Five Compositional Trends Observed During Music History After 1900 Essay

Five Compositional Trends Observed During Music History After 1900 Essay

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Name five compositional trends observed in music history after 1900. Define each and cite important composers and representative compositions.
Neoclassicism –a trend that reached its hight in the early to mid-1900s, but elements of this trend remained through much of the 20th century. Composers in this trend were focused on a return to conventional form and balance that was commonplace during the classical era as well as counterpoint that was paramount in the Baroque era. They took the genres such as the suite, sonata, concerto, and classic symphony along with the traditional forms such as sonata form, rondo, and theme and variations and infuse modern ideas of melody, harmony, rhythm, tonality, and texture. Important composers included Auric, Honeger, Poulenc, Prokofiev, Hindemith, and Stravinsky for a time. A fine example of the neoclassical style is Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 also referred to as his “Classical Symphony” composed in 1917. In the third movement Prokofiev uses the expected rhythms and formal structure of the gavotte, such as being in a duple meter, but he takes the harmony into a more modern direction. The key signature indicates the key of D, but the strong cadences are rarely in this key. When Prokofiev finally does cadence on a D major chord at the end of the A section the tonality is obscured to the point D major no longer gives a strong sense arrival at tonic.
Expressionism – This trend came about in the early 1900s. Composers of this trend attempted to evoke the human inner emotions and often times those emotions were dark. The leading composers of this compositional trend were Schoenberg, and his students Webern and Berg who became known as the Second Viennese School. One example of expressionist music is t...


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...ple group than to a geopolitical boarder. As to be expected there are leading composers in the trend from numerous cultures around the world. Famous composers post 1900 include Bartók from the Hungarian region; Sibelius from Finland; Holst and Vaughan Williams from England; and Copland, Gershwin, Ives, and Bernstein from the USA. Representative compositions include Bartók’s Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm from his Mikrokosmos, which utilize many of the irregular and complex rhythmic patterns common in eastern European folk music. Other examples include Copland’s desire to encapsulate the American sound in his compositions Appalachian Spring and Rodeo both of which have become iconic representations American music. Ives was also known to take American folk melodies and utilize them as inspiration both his vocal music as well as instrumental compositions.












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