Composers during the beginning of the 20th century rejected what they considered the harmonic excess of the late 19th century romanticism. This unique sound has many different layers to it, coming from the combination of instruments, noisemakers, and shifts in dynamics, meter, pitch, etc. Composers reacted to what they saw as the emotionalism or indulgence of the Romantic era in different ways, and this led to the birth of several new styles such as expressionism, serialism, musical theatre and minimalism. General Characteristics of 20th Century Music. Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite … Like so many other movements of the early 20th century, primitivism had its origins in the visual arts. Start studying Characteristics of 20th Century Music. Although some composers chose to compose in older styles many sought to find their own way to simplify music. In the twentieth century, many composers continued to work in forms that derived from the nineteenth century, including Rachmaninoff and Edward Elgar.However, modernism in music became increasingly prominent and important; among the first modernists were Bartók, Stravinsky, and Ives. Painters like Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso became disillusioned with Western art traditions and sought inspiration in the works of indigenous cultures, untrained painters, and children’s art. The 20th century witnessed more developments in the sheer diversity of music styles than ever before. The current period encompasses the 20th century (1901–2000) and includes most of the Early modern musical era (1890–1930), the entire High modern (mid 20th-century), and the first part of the Contemporary (1945 or 1975–current) or Postmodern musical era (1930–current). Neoclassical: A term applied to the music of early 20th century composers like Stravinsky which reflects the 18th-century music.Stravinsky's works, particularly after the highly acclaimed The Rite of Spring, did not emphasize tonality but felt restrained.Stravinsky was discovered by Sergei Diaghilev, the producer of the Ballet Rouse. This century has seen many changes in popular tastes and styles as well as personal and social values. The history and politics of the 20th Century provided inspiration for the diverse range of musical styles developed between 1900 and 1999, pioneered by composers ranging from Elgar and Britten, to Stravinsky, Gershwin, and John Williams. One general trend of twentieth century composers is a tendency to experiment and find something new and different. Although 20th-century composers used and/or were influenced by composers and music forms of the past, they created their own unique sound. Advancing technology enabled the recording of classical music and jazz, which in turn lead to the rise of globe-straddling artists like Pavarotti and Callas. The 20th century was a time of experimentation in classical music. The use of electronic instruments and amplifiers created sounds that were never capable before. “Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries” Transformation of music in the 20th and 21st century was due largely to the innovations of artists that changed the way music is produced and developed. The 20th century was a breeding ground of musical exploration, innovation, and transformation unlike any other era in history. In Great Music of the 20th Century, Professor Greenberg unfurls a huge spectrum of new works and material across the 20th century in its entirety, these 24 lectures present a major presentation and exploration of the incredible brilliance and diversity of musical art across a turbulent century. 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