Talk:20th-century classical music

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Table format? (discuss)[edit]

Since 20 August 2007, this article has carried a tag stating that a suggestion had been made to convert the article into table format. I see no such suggestion or discussion here on the Talk page, and the proposal seems preposterous to me. The article has many faults—it is rambling, unreferenced, and unbalanced—but I fail to see how the substance could be addressed in a table. Before deleting the tag, however (which I assume was placed there in good faith), I would like to give other editors the chance to comment.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:10, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Agreed... but we over at WPCM should really start the rewriting process. One cleanup starts I'm hoping prose will be sufficient, just as it is over at classical period (music) and romantic music. SingCal 00:43, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Calls for verification[edit]

Using this as an example, I guess I have a philosophical difference with you. Why do we need "fact" tags on things which are widely known? There's nothing whatsoever controversial about Schoenberg using a free atonal style prior to developing the 12-tone method; Stravinsky adopting a serial method after the death of Schoenberg; or the development of "total serialism" after the Second World War. When you cite everything the article becomes a clutter of dozens to hundreds of footnotes; I think it's best to cite only the things that might be challenged, or are less obvious. These three examples can be found in any competent general history of music. Any other opinions on this? Antandrus (talk) 00:51, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

"Widely known" is not an acceptable Wikipedia standard—certainly not for something like "Stravinsky adopting a serial method after the death of Schoenberg" which, if it can as you say "be found in any competent general history of music", should be no problem to cite from one. The call for verification of "the development of 'total serialism' after the Second World War" was meant to refer specifically to the derivation from twelve-tone technique, which is not as "widely known" as many textbooks would have it. As it happens, the "parametrization" of music (in Europe, as opposed to the USA) is more usually attributed to Messiaen's "Mode de valeurs et d'intensités", which is not a twelve-tone composition in any sense of the term.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 06:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I know it shouldn't be hard to find cites for things like this, but how does it help? Do you think these widely-known facts are likely to be challenged? See WP:V on citing: "Editors should provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged, or the material may be removed." Seriously? Are you challenging these statements? I think we need to set a slightly higher standard for what gets an inline cite or else cites will start to appear two-per-sentence in everything we write! Maybe this needs to be on the Village Pump or somewhere more central, because I think it's a big issue. A while back we had another editor who was insisting on a cite that Beethoven's 5th Symphony was in C Minor, since the key is not in the title, and he claimed that looking at the score was prohibited Original Research. Does adding lots of "fact" tags to an article really help it? I can see adding "fact" tags if you are questioning statements about Stravinsky's exact use of row rotation in the Requiem Canticles, or the exact inspiration for Canticum Sacrum, or the sections within Agon in which he first experimented with his individual "rows" -- but basic facts? See Wikipedia:When to cite: When a source may not be needed: subject-specific common knowledge. As I said, this may be a philosophical difference between editors here, but I think fact tags need to be rationed just a bit more carefully. Thanks, Antandrus (talk) 17:41, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Since you ask, yes, I do mean to challenge at least some of these statements. I have already given one example, which is the supposed derivation of serialism from twelve-tone technique. This is not so much an incorrect statement as a gross oversimplification but, without knowing who exactly I am meant to be answering, and without being able to verify that the editor who inserted it didn't inadvertently distort the meaning, I am floundering around in the dark. Things that "everybody knows" often turn out to be flat wrong, as well, which makes me skeptical about a lot of common knowledge.
The other factor here is that this article has (quite rightly, in my view) been tagged with three banners at the top, and two more on the "Post-modernist music" section for missing citations, need of cleanup, call for expert input, and possible violation of WP:NOR. I hope that I qualify as an expert on at least some portions of this vast subject, and have been trying to improve the article as best I can. It seems to me that the first thing needed is to identify specific statements that need references, and I inserted some of these flags as much for my own reference as for the benefit of other editors who may find citations before I can. That said, in many cases here it is probable that a single source can be found that will cover two or more challenged claims in a single paragraph. I am as wary as you are of the "two-cites-per-sentence" syndrome but, having recently gotten the Karlheinz Stockhausen article passed in a Good Article review, I have perhaps a heightened sensitivity to the current rigour of Wikipedia citation standards.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:15, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Antandrus and Jerome Kohl, you both have doctors degrees in music so maybe sometimes you think something is widely known but I don't know it yet because I am not as old as you and I don't know things as widely as you. I am not sure what subject-specific common knowledge is supposed to mean, but maybe you don't both think it means the same thing either. Maybe that is what you don't agree about. Common knowledge for people with doctors degrees is not the same as for anybody that would probably read an article in Wikipedia. I think what you call common knowledge has to be different for each article because if you are writing an article you should not have to teach everything people need to already know before they can start to understand the article, but if you are reading an article you should not have to already understand whatever the article is about before you can understand what the article says. I wish some articles could have a part that would help me find the common knowledge I am supposed to have, like at the end of each chapter in the Prentice Hall history books where there is a part that tells what books are good ones to read and it talks about what is in them and where you can find the things that they are talking about in that chapter so it isn't only a list with just the names of a bazillion books. Maybe if you give good sources at the end that tell where people can learn the common knowledge you want them to already know you would not have to give sources for so many things right in the article. Teenly (talk) 20:57, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

I like the idea of ending certain articles with a bibliographic essay, as long as there is someone with deep and balanced knowledge of the whole literature of the subject in question to write it, but that's a big AS LONG AS. The idea that prerequisite knowledge could be considered "subject-specific common knowledge" and left uncited but material within the scope of the subject of the article should be cited (I believe that was the suggestion) sounds good in theory but I'm not sure whether it would work out so neatly in practice. (talk) 00:36, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Length of the Introduction[edit]

Does anyone else feel that the introduction to this article is too long? I think that it could stand to be cut down significantly, and most of the content from the introduction should be distributed throughout the article. Or perhaps the introduction could be turned into an overview, and a much shorter introduction written. What do people think? O Graeme Burns (talk) 04:38, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree, the 'introduction' section is very long and loosely written, with tons of irrelevant details thrown in. Not only that, it makes a lot of unjustifiably broad generalizations and isn't worded all that well... KGill talk email 20:59, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Are you agreeing with O Graeme Burns about how the introduction looked in July 2008, or speaking of how it looks now, after the extensive editing undertaken in 2009 (see the section "Introduction" needs work, below)? Assuming the latter, could you be more specific about the "unjustifiably broad generalizations" made there, and the "tons of irrelevant details"?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:30, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't see the section below - my apologies. However, I still feel that the content of the introduction is rather unnecessary in light of the detailed nature of the following sections. I guess pretty much the main 'generalization' I'm reacting to is the very first sentence - At the turn of the century, music was characteristically late Romantic in style. Basically, I feel that it reduces the many interesting and novel musical trends being explored in Europe during the 1890s (Debussy? R. Strauss? Scriabin?) to the general perception that all of the music being written then was somehow traditional and even uninteresting. IMHO it would be better to dive right into the 'Romantic style' section rather than rely on a kind of non-neutral generalization that will be contradicted even in the next sentence. 'Irrelevant details' - for one example, I'm unsure what that quote from Debussy is doing in that paragraph, since it is rather tangential and indeed could serve to weaken the central point of the passage. More generally, because the topics explored in the article are merely outlined throughout it in favor of longer articles with their own pages, the introduction serves as an outline of an outline, which is at least in my view a bit overkill if done to the extent that it is here.
Again I must apologize, this time for the wording of my last message - it was much too abrupt and not all that helpful.
Cheers, KGill talk email 22:05, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. I must confess that I suspected you might have been making a sly joke by complaining so generally and broadly of "unjustifiably broad generalizations". I am relieved to learn that my (slightly paranoid) suspicion was without foundation. I do see your point, and I must confess that the opening sentence about the continuing "late Romantic style" has for years struck me as inane. I shall scrutinize this section myself, with particular attention to the Debussy quotation, but please don't hesitate to make any changes yourself that you think would improve this introduction. Detailed criticism of this sort would be welcome from other editors, as well, either in a discussion here, or by "direct action".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:38, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

List of notable composers[edit]

This one needs some clean-up. There's a lot of composers there which doesn't seem very notable at all. Added John Adams and Arvo Pärt to the list (pretty much any recent book on classical music mentions them as notable). I also removed Frank Zappa who hardly counts as a notable classical composer. Flux712 (talk) 15:22, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Ooh, you are going to catch it from the Zappa fans! In my opinion, your point is well taken, but part of the problem is that, although the article title is "20th century classical music", the section title is less restrictive. Zappa is certainly notable, and he certainly composed what is quaintly termed "classical" music. The fact that this portion of his output is of negligible importance compared to his work in rock and pop is an important distinction, but easily overlooked by those with less esxposure to the former field than the latter.
As to the other composers in the list who you feel are not very notable, may I suggest a discussion here before proceeding further? I do not personally see a single name in the list that is not notable, in one way or another.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:50, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
I think we need to decide on the purpose of this list. Is it an inclusive list of every notable composer (defined as every composer with a WP article?), or is it an exclusive list of only the most important figures, serving as examples? --Kleinzach 23:40, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Excellent point. Considering that there are already at least two full-tilt lists on Wikipedia of twentieth-century composers (one by birth date, the other by death date), not to mention the alphabetical list of all composers from any era, I think we may take your first question as rhetorical. The second question raises the issue of how to determine relative importance. To take just one pair of examples from the present list, who is the more notable composer, Percy Grainger or Jerry Goldsmith and, more importantly, what criteria form the basis for such a judgement?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 02:58, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps a numerical limit? Say 30 individuals? I realize that doesn't provide us with a criteria but it might concentrate minds. --Kleinzach 03:03, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
One way to do it -- and we have a precedent -- is to adopt an approach similar to that at List of important operas. Pick, say, eight books on contemporary music (The Rest is Noise, ... etc.); compile all the names from the index of each book; then include only those that appear in, say, four or more of the books. The problem, of course, is that it is a lot of work; it also would be biased in favor of older and deader composers. Still, it is a defensible approach. Antandrus (talk) 03:09, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps, though this sounds a bit like a beauty contest—more defensible, I think, for operas than for composers. As for a numerical limit, if I am allowed to choose the eight books, I'm quite certain I can find considerably more than thirty names included in the indexes of four of them. Thinking about a bias in favor of "older and deader composers", is that such a bad thing? There is such a thing as the test of time, and history has shown that the judgement of contemporaries is often overthrown by history.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:05, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Operas can (and are) measured in terms of productions, performances and recordings. Opera books reflect this. The List of important operas method could still be used here, but I wonder if it could give us a result proportionate to the effort involved. These list-magnet general articles are poor quality anyway. . . . --Kleinzach 05:55, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
That's my own feeling. Too much work for too little result. Who would bother? That opera list is one of the best lists on Wikipedia; but the little end-of-article lists are like weed patches, that typically grow by fan-club additions and suffer periodic weedings. Just looking quickly at the list itself, why Donatoni but not Dallapiccola? Why not Tippett? I'm open to any suggestions for improvement, including the obvious -- rewriting and massively expanding the article to include all the important names in context. Antandrus (talk) 13:33, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
It may seem perverse, but I have just added Dallapiccola and Tippett, because of course you are correct that both are at least as notable as Donatoni. I also agree that this article needs a massive amount of rewriting, and that many of these names (perhaps all of the really notable ones) should be incorporated into the main text. Perhaps one strategy would be to subdivide some sections by geographical area (for example, Electronic Music: in Europe, in America, in Japan, etc.), where mention of the more important names could be given some context, explaining the reasons for their notability.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:38, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Sorry I came to this discussion late, it seems I missed a lot of the fun. Perhaps I've been too distracted in my personal search for new, and maybe I've been wasting my money, but Panufnik seems unmentioned; I think he should be included, but I'm not sure what the criteria are. Frank Lynch (talk) 22:33, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Andrzej, or Roxanna? If the latter, the usual excuse is to start a section on women composers (like the one in 21st-century classical music), but I personally find this sort of ghettoization offensive. One thing is for sure: this article is way too short. I would say that there must be at least five hundred 20th-century composers interesting enough to add to the ones already discussed here, but please try to think of a way of putting them into context by incorporating their names into the prose text. That bare list of "other composers" is another sort of ghetto, which might be alternatively titled "Composers not interesting enough to actually write anything about". As far as criteria are concerned, it is just the usual thing on Wikipedia: if it is supported by reliable sources, just about any information is welcome.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:41, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Brutal cull?[edit]

As a rough and ready method of reducing the list, I suggest we take out the following names.

Jerome Kohl, Antandrus : I wonder if you would like to remove (strikeout) people you think should remain in the list? Ideally we can arrive at a 'common-lowest denominator' list of expellees (I've just discovered this word exists). --Kleinzach 23:18, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure how to format strikeouts (if that is what you mean to be done), but certainly Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Morton Feldman, György Ligeti, Terry Riley, Iannis Xenakis, William Walton, and La Monte Young, at the very least, should remain. Always assuming that the list is to be kept at all.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:20, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
OK. I've struck out your group for you, see <s>[[Milton Babbitt]]</s> etc. --Kleinzach 05:33, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
So easy. (Why couldn't I remember how to do that?) Now, what about some of the lesser lights in the list not nominated for deletion? Leonard Bernstein, for example. Certainly an enormously important conductor, musical educator, and mover and shaker, but hardly a composer of the stature of Copland, Stravinsky, or even Villa-Lobos.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:42, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
OK by me to add Leonard Bernstein to deletions. --Kleinzach 06:09, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Good enough. What about Arnold Bax, Ernest Bloch, George Enescu, Manuel de Falla, Henryk Górecki, Arthur Honegger, Aram Khachaturian, Zoltán Kodály (whose name isn't even spelled correctly), Ástor Piazzolla (greatest tango composer of all time, but "classical music"?), Francis Poulenc, and Alfred Schnittke? Certainly all composers of some importance, many of whom I regard very highly indeed, but do they really rank with Bartók, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Schoenberg, Boulez, Reich—or even with Mauricio Kagel, Bruno Maderna, Magnus Lindberg, and Helmut Lachenmann, who aren't even on this list (yet)?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:10, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. I've only just noticed: Why isn't Brian Ferneyhough in the list? Surely he is as notable a composer as La Monte Young or Arvo Pärt.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:51, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

This list just isn't going to fly. Horsetrading over personal preferences won't protect it against someone coming along, adding their own favourites and questioning your choices. You won't be able to make it conform to WP:NPOV like that. We've already been through all this on List of major opera composers. You either use a similar method of coming up with a "neutral" list by collating reliable sources or you do as Antandrus suggests and rewrite "and massively expanding the article to include all the important names in context." --Folantin (talk) 10:36, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

OK. I agree my suggestion of a (lowest common denominator) 'cull' hasn't worked out, but for reasons explained above, the List of major opera composers method is not really practical either. I think that leaves the 'massively expanding the article' option, eliminating lists completely. --Kleinzach 05:58, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
You won't get any argument from me. I've already started thinking about reorganization, and the first thing that I notice is how many well-documented movements in twentieth-century music are not included here, from the Primitivism of early Stravinsky and Prokofiev, the bruitisme of Luigi Russolo, and the "machine music" of Antheil and Mossolov, to the New Simplicities and the New Complexity. I think using these as a framework would provide a suitable structure for the massive expansion called for here. For the time being, can we leave the list in place as a reminder of some names that link to these various movements, with the understanding that names should be removed from it as quickly as possible, as each section is developed?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 07:04, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
OK by me. --Kleinzach 23:13, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
I have made a start, with new sections on Impressionism and Futurism. Expressionism is next. I wonder if perhaps The List should be renamed pro tem (pending its eventual removal), something like "Other notable twentieth-century composers", to give some sort of warning that the main article already includes those whose notability is already explained.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:47, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Again OK by me. Does that mean you will delete names as they are added to the main text? That would be a good idea. --Kleinzach 22:53, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that is the idea. Since no one else has jumped in to object, and you endorse the idea, I shall proceed.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:17, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Why remove Joplin? He is far better known to the general public than most other C20 composers. His music (or the style) was also influenial: consider how many composers have written rags or used the style in mainstream works. Bernstein, too, is famous for West Side Story and Candide, both of which are infleuntial is their own way. Jubilee♫clipman 01:05, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

In the nearly five years since this discussion ended, there have been a few additions to the list in the text, not all of them exactly mighty giants of compositions (Uzeyir Hajibeyov, for example). I have pruned the list once again, and added a "Main" hatnote to the section, directing aficionados of unlisted but (in their view) worthy composers to the List of All the 20th-Century Composers You Ever Dreamed of Knowing About, but Were Afraid to Ask.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:49, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Title of article[edit]

This article should be called 20th-century classical music, not 20th century classical music. Rigaudon (talk) 19:21, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

I moved the page. Rigaudon (talk) 21:32, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

I think calling it "classical" is a misnomer, since Classical Music has its own time period. That would be like saying, "baroque classical music." We need to find another term instead of "classical" for this type of music. If you think of it, using that term, movie scores would also be considered classical, insofar as some of what we deem as "classical music" was written for opera and the stage and the like.

But perhaps using a new term would be original information, so we're not allowed to use it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Parmadil (talkcontribs) 21:47, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Postmodern music[edit]

I have noted that the section on Postmodern music does not accurately summarize either of the main articles, Postmodern music and Postmodern classical music. There are just two things discussed here, John Cage and minimalism, neither of which/whom is mentioned at all in either of the two main articles.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:43, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Good point: Minimalism is not PMism... it is a later development. However, both Cage and Reich are listed in Postmodern classical music, but that article is awful! The Postmodern music article is just a list of opinions by Kramer, despite the huge list of sources. Both articles should probably be merged and the result expanded.
Back on topic though: the section needs spliting into Postmodern music and Minimalism and the actual PM bit expanding. I'll have a go, soon. Jubilee♫clipman 00:38, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I've just been looking around the web and find that Postmodern Music is a term defined in all sorts of contradictory ways. Some sites include Minimalism, some don't; others include Stravinsky; yet others say the movement rejected Stravinsky... there appears to be no consensus that I can find on this quick search. Perhaps we should simply talk about the other composers that could be here in other headings (eg Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio, Peter Maxwell Davies, and György Ligeti) BTW, I have never heard of 7/8th of the names in Category:Postmodern composers and most of the names I suggested aren't even there. One of the names in the cat appears to be made up and appears in a users sandbox... This is more complex than simply rewriting the section if no one can define PM and which composers are PMist... Jubilee♫clipman 02:47, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Style of citing[edit]

I'm not sure I like the style of citing works. I feel that linked footnotes would be better because the (Author Date, Page) style breaks the flow of the article and many readers will not recognise it. It actually took me quite while to figure out what on earth it meant, and I browse Wiki and read paper books constantly! I won't change it, since it is a valid method for Wiki when the article is heavily supported by those sources (see:WP:CS), but I do feel the inline citations would be better as linked footnotes. We can leave the References list as a kind of quick Bibliography. Thoughts? Jubilee♫clipman 23:30, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

It is entirely possible to use the author-date citation style in footnotes, but personally (and I know other editors share this view) I find footnote numbers and toggling back and forth betwwen them and the note references an unnecessary distraction. The Chicago style formats used here, as well as the similar Harvard referencing and MLA style references avoid the inelegance of footnotes.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:24, 14 October 2009 (UTC)


I've just converted the references to the standard style — without having seen Jubilee♫'s comment above — and been reverted by User:Jerome Kohl. There was an edit conflict (involving edit consistency problems) which confused things. However what was the reason for changing all the refs back? --Kleinzach 04:09, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I changed only three refs back, out of about a dozen in the article, which were the only ones altered from the established style. Surely an editor of your experience cannot believe that footnote style is a "standard" on Wikipedia? If so, please see Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Citation_styles. If you have good reasons to change from intext author-date citations, please air them here first, as per Wikipedia:Citing_sources#Citation_templates_and_tools.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:20, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
(I was in the middle of editing). Please note these are references in the body of the text. See Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners which explains how to use the Reflist template. in particular see Wikipedia:Referencing_for_beginners#Inserting_a_reference which explains exactly what I have just been doing. --Kleinzach 04:33, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Ah. Jerome Kohl has chosen to revert all the references again, despite my reply above! That's unfortunate, but I don't edit war (period). Instead I will refer this to other editors for their opinions. Should we follow standard WP referencing style in this article? --Kleinzach 04:58, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
What other kind of inline references are there, apart from references "in the body of the text"? Your "repl;y above" does not present any reason for altering the established format, let alone has a consensus of editors been reached, as specified in Wikipedia:Citing sources. The Wikipedia:Referencing_for_beginners#Inserting_a_reference which you cite is, as the title indicates, "for beginners". It is not so comprehensive a guide to referencing as is found in Wikipedia:Citing sources, which declines to come down in favor of any one format, and describes as acceptable (amongst others) the one used in this article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:10, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Look at Ludwig van Beethoven for an example of the normal way refs are done. (You are confusing the reference in the main article text with the actual citation in the dedicated References (i.e. Biblio) section.) --Kleinzach 05:19, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Au contraire, mon brave, look at Arnold Schoenberg or Luigi Nono for examples of the normal way refs are done. I am not confusing anything.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:24, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Hey guys. There are several acceptable ways of doing references on Wikipedia; as with the AE/BE spelling variants, the important thing is to be consistent within the article. Parenthetical referencing (Harvard/Chicago/MLA -- I had casually called them all "Harvard" until Jerome Kohl corrected me yesterday) is one of the accepted methods (see Wikipedia:CITE#Parenthetical_referencing) but at present it appears to be the minority case. Personally, I like it because it's easy and friendly for newbies -- those ghastly citation templates can be off-putting to new editors, although they work quite well and are wonderful once you get used to them. Frankly, I've only used the Harvard/Chicago style in a couple of articles that I've written, just because I have tried to conform to the majority view, even though I think footnote-riddling makes articles look more like first-year graduate-student term papers than encyclopedia articles. Another great advantage of parenthetical referencing is you don't have to jump down to the "references" section to see what source the writer is pulling from. Anyway -- nothing to fight about. It's all about consistency and friendliness to our readers. Both methods are acceptable. Cheers, Antandrus (talk) 00:41, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
IMO, the problem with 'parenthetical referencing' on WP (as opposed to academic print, where it is normally used) is that it is unlinked. An abbreviated reference is fine if it's connects the full title of the work cited, but this is not the case here and I think that's a disservice to the reader. We have some controversial/questionable ideas being expressed in this article, so we need to see where they are coming from. Perhaps we can have some other opinions on this?--Kleinzach 14:01, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
If you feel that strongly about it, I suggest that Wikipedia talk:Citing sources is a more appropriate forum for making your case on this issue.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:41, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Jerome Kohl: As you have just explained (above) that there is no consensus at Wikipedia talk:Citing sources so that doesn't seem a good way of resolving the impasse over this issue. --Kleinzach 05:17, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
There has been no consensus there so far, but that is the place to argue the acceptability of various reference formats, not piecemeal on individual article talk pages.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:47, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree: leave the style as it stands. It is the one used from the conception of the article and is perfectly acceptable. I withdraw my objections. Jubilee♫clipman 05:06, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Romantic style section[edit]

A number of editors have been unhappy about this section. What should we do about it? IMO it might be best to simply delete it, or drastically cut it. What do other people think? --Kleinzach 04:36, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I only see Camembert's reference to this topic in the above discussion list. Perhaps other editors have contacted you off-page. However, I for one agree that this section is at least over-emphasized, perhaps even irrelevant. A comedian once wrote that "on December 31, 1599, all the Renaissance composers died". Obviously, art styles do not change overnight at hte beginning of a new century, decade, or month. The fact that a fairly large number of composers were continuing the Romantic style in the first (or even the second, or the third) decade of the twentieth century is hardly surprising. On the other hand, it is also hardly surprising that many features of the reaction against Romanticism are found already in some composers in the 1890, 1880s, or earlier.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:30, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
See the inline comments. Also a tag put by User:Jubileeclipman. I guess that means at least four editors expressing reservations of some kind. --Kleinzach 06:26, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, but in spite of all that, I still agree with you.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:34, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I reworked it a little to tie into C19th and reference some composers who actually extended the late C19th style. I also deleted those pointless vague statements. They could be reworked, I suppose, but better to write someting new than rework something no-one can be bothered with! The cite still needs to point somewhere specific... Jubilee♫clipman 04:58, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Editorial consistency: 20th century/Twentieth century[edit]

Hmm. I spent a few minutes making this article consistent in the use of 18th/19th/20th (rather than eighteenth/nineteenth/twentieth). This follow the title of this and other WP articles and normal editorial practice. Unfortunately Jerome Kohl has again chosen to revert all my edits. What was the point of that? (The article currently has a cleanup tag which I thought referred to edit inconsistencies etc.)--Kleinzach 05:07, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

My apologies. I thought I was only reverting your unilateral reference-format changes. However, since you have raised the question, the usual standard (e.g., Chicago Manual) is to spell out century numbers, not to use numerals. The important thing, however, is to maintain consistency, as you say.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:20, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
You even reverted my correction of a typo square bracket to parentheses, see here. I'd appreciate it if you could restore all my edits. --Kleinzach 06:19, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Jerome Kohl: Once again, please restore my edits making the centuries consistent with each other and with the title (i.e. 18th/19th/20th - rather than eighteenth/nineteenth/twentieth). You may disagree with me about references but that doesn't justify bulldozing all my other edits out of the way. I was attempting, in good faith, to clean up this article in response to the tag at the top of the article. --Kleinzach 23:15, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Fixed. (Don't worry, I didn't search and replace, I did it manually ... that would have had a hilariously awful effect on the References section.) Antandrus (talk) 23:32, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I hyphenated them all for consistency (half were, half weren't). It is the establish method and follows the article title. I did not hyphate the book title nor the interwiki as these should obviously be left as they are. Jubilee♫clipman 04:14, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Isn't "20th-century" the adjective, and "20th century" the noun? "During the 20th century, composers wrote 20th-century music." Right? "20th-century" as a noun looks wrong to me, and we certainly don't use it here. Anyone know the grammatical rule? Antandrus (talk) 21:59, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, indeed, the hyphen is surely there to indicate an adjective. --Kleinzach 02:47, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Hm, not sure now! You may be right actually: 20th-century is take as a single entity when it is an adjective, but "20th" and "century" are taken as two related entities when they are noun plus qualifier. I'll read through again and make sense of it all. Jubilee♫clipman 23:49, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
I had to reword the lead to follow the rule we believe is correct: it needed a comma anyway as it stood... I've changed the noun/qualifiers back to the unhyphed form. Jubilee♫clipman 00:03, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
To back up a bit, the issue of hyphenation is not to do with adjective vs noun—"twentieth" is an adjective and "century" a noun in either case—but rather with something called a "unit modifier". When "twentieth century" stands on its own, as in the sentence "This article is about the twentieth century", there should be no hyphen (since it it absolutely unnecessary). However, in the construction "This article is about twentieth-century music", the pair of word "twentieth century" together modifies the object "century". This is called a "unit modifier". Strictly speaking, this only matters in cases of ambiguity, as in "fast sailing ship" as opposed to "fast-sailing ship". In the former case, we are speaking of a sailing ship that is capable of great speed; in the latter, a ship of any sort that is sailing quite rapidly.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:13, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Major issues to resolve[edit]

(Following posted on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Music, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical music and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Contemporary music)

The following articles overlap and the situation need to be rationalized: contemporary music, contemporary classical music, 20th-century classical music, and 21st-century classical music. The following issues are the most urgent (in order of importance):

Other issues exist, as well, but those above need immeadiate attention.

Thank you for your input. --Jubilee♫clipman 21:46, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for this. I think it's good to raise these issues. However can we centralize the discussion in one place? Perhaps Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical music? I think it will attract more attention there. --Kleinzach 02:52, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Good idea. I only posted it in all those places to raise as much awareness as possible. BTW, I will be away for most of the next fortnight and probably won't be able to edit. Just in case anyone wonders why I don't reply etc. --Jubilee♫clipman 07:49, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

This call for discussion has been posted on multiple talk pages. In order to keep all relevant discussions in one place, please post any response on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical music#Major issues to resolve. --Deskford (talk) 12:46, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Tidy up[edit]

Both the Classical Music and Contemporary Music projects tag this article as "Start". I can see why: it is merely a list of "movements" and "styles" without much explanation as to how they relate either to each other or the past and future of music. Perhaps the article needs to be rewritten in a prose style like the common practice articles? Also the list of "things" at the top seems to be growing with the addition of some oddities that are never actually explained in the text. The "political commitment" development, in particular links nowhere and means nothing as it stands. Commitment to which politics? How does this affect music? Was there a particular movement which was "politically commited"? Also, we never discuss Nationalism (Americanism?), Socialist Realism (Shostakovich), "intuitive music" (Stockhausen), "stochastic music" (Xenakis), "multimedia/happenings" (Cage, Nono, etc), or New Complexity and New Simplicity (though these are discussed in the CCM article and should remain there, IMO). I'll have a go at redressing all of this but it will take a while. --Jubilee♫clipman 16:03, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

I replaced the list with prose (and a reordered lead text) which I developed here. This seems more infomative and actually covers everything the list highlighted. The following sections can expand the ideas briefly mentioned in this Introduction. --Jubilee♫clipman 20:41, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Also sprach Zarathustra[edit]

Surely the original book is about the rise of the Superman and heavily influenced Hitler? I was really looking for a non-socialist political work. Any better ones? --Jubilee♫clipman 05:13, 24 November 2009 (UTC) PS Leighton was a composer of some note in his time but has probably dropped off the radar now I'll replace him with someone better when I can think of one.

Yes, but Strauss didn't write the book, Nietzsche did, and the issue of the Superman became a political issue with Hitler, but was not necessarily intended as such by Nietzsche. In what way does Strauss's tone poem (which was written when Hitler was 7 years old) address politics? Indeed it is a lot easier to find notable examples of socialist political music than other sorts (I imagine there must be utterly trivial example of official Third-Reich political music, or birthday odes composed by fourth-rate composers for banana-republic dictators), and perhaps the reference to politically inspired music ought to be adjusted accordingly.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:52, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Fair point: ASZ is a philosophical work and Strauss' intention in setting it wasn't actually political. It could also fuel misconceptions... I'll remove it! (I'll remove Leighton, too.) --Jubilee♫clipman 23:27, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

"Introduction" needs work[edit]

Given that this "Introduction" is probably longer than the rest of the article put together, should the various specific discussions (Impresionism, Twelve tone, Electroacoustic etc) be put into their relevent sections while leaving the more general stuff intact (breakup of Romanticism, new directions etc)? One final thought: I've missed a few things here. Messiaen, for one.

To Jerome Kohl: Your hidden texts are useful as they highlight all sorts of deficiencies in my text. The overabundance of "citation needed" is rather overpowering, however: would it be better to replace them all with a banner at the head of the section? Regarding the Experimental music addition made last night, I actually copied that directly from the main article's lead - perhaps I took the quote out of context, I'll need to check that. In fact, quite alot of this text is pinched from the respective main articles and will need to be checked for context: I'll also copy their sources over tomorrow night, where relevent! --Jubilee♫clipman 23:27, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

I've been through this kind of discussion before, on other articles. I much prefer marking the specific claims that need citations to a general banner (though sometimes both are appropriate). I don't believe it should be difficult to find verification for most of those claims, but they do require sources ("The threshold for inclusion on Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth"). As regards the experimental music description, what you cribbed from the main article constitutes the "other uses", and omits the main definition from Cage: music composed in such a way that its outcome is unforeseeable.
I think you are right about putting discussion of various movements, techniques, and styles into their relevant sections, though I have sometimes run into complaints that lede sections are too short!—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:03, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
OK. I'll play around tommorow - I've work in the morning! I see your point about putting the tags inline, though: you know where the info is actually needed. We simply need to add this quickly to avoid people complaining of unreadable text. --Jubilee♫clipman 01:14, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Good, we are of one mind on this, then.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:32, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Indeed. I've just been sourcing it and have discovered several anomolies. First, the article Impressionist music is hardly more than a stub; the famous statement by Debussy is sourced from someone's personal website rather that a reliable source. Modernism (music) is hardly useful either, though it does have better sources. Worst of all, Expressionism is reduced to a small section within the article on the main artistic movement: Expressionism#Music. Looks like I'll actually have to start reading "boox" (?sp) again...! --Jubilee♫clipman 18:14, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

I've just taken a look at the article and I think it's coming along very well. Big improvements. I agree with Jerome Kohl that citation tags pinpointing issues are more useful than general ones. --Kleinzach 00:48, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Possibly I'm just being naive, but I'm finding it frustrating having to deal with the demand for 'citations' for statements such as that Shostakovich had to work within the restrictions of Socialist Realism, and that Britten wrote politically motivated works at his own volition (rather than being forced to by the state). These facts are self-evident from reading whole articles and biographies rather than something which can be pinpointed by reference to a few pages. Also it seemed a bit harsh to delete someone's quite helpful outline (not by me) of the actual characteristics of 'impressionistic' music, simply because no one had yet provided a citation for it. Jerome Kohl, did you actually disagree with the description of impressionism in music? If not, wouldn't it be sufficient to simply leave it with the demand for a citation attached so a) the innocent reader would be alerted that this statement should probably be checked; b) someone who has the time to find a relevant citation, or is fortunate enough to know one straight off, can provide it? Alfietucker (talk) 22:25, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Regarding the sentence about impressionism, I particularly found the phrase "preference for shorter, non-symphonic forms" troublesome (opera and ballet are not short forms, and "symphonic" is a problematic term in itself), but the whole thing sounded very superficial to me. If someone can actually quote such a superficial author, then well and good—at least we know where it comes from—but I couldn't find any source that substantially agreed with that statement. I marked that passage four months ago, which I think should be enough time to find a source. The same is true for the remarks about Shostakovich and Socialist Realism, which are a gross oversimplification, but so long as someone can be pinned down as the source of this claim, then we can start finding better ways of dealing with it. "Self-evident facts" are, unfortunately, counter to Wikipedia guidelines, which hold that "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth".—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:04, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Excuse me - it seems to me that we're working to different editing philosophies. I seem to remember seeing this summarized quite well somewhere in Wiki's editorial guidelines, but it's too late an hour here in the UK for me to have the energy to find it now: but essentially I'm for a more evolutionary approach (I changed the sentence on Shostakovich and Britten, which originally read, "Other Russians, notably Dmitri Shostakovich, explored the social impact of communism and socialist realism in their music; indeed, other composers, such as Benjamin Britten (War Requiem) explored political themes in their works." to the more nuanced/less misleading "Other Russians, notably Dmitri Shostakovich, reflected the social impact of communism and subsequently had to work within the strictures of socialist realism in their music. Other composers, such as Benjamin Britten (War Requiem), explored political themes in their works, albeit entirely at their own volition."); and I was sorry to see my latest tweak, made in good faith, flattened just minutes after I'd made it. I'm also sorry if I seemed a touch confrontational as a result. Alfietucker (talk) 00:34, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think that JK's deletions are probably correct, on balance. I wrote those statements, IIRC, when I expanded the article. I had meant to revisit this article but never got around to it. The sweeping statements about DSCH and BB were a tad oversimplified; the description of Impressionism was misleading (I actually lifted it from a previous version of this article, as I recall, but was never happy with it either: we need to use Harvard or Oxford etc for definitions really). I know you tweeked those statements, but I feel they are better left out for now. Perhaps Ross has some better way to explain it all in The rest is noise? I'll check later this week. I was still learning the basics of WP editing, BTW, when I expanded this article: I have been around since 2008 but only started editing in ernest in late 2009. Hope that explanation helps --Jubilee♫clipman 02:17, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

List of other notables revisited[edit]

There was discussion above about a brutal cull of the list of "other notable 20th-century composers", though there didn't seem to be an objective way of trimming it. Meanwhile the list has been growing again. I think the only solution is to remove the list altogether. There is already a "see also" link to List of 20th-century classical composers by birth date, which should satisfy readers in need of a comprehensive list. I am going to be bold and remove the list from this article — I hope I don't lose too many friends in doing so! --Deskford (talk) 03:21, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Above is the list of names at the time of removal. Please feel free to use this as a checklist for expansion of the article as suggested previously. --Deskford (talk) 03:21, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

The only sensible thing to do. If they are notable enough to include, then there should be no trouble finding a way of working them into the text, with citations to reliable sources. We must also keep in mind that we are cultivating a short encyclopedia article here. There are at least ten names in this list that failed to make it into either of the two large volumes on the 20th century from the Oxford History of Western Music. Whatever you may think of Richard Taruskin's views of music history, that should still be evidence enough that this list has become a trivia lure.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:39, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Leaving aside the contradiction near the end of your contribution, I disagree with your "notable enough" argument. How do we explain the absence of Ligeti in this article? He is essentially the most popular "avant-garde" composer, but, by his own admission, he never stuck to a single compositional technique. Messiaen, another prominent composer, is mentioned only in the context of impressionism. I always assumed that the list was there to single out composers who elude simplistic categorisations.--Toccata quarta (talk) 06:50, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I think the absence of Ligeti arises because the structure of the article is to consider various trends / schools / movements in 20th-century composition, and, as you say, Ligeti never really allied himself to any one movement. Maybe the solution is to add a new section on those composers who don't fit the pigeonholes — who neither followed nor initiated any identifiable strand in the development of music but just dug their own unique furrow. These could include Ligeti, Messiaen, Feldman, Birtwistle.... (Or maybe adding such a section would just lead to the re-creation of the list I've just removed!) --Deskford (talk) 12:47, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Leaving aside the fact that I don't believe I contradicted myself at all, the absence of Ligeti, as well as a number of other composers in this list who are obviously important enough to include (and we all know exactly which ones those are, don't we? ;-) is down to the fact that the article is far from being a finished product. Deskford is correct about pigeonholes, the use of which is the easiest way of quickly knocking an article together. At the same time, pigeonholes almost guarantee oversimplification and thereby obstruct comprehension on the part of the reader. I have seen your recent contributions to the Ligeti article, Toccata, and you know the subject well. Why don't you consider how best to work Ligeti into the narrative of this article? If a pigeonhole is really desirable, he is often described as one of a large number of "postserial" composers, though I have always found the label postserial even less satisfactory than total serial. I think this should make a good start on dealing appropriately with this catch-all list (and its about time!). Who will be next with, say, Harry Partch, or Carl Orff? Step right up—don't be shy!—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:09, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
First you wrote, "Whatever you may think of Richard Taruskin's views of music history," thus implying that evidence extrapolated from said work is not conclusive, but then you said, "[Richard Taruskin's work on music history] should still be evidence enough that this list has become a trivia lure," thus arguing that his views are the final word on the subject of notability. Other writers may disagree with him. (On a side note, I have a two-volume book [lasting over 900 pages] on 20th-century classical music, which has no chapter and virtually zero material on Morton Feldman, a composer whom Wikipedia presently describes as "[a] major figure in 20th century music." Perhaps we should submit to its authors' views?) With respect to your irrelevant argument from authority regarding my lack of edits to the article on Ligeti, I have written, "by his own admission, he [Ligeti] never stuck to a single compositional technique," which makes it clear that Ligeti never purported to be part of any musical movement; your point is thus a non-point and without merit.
As for a solution, I was fine with the list, although it could be argued who belongs on it; I have found the approach used at User:(RT)/Major_composer_lists sensible.--Toccata quarta (talk) 18:16, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
All right, then, let me clarify a few things that I thought were perfectly evident: (1) Richard Taruskin's History has come under heavy critical fire, for which reason I though a cautionary tone was appropriate. So, no, of course the fact that he happens never to mention Villa-Lobos (for example) does not necessarily mean that this composer is less improtant in Latin-American music of the 20th century than Julián Carrillo, whom he discusses at some length. I agree completely that omission by Taruskin of this name or that is not sufficient grounds to regard that composer as being non-notable, but the omission of "at least ten names in this list" … "should still be evidence enough that this list has become a trivia lure". (2) I don't know where you get "irrelevant argument from authority regarding my lack of edits to the article on Ligeti". First of all, I did not cite any authority with respect to the article on Ligeti, let alone in reference to yourself. Second, far from complaining that you have never edited the article on Ligeti, I stated (erroneously, as it happens) that you had done so, and that you seemed to know your beans on the subject. I was obviously confusing your entirely competent editing of some other article on my watchlist (possibly the one on Roy Harris) with a different unregistered editor's work on the Ligeti article (probably User:Squandermania. I sincerely apologize for the error, and withdraw my suggestion that you may be best-equipped to add a paragraph that might include Ligeti. I shall however see what I can do in this direction myself. (3) I'm not sure what point is "a non-point and without merit", but if you are referring to the category of "postserialism", then I am obliged to point out that, should we respect composers' opt-outs from such categories, then Schoenberg never composed atonal music, Debussy and Ravel were not impressionists, and Glass, Reich, and Adams are not minimalists. In case you missed it the first time around, I expressed personal distaste for the term "postserial" (and you really ought to check the links I provided before assuming that my suggestion was entirely serious). However, since it is a term widely used and abused in the literature, there may nevertheless be some merit to including it in this article.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:55, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

New organized section.[edit]

A new "Styles and movements" section has been created in order to organize the styles and to separate them from other historical events. – Harpsichord246 (talk) 08:01, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Not a bad idea, but are you sure about the outline levels you have chosen? For example, you have put "modernism", "futurism", "postmodern music", and "minimalism" all on the same level, whereas most people would probably classify futurism as one manifestation of modernism, and minimalism as a subcategory of postmodern music. While I see you have been careful to qualify the list with "movements" as well as "styles" (thus avoiding the blunder of calling things like "free dissonance and experimentalism" a "style"), this, too, runs afoul of the same problem, by treating things like "jazz-influenced classical composition" on the same hierarchic level as, for example, "neoclassicism" and "postmodern music", both of which categories include examples of jazz influence.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 16:42, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
That was just a first positive step to reorganization. Perhaps a "Movements" section should be respective of a "Styles" section. I also agree that, combining certain subsections would be certainly necessary to avoid the possible confusion that could arise with the examples you previously gave. – Harpsichord246 (talk) 00:23, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
The inherited sections were certainly a miscellany of topics, thrown together without much (if any) thought about how they might interrelate. Two things ought to be kept in mind, however: (1) the 20th-century does tend to appear less cohesive than earlier historical periods, and (2) it has become fashionable in the past twenty or thirty years to reject such tidy arrangements of history, which means that reliable sources supporting such Aristotelian categorizations are thinner on the ground than once was the case. That said, I agree that a distinction should be drawn between "movements" and "styles". At the same time, I think that "techniques" (such as "modality", "atonality", or "twelve-tone technique") are liable to stand further away from either of the other two than they do from each other.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:56, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
All these distinctions will be taken into account as this reorganization takes place. Would this be an appropriate organization?
   1 Styles
       1.1 Romantic style
       1.2 Neoclassicism
       1.3 Jazz-influenced classical composition
   2 Movements
       2.1 Impressionism
       2.2 Modernism
           2.2.1 Futurism
       2.3 Free dissonance and experimentalism
       2.4 Expressionism
       2.5 Postmodern music
           2.5.1 Minimalism
   3 Techniques
       3.1 Atonality and twelve-tone technique
       3.2 Spectralism

Harpsichord246 (talk) 04:27, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

This looks well thought out, though it also exposes some of the shortcomings of the present article content. For example, I find it rather odd to have only futurism listed under modernism, and only minimalism listed under postmodern music. It also appears to heavily favour the first half of the century over the second. I do wonder a bit about the placement of "free dissonance and experimentalism", since free dissonance is usually associated with modernism and the pre-twelve-tone music of the first two decades of the century, whereas experimentalism has two large divisions (pre- and post-WWII), both often associated with postmodernism. Expressionism and neoclassicism are also often thought of under the umbrella of modernism, though they obviously make very strange bedfellows.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 04:52, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps a complete restructuring of the article is necessary to deliver the absolute picture of 20th Century Classical Music. But until then, this new organization would probably be better than the previous chaotic article. Although as you previously pointed out, there is no definite "Aristotelian categorization" of the 20th century's aspects, a new organization would provide the reader with a somewhat of an idea of 'where to start', if you will. – Harpsichord246 (talk) 05:06, 23 April 2012 (UTC)