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with thanks to HonorableRuler


New music is a “new intelligence to augment and control the compositional structure of relationships beyond notes and transitions that can unite, challenge, and delight musicians and audiences.”# According to BEAM, (for more information on BEAM please visit

BEYOND THE ROMANTIC REALM[edit] Marcel Duchamp’s beliefs on art influenced the next generation of artists and musicians, because like Cage, Duchamp was the founder of “found-art.” In other words, he sees (potential) art around him, he later defines his belief as, “art can be about ideas instead of worldly things.”# This notion, is a new phenomena in the late 19th and 20th century for many artists and musicians who wants to break away from the idea that art must carry a meaning from within in order to express emotions, and to serve or to promote moralities, for example. John Cage’s thoughts on music is comparable to Duchamp’s thought. Cage was beyond the era of “Romanticist,” because he didn’t look for beauty in nature; instead he “found music around him and did not necessarily rely on expressing something from within,” the Water Music (1952) exemplified how Cage mimicked the worldly sound that we find around us each day.#


The operation of chance is a “risk” in itself. Every time there is a risk involve, the outcomes are always “fresh,” and “intriguing.” When there no performers participate on music making, risk do becomes non-existent. Cage were able to risk the outcome by using the “chance” operation in Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951). Cage “used twelve radios played at once’ and depend entirely on the chance broadcasts at the time of the performance for its actual sound.”#


The Book of Changes, also known as the “I Ching,” has been a great deal for Cage. He uses the dice as a guidance to finalized his composition. For example, Cage would often consulted the I ching to decide how he can splice the recorded tape and put it back together in one of his composition, such as the, Cartridge Music (1960).

Arts and Music[edit]

Schoneberg belonged to the "blue Rider Group" with Kandisky and other painters. Their goal is to be more expressive by combining "symbolic, philosophical, and spiritual" elemts to satisfied their expressionism with freedom.

Composition in the 20th and 21st century[edit]

Dissolving of tonality and establishment of atonality[edit]

The appearance of atonality in Western art music in the 20th century was the beginning of an era that is known to us as modern music. In a narrower sense the term New Music, used by the music critic Paul Bekker in 1919, describes compositions by precursors and pioneers of modern music. What Bekker describes, is the moment of the dissolving of tonality in the music of his contemporaries Strauss and Schoenberg. This development started back in the 19th century when composers like Wagner, in his opening chords to Tristan, or Scriabin extended tonality to a point that single chords could not be seen in a tonal context any more. The same phenomenon occurs in the impressionism of Debussy, in Strauss and the young Schoenberg.

Why do we mis-understand Arnold Schoenberg[edit]

Schoeberg bears the blame of the appearence of atonality, and later "expressionisms." Instead of blaming Schoenberg for such "dissonance" sounding in music; we should, instead congradulates him for "breaking away" from the tradition classics (harmony)and made a giant step towards the unlimited possibilites on how we can make MORE music. We, as human beings, we never liked the unfamiliarites, and perhaps, if we take a closer look to Schoenberg's ideas; then, we could come to a understanding of his genius mind and works. First this is what he had to say as an artist who seeks for answers: "Whether one calls oneself conservative or revolutionary, whether one composers in a conventional or progressive manner, whether one tries to imitate old styles or is destined to express new ideas — one must be convinced of the infallibility of one's own fantasy and one must believe in one's own inspiration. The desire for a conscious control of the new means and forms will arise in every artist's mind; and he will wish to follow consciously the laws and rules that govern the forms he has conceived "as in a dream." After an extended period of serilism, he moved onto expressionismin 1908.

From twelve-note technique to serialism and behind[edit]

The first approaches to atonality came gradually; the idea of twelve-tone technique finally is a result of free atonality. Besides Schoenberg, who is today considered as the originator of twelve-tone technique, Joseph Hauer developed his own twelve-note system at the same time. However, the term Second Viennese School describes the works by Schoenberg and his students Berg and Webern. In his publication “Harmonielehre”, Schoenberg summarizes his technique and his aesthetics. It is a milestone in the history of Western art music; for the first time, consonances and dissonances are considered as equal material.

The idea of dodecaphony was the foundation for the concept of serialism, in which not only the set of pitches was determined, but also other parameters such as duration, dynamics and colour. The first serial work is the piano piece Mode de valeur et d'intensités by Olivier Messiaen. In the second half of the century, serialism became a very common technique among composers such as Pierre Boulez , Luigi Nono, Karheinz Stockhausen or Milton Babbitt.

Characteristic for the 20th century is the variety of styles of composition; numerous of Schoenberg’s contemporaries abandoned the use of strict atonality and formed a style that is mostly described as neoclassicism. In the first half of the century composers like Stravinsky, Bartok and Hindemith represent the idea of a free use of both tonality and atonality.

In his publication “Philosophy of the New Music” Theodor Adorno applies the term New Music specifically to the atonal works of the Second Viennese School and its tradition. He describes a rivalry between the concepts of Schoenberg’s New Music and Stravinsky’s neoclassicism. This idea has been dominating musical thinking throughout the century and has caused the strict distinction between composers who see themselves in the tradition of the Schoenberg. On the other side, there are composers like Britten or Shostakovich, whose works speak a more romantic language.

In the second half of the century there is a vast development of individual styles of composers. Compositions by John Cage or Maurizio Kagel are unique in a very personal way; it is not possible to copy their style. If Schoenberg emancipated the dissonance, John Cage emancipated the noise and the silence and put it equally along the traditional sounds of traditional instruments. There is a wide range of styles that can be put into categories such as electronic music, chance music, Minimal Music, micro polyphony, collage, Musique Spectrale and Musique Concrete or New Simplicity and New Complexity. However, many works characterise rather individual features of their composers than a certain style.

Today, there is no common style that serves as a basic to characterize the music of our time. Instead, there is the biggest variety of styles of music that has ever existed at the same time. As a composer one is free to write everything - there is hardly any taboo in contemporary music.

Contemporary Music today[edit]

For any artist to create, time and money must be invested. For any of the resulting art to be sustained, displayed, produced, or generally made public, more time and money is invested. These resources would otherwise have been allocated for subsistence activities such as acquiring food and shelter. Thus, economic support must be in place for art to flourish, and the nature of this economic support in many ways determines many aspects of artistic traditions. The sources of economic support throughout history are widely documented and studied, in many cases very specifically. By studying the shift of said support structures in a historical and cultural context and noting their effect on the creation of music, it becomes possible to create economic and cultural ‘scenarios’ and predict to a certain extent their effect on the nature of compositions. It then requires no stretch of the imagination to predict the economic trend of today’s markets and determine how this might effect music and compositional styles.

  • Performance
    • Concert/Theatrical (here or as a subcategory of Performance Venues?)
    • Venues
      • Live, Cyber, Educational
    • Standards
    • (link to "Technology")
  • Audience

There has been some concern in recent years about a decreasing attendance by the younger generation in Classical music concerts as well as a decline in classical music record sales, at least in the U.S. This has been attributed to the vastness of the varieties of music available in these times as well as the distinct absence of Classical music education in the school curriculums. Many classical music audiences are even averse to the direction that composition has taken in modern and contemporary music, such as new tonal and atonal languages, rhythmic concepts, and other radical musical developments presented in serialism, polytonality, minimalism, aleatoric music, etc. even though Classical music has been developing in that direction for the past century, which shows how out of touch much of the public has become with the genre. This is partly a result of a decline in public sponsorship that has been replaced by institutional sponsorship, namely university sponsorship, connecting Classical music with the circles of higher education and academia and alienating those who may not have been exposed to such music through formal education.

“Proper concert etiquette” is another issue that is up for debate. While the current practice is to refrain from clapping between movements, saving applause until the end of an entire piece, many newer audience members who do so anyway because of unfamiliarity with the practice are met with scorn by more experienced audience members. Supporters of the practice consider it disruptive to the concert experience and coherence of a piece to interrupt the silence between movements, while others believe that the rule is too stringent and unnecessarily promotes a haughty, disdainful image of classical music that is unappealing to many potential new audiences. Historically, clapping between movements was not considered bad etiquette, and in many cases it was actually expected. This trend, of course, changed over time due to the dislike by musicians such as Arturo Toscanini and Igor Stravinsky of the unruly behavior of audiences; they worked at ensuring that audiences treated the concert with more reverence. Some people argue that such expectations for audience behavior is proper and should be upheld out of respect for the music, while others believe creates an impersonal concert atmosphere that distances audiences from the performers and disinterests them.

In order to reach out to a wider audience, many musicians and groups have tried different methods of outreach, including pre-concert lectures and lecture-concerts, educational outreach programs in schools, audience question-and-answer sessions, casual concert settings, and so on. Some groups have found that discussion of the music helps the audience to follow it better and appreciate it more, while other people believe that too much explanation is unnecessary and excessive and that it is better for the music to stand on its own so that audience members can enjoy it on their own terms.

The popularity of Classical music among the younger generation is different for various countries. In European countries, for example, Classical music education is a much bigger part of general education than in the U.S., and in China, Classical music concerts are very well attended, even outside of big cities, and most children study one or two instruments at some point.

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Relevant Articles[edit]

I will add articles that are relevant to various topics in the outline above. Keep checking back for updates, and feel free to add your own.

Expressionism Sampling[edit]

Schoenberg's review on "Erwartung"from New York Times --- all about expressionism.

Youtube Arnold Schoneberg: Father of Modern Music


"Ears Wide Open" (Boston Globe. Oct 28, 2007). "Gil Rose had the vision to start an orchestra - though not of the typical variety. As he saw it, too much of the classical music world had become an empty cult of virtuosity, a museum culture enshrining the past and content to endlessly cycle through the same small body of works."

Music Education - School Age, Public, Technology[edit]

SmartMusic: a computer program designed to help kids practice.
1. A 5-minute NPR "All Things Considered" segment. Hear what the kids have to say as well as teachers, for and against SmartMusic.
2. "Boston Globe" (Oct 11, 2007) article for more information on SmartMusic.


Music Therapy
"The Power of Music" (Boston Globe. Oct 29, 2007). The health/recovery effects of music, both listening and composing.