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Music of the 20th Century
MUSC 244
Spring 2021
Section: 01  

In the 20th century, European and American art music (classical music in common parlance) became increasingly fragmented. Composition splintered into diverse idioms and methods: the minimalism of Steve Reich, impressionism of Claude Debussy, and indeterminacy of John Cage, to name only a few. Often, the proponents of one school vehemently rejected the techniques of the others. Perhaps as a result of such schisms, the audience for classical music--particularly contemporary composition--diminished in size, to the point that critics were hailing the "postclassical era" by the 1990s. The concert hall ceased to be a showcase for contemporary compositions and became a kind of museum devoted to preserving (and occasionally reinventing) canonic works of the past. Commercial popular musics such as jazz and rock eclipsed classical music in audience appeal and relevance. While some composers attracted listeners through their interface with folk and popular musics or with film (e.g., Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein), others preferred to cultivate small but devoted audiences of initiates for their challenging works (e.g., Milton Babbitt, Arnold Schoenberg). Meanwhile, the advent of mass-produced sound recordings enabled music from distant times and places to be preserved, transported, and heard on demand, with profound consequences for the creation, performance, and consumption of music. In this course, we will explore the many trends that have marked classical musicking in the 20th century. Through extensive listening assignments and primary source readings, we will meet many of the century's influential composers, performers, critics, record producers, pedagogues, patrons, and listeners. In discussions and writing, we will explore what the past century's legacy means for us as musicians and listeners today. While previous experience with music is useful, it is not a requirement for success in this course.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA MUSC
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (MUSC)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUL-22-2024
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