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Music Since 1945. Intro Part II. Characteristics of post-1945 music. Part I Increased used of 12-tone system Extension of serialism Chance music Minimalist music Frequent use of quotation Part II Return to tonality by some composers Electronic music Use of “noise” Mixed media

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Music Since 1945

Intro Part II


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Characteristics of post-1945 music

  • Part I

    • Increased used of 12-tone system

    • Extension of serialism

    • Chance music

    • Minimalist music

    • Frequent use of quotation

  • Part II

    • Return to tonality by some composers

    • Electronic music

    • Use of “noise”

    • Mixed media

    • New concepts of rhythm and form


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Return to tonality

  • Composers trained in twelve-tone techniques found tonality to be a fascinating “new” option

  • Some works are tonal, while others are atonal with chord progressions that give a fleeting sense of tonality

  • Could also be looked at as a reaction against serialism


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Electronic music

  • As varied as non-electronic music

  • Synthesizers, tape, and computers allowed composers to manipulate sound directly

  • Sometimes combined with human performers in a number of ways

    • Human performer accompanied by recording

    • Piece is recording of a person playing

  • Electronic instruments and sampling of instruments becomes common


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Increased use of “noise”

  • Composers begin to use new sounds in composing

  • Sounds can be created using extended techniques

    • Flute player clicking keys

    • Piano player reaching in a plucking piano

  • New notation developed to use these new sounds

  • Composers used microtones in new music, which are intervals smaller than a half step

  • Direction sound is projected becomes important


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Mixed media

  • Music is presented with visual counterparts

    • Slide projects, light shows, gestures, and theatrical action

  • Composers ask performers to double as actors

  • Intended to break down the traditional concert and increase communication between the composer and audience


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New Rhythm and Forms

  • Increased use of unusual and mixed meters

  • Some composers abandon use of meter and rhythm all together, preferring absolute units such as second

  • Form is no longer absolute, and composers allow the piece develop without holding to a rigid structure


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