and march rhythm’s - as he used these rhythms in most of his works- nevertheless with the title ‘Schoenberg’ he brought the same complex and irregular approach to these rhythms too. The irregular tempo’s that even shows differences from one bar to the other in a same piece and

The rhythms, time signatures he used in his compositions changed continually.

To conclude, these three revolutionary composers that I have analysed in this essay brought so many levels and layers to ‘Modern Music’. With their contributions Modern era was disconnected from romanticism. Without Debussy’s unique, enjoyable compositions, Stravinsky’s rhythmic and dynamic layers and new ideas, Schoenberg’s creative theories and revolutionary 12 tone system one can not think of a Modern era.

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