Avant-garde music is a term used to characterize music which is thought to be ahead of its time, i.e. containing unique or original elements, or unexplored fusions of different genres.
Historically speaking, musicologists primarily use the term "avant-garde music" for the radical, post-1945 music after the death of Anton Webern in 1945, or "starting with Wagner" or even with Josquin des Prez.
Today the term may be used to refer to any other post-1945 tendency of modernist music not definable as experimental music, though sometimes including a type of experimental music characterized by the rejection of tonality.
See also 
- Paul Du Noyer (ed.), "Contemporary", in the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music: From Rock, Pop, Jazz, Blues and Hip Hop to Classical, Folk, World and More (London: Flame Tree, 2003), p.272. ISBN 1-904041-70-1
- Don Michael Randel, "Modernism", The Harvard Dictionary of Music, fourth edition (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003). ISBN 9780674011632.
- Edward Lowinsky, "The Musical Avant-Garde of the Renaissance; or, the Peril and Profit of Foresight", in Music in the Culture of the Renaissance and Other Essays, edited and with an introduction by Bonie J. Blackburn with forewords by Howard Mayer Brown and Ellen T. Harris, 2 vols. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989) 2:730–54, passim.
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