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90 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
The sacred music supported by the pilgrims who settled in New England was in which style?
In simple, four-part style.
Which type of opera rose to popularity in cities during the early to mid eighteenth century?
English ballad opera
In the early eighteenth century, instruction books on musical notation began to appear in order to improve declining congregational singing. True or False?
A fuging tune is a tune that contains a properly-constructed fugue in the learned style of Bach or Handel. T/F?
Isaac Watts
an important composer of hymnody and published several famous and well-used collections in the early eighteenth century.
T/F? Singing Schools were designed to teach students to become professional singers, and were strict rather than social, or designed for amateurs
The New-England Psalm-Singer; or The American Chorister
composed by William Billings
Included 127 original compositions; including hymns, psalm settings, anthems and canons
His very famous patriotic tune Chester first appeared in this collection; it later appeared in other collections with added verses
This was likely the first such book published in America containing works by only one composer
William Billings
The most prominent of this group of Connecticut-based composers; he was the first American to try music as a full-time profession.In all, he wrote 338 compositions
Fuging Tunes
One of the more popular types of compositions by New England composers of this time
Composers of this school looked to fuging tunes as a way to introduce contrast into their pieces; many were not "trained" in counterpoint but were discovering it on their own
As mentioned above, fuging tunes generally begin with "chorale-style" writing in 3 or 4 voices
The fuging section consists of staggered entrances in each voice of the melody, and this section is often repeated
Are generally strophic (same music for each stanza)
Though "fuging" is obviously derived from the term "fugue," research suggests that it was possibly pronounced "fudging" at the time
Plain tunes
Basically a fuging tune without the fuging section; also strophic
What we might think of as hymns today
Set Piece
Through-composed setting of a poem (not strophic), and longer than a single stanza
Through-composed setting of prose
Often contained varying sections and was usually of comparatively considerable length
Written to commemorate specific occasions or holidays
Melody - folk like: often "simple and flowing" while at other times "angular and rhythmically powerful"
Harmony - lots of open fifths, parallel fifths and octaves (what we would consider a "no-no" in traditional music theory), modal inflections (perhaps a lowered seventh instead of a leading tone, as can be found in the example on p. 17 of your text), and "surprising" dissonances
Parts were sometimes doubled at the octave; the soprano may double the tenor part (which usually had the principal melody) up an octave, for example
The texts by Isaac Watts were among the most commonly used for tunes by these composers
Patriotic themes were also used in texts as well as religious, and sometimes the two intermingled considerably
Bay Psalm Book (1640)
Printed in numerous editions (at least 30)
Originally contained no music, but instructed that most of the verses could be sung to tunes from other well-known collections
Thirteen melodies were added by 1698 (ninth edition)
The melodies would fit many of the verses depending on their "metric" (syllabic) construction: Long Meter (8,8,8,8); Common Meter (8,6,8,6 - also known as ballad meter; "Amazing Grace" is an example); or irregular meter (6,6,8,6 - sometimes called Short Meter)
Most modern-day hymnals still reflect this metric identification of hymn tunes
Rev. John Tufts
Wrote An Introduction to the Singing of Psalm-Tunes (1721)
Included a new system of notation he devised that used letters rather than musical notes
Also includes, in the fifth edition of 1726, a tune that is perhaps the first original composition in America: 100 Psalm Tune New (example on page 6 of your text; notice, as your text points out, the use of "open chords" (no thirds) and even the inclusion of "parallel fifths," common traits in American music to come)
James Lyon
Considered a predecessor of the "official" First New England School
Published an important compilation of tunes in 1761 called Urania; many songs contained in this collection were actually taken from other tunebooks
Urania contains a number of "fuging tunes," many of which begin with a four-part setting followed by a section of imitative entrances in the different voices (similar to a Bach fugue, though much less complex; see below for more characteristics of fuging tunes of this period)
shape-note notation
William Smith and William Little developed a shape-note notation in The Easy Instructor (1801) that became very popular
In their method, there were only four different shapes corresponding to positions of notes within a scale (the syllables used were not the solfege syllables we use today, rather they were fa-sol-la-fa-sol-la-mi-fa)
Andrew Law (a famous singing-school teacher who claimed that he actually invented shape-note) published his popular Art of Singing in 1803 which included essentially the same system as that of The Easy Instructor
Pietists of Germantown, PA
Led by Johannes Kelpius (compiled a hymnbook called The Lamenting Voice of Hidden Love at the Time when She Lay in Misery and forsaken)
Pietists sang traditional hymns, anthems, and used instrumental accompaniment
Moravians of Pennsylvania and the Carolinas
Came to America from Bohemia; first sizable population formed in Pennsylvania in 1741
Music was extremely important in their culture, and they are considered to have produced the first "concerts" of sacred music, including soloists in choirs, anthems, motets, cantatas, and instrumentalists
Music libraries were formed, as were Collegia Musica (groups meeting to actually rehearse music, often instrumental)
Instrument makers and repair technicians were necessary to support these events
Important Moravians
Jeremiah Dencke (1725-95)
First in America to write music including instruments
Johannes Herbst (1735-1812)
Most prolific Moravian composer (180 anthems and 145 sacred songs)
John Antes (1740-1811)
Was a string-instrument maker
Though he eventually moved to England, he became the first American-born person to compose instrumental chamber music

Johann Friedrich Peter (1746-1813)
Considered the most gifted of the Moravian composers, as his works reflect knowledge of the early Classic style
Wrote many anthems and sacred arias as well as string quintets
The English Dancing Master
"single largest source of ballad tunes" by John Playford
ballad opera characteristics
interspersed spoken dialogue, songs, and possibly dances and choruses
Characters and plots were largely drawn from everyday life, thus the average person could relate to them
The first of this genre was Johann Pepusch's and John Gay's The Beggar's Opera of 1728, the music for which largely contained adaptations of popular songs and ballads
Alexander Reinagle
Born in England, but settled in Philadelphia where he became musical director of the New Theatre on Chestnut Street
Was a composer, pianist, conductor, and overall musical legend in early Philadelphia
Wrote many of the airs for operas produced at the New Theatre
" America, Commerce, and Freedom" an operatic air with patriotic text
Benjamin Carr
Settled in New York, opened a chain of music stores in NY, Philadelphia, and Baltimore; was also a composer and publisher
Composed mostly songs and operatic airs
His noteworthy setting of "Ave Maria" from his Six Ballads from the Poems of "The Lady of the Lake" was nine minutes long, included harp accompaniment, and is described by your text as "one of the most impressive American Songs before Stephen Foster's"
Handel and Haydn Society
was one of these "musical societies" primarily dedicated to performing classical European music
The society was founded in 1815 by Gottleib Graupner, a German-born musical entrepreneur, concert organizer, and music publisher
The organist for this society was George K. Jackson, considered the "most learned musician in Boston"
Jackson composed many different types of pieces for voice and instruments (one such collection is his New Miscellaneous Musical Work)
Francis Hopkinson
(1737-91) was also an important one
Was a composer, performer, and technician in addition to being an important political figure (was our country's first Secretary of the Navy)
Wrote what may be considered as the first composition credited to an American-born person: the song My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free (1759)
Most substantial collection was Seven Songs for the Harpsichord or Piano Forte
Operatic Melodrame
was introduced around the turn of the century
This was a new genre of theatrical work combining songs and instrumental music as an accompaniment to stage action
Melodramas were themselves hybrids of ballad operas and French/German melodramas
The Indian Princess (1808, by James Barker and John Bray) is the best known example
It contains an overture, solo airs, and choruses (like a ballad opera)
Also of interest is the use of music to accompany stage action in dramatic scenes, foreshadowing the use of music in drama and film of later eras in American music
Edward MacDowell
Edward MacDowell viewed himself as the tone poet of the "New German School" and was influenced by Liszt and Wagner. Macdowell composed piano pieces,orchestral suites,songs,as well as symphonic poems. Macdowell utilized romantic imagery such as seascapes and landscapes such as in "Woodland Sketches". He also used medieval romances for inspiration such as in "Lancelot and Elaine",as well as childhood reminiscences,and the inclusion of poetry. His piano pieces ranged from the more conservative, lyrical style to the more Liszt like grandiose, virtuoso style. Macdowell used chromatic harmony and thick textures as well as lighter and simpler pieces. Macdowell was one of the first composers to incorporate Native American themes his work, as evidenced in his "Indian Suite".
Compositional Characteristics of Ragtime
-Includes four strains, each 16 bars long and is repeated. -The structure is like that of a march, AABBCCDD. -Contains a "boom-chuck" rhythm in the left hand a low bass note on the strong beat(1,3)with chords on the upbeats(2,4). -Highly syncopated melody,with a steady left hand and an offbeat right hand. -Left hand suspended at the ends of phrases for variety.
Musical characteristics and importance of minstrelsy
Musically, minstrel shows included popular music of the time, other sources such as opera airs,"dialect" songs, and dance tunes. All music was chosen as an imitation and parody of perceived African American traditions and other groups "foreign" to the white performers at the time. It is important because this type of show led to the modern variety show, the olio, which was a variety show that predated vaudeville, and the circus. This tradition also introduced popular music, such as that by Stephen Foster, to the masses. Also the banjo jig, was a source of ragtime rhythm.
"Second New England School"
John Knowles Paine(1839-1906) was an organist and composer (and the first professor of music at Harvard University)who composed works for not only organ but also chamber works,symphonies,songs,opera,and cantatas. Paine is seemingly the first American composer to achieve notoriety for orchestral music. His "Mass in D" was the first major concert work by an American performed in Europe when it was premiered in Berlin in 1867. George Chadwick (1854-1931), was a composer of many genres including symphonies, operas,songs, tone poems, and string quartets. Chadwick is primarily known as the more "realist" or "vernacular" of the Second New England School of composers. Chadwick used folk like melodies in his orchestral pieces, set text to songs idiomatically instead of poetically, and used unique musical language including syncopation and pentatonic scales. This use of pentatonic scales is very apparent in his Sinfonetta in D, which also has folk influences. Chadwick was a composer of some 100 songs and also became a professor at the New England Conservatory. Horatio Parker(1863-1919)was a professor at Yale University(where he also became Dean of Music) where he most notably taught Charles Ives and was also a prolific composer of choral and organ and piano music. most of his choral works are based on religious subjects. His choral composition Hora Novissima was an internationally recognized composition and what he is primarily remembered for.
Lowell Mason (1792-1872)
Early success as a musician (he was working as a banker at the time) came when the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston published a hymn collection he had put together in 1822 (the first of 22 editions)
His European bias was evident in this collection, as it contained music by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven as well as German chorales, Gregorian chants, etc., yet nothing by the earlier American composers such as Billings (in fact, there are no fuging tunes at all in this collection)
Mason spent time as president of the Handel and Haydn Society, and also founded the Boston Academy of Music in 1833 with George James Webb and other local musicians
The Boston Academy's aim was to utilize the principles of the innovative and influential Swiss educator Pestalozzi in teaching young children
Other important hymn collections by Mason (included original compositions as well as the music of others):
Spiritual Songs for Social Worship (1831-32, with Hastings)
The Boston Academy's Collection of Church Music (1835)
The Modern Psalmist (1839)
Carmina Sacra (1839)
Also published books of children's songs as well as those for glee clubs and singing schools
Mason's compositional style:
Harmonically-driven, occasionally resulting in awkward melodies
Formally straightforward
Homophonic, devoid of counterpoint (this goes hand-in-hand with his dislike of fuging tunes)
Harmonic language is that of functional, diatonic harmony with occasional secondary dominants
Generally, Mason's music was accessible to performers of even modest ability
In addition to being an important composer, compiler, and adapter of hymns, he was also a teacher (recall the Boston Academy of Music), and eventually persuaded the public schools of Boston to incorporate music into their curriculum, becoming the superintendent of music in the city schools in 1838
Henry Russell (1812-1900)
An English singer who toured the US twice between 1836 and 1844
Was an organist and also a famous baritone soloist and songwriter; he performed as a "one-man show" at a time when very few people could entertain an audience by themselves
In his quest to conjure up nostalgic images, he wrote songs that often dealt specifically with sentimentality attached to a particular object: The Old Bell, The Brave Old Oak, The Old Arm Chair, etc.
In all, he probably wrote about 250 tunes
His song-writing style is described as being influenced by Italian opera arias; in fact, he may have studied with Rossini
Though he was not an American, he was notable because his songs were important in establishing a style of American "popular song"
Interestingly, when Russell returned to England after his final US tour, he wrote antislavery songs (Kingman 263)
Stephen Collins Foster (1826-64)
However, his songs showed a great ability to "absorb various popular-music styles in the United States at the time - Irish, English, German, and Italian, not to mention America," into which he injected his own musical language
His output can basically be divided into two categories: household/parlor music and minstrel-show songs
His first successful song was Open Thy Lattice, Love (1844) and over the next twenty years he published close to 150 songs of this "household" variety; most of his texts have to do with love that is either unrequited or unattainable and a "nostalgic yearning" for this lost love
Many of his songs' melodies are quite memorable, and some qualities might be said to have derived from Italian operatic style
The "Old" adjective was used in an inordinate amount of his song titles (My Old Kentucky Home and Old Uncle Ned, for example) further espousing the idea of nostalgic texts and sentimental attachment to objects and/or ideals (recall the concept of nostalgia in Russell's music as well)
In spite of a few "happy" songs in his repertoire, there is a pervading sense of yearning for the past that can also be reflected in American societal arenas of this time
The Glee
Another popular type of song sung during this era; it was sung both in the parlor and on the stage
It was a part-song generally for three or four unaccompanied male voices
Many of these above composers (except Foster) wrote glees; the Hutchinsons sang them in their repertoire
Glee clubs formed (such as the Harvard Glee Club in 1828) as did male choirs; the latter helped to carry on a tradition in America after it had decreased in popularity in Europe
Thomas Hastings (1784-1872)
Important figure in sacred music of the 1800s; published several such collections:
Musica Sacra: A Collection of Psalm Tunes, Hymns, and Set Pieces (1815)
Included original tunes, works by other American composers, and works by Purcell, Handel, Burney, and other Europeans (mostly English)
Later collections turned to German composers, such as his Mendelssohn Collection of 1849 (also included an appendix of older hymns and song settings)
Hastings was himself a composer of hymns, having written some one thousand hymn tunes; his most well-known is "Rock of Ages"
Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-69)
Born in New Orleans; studied in Paris where Berlioz was his friend and mentor
Was a renowned piano virtuoso as well as composer
Toured extensively in the Western Hemisphere, and many of his compositions reflect influences gleaned from the numerous cultures found in the city of his upbringing as well as many of the locations he visited
Published little music other than his nearly one hundred piano compositions; he also wrote some orchestral works and operas, much of which has been lost
Early works ("New Orleans" pieces) included Afro-Caribbean rhythms and Creole melodies, embellished with virtuosic passages
Click here to listen to an excerpt from Bamboula (see page 91 of your text)
As he toured Spain, the West Indies, and other areas around the world, characteristics of folk/popular songs from those areas appeared in his works
Click here to listen to an excerpt from Souvenir de Porto Rico (see page 92 of your text)
American folk and popular tunes were also found in his works (such as l'Union (1852-62) which included quotations from Yankee Doodle, Start Spangled Banner, and Hail! Columbia)
Other works reflect a more "sentimental" or "reflective" side of his writing, such as The Last Hope (1854) and Berceuse (1861)
Theodore Thomas (1835-1905)
Often considered the first American virtuoso conductor
Played in Jullien's orchestra as well as the New York Philharmonic; also worked with William Mason's chamber group
Began a career as a conductor of his own orchestra in 1864
Was innovative in programming; played substantial pieces in the middle of his programs, framed by lighter works
The orchestra toured a great deal and his concepts not only of programming but also of rehearsal technique helped influence the modern symphonic ideal
Performed works mostly by Europeans, but also programmed a few works by American composers
Became conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1877; served briefly as the first director of the Cincinnati College of Music; became the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1891
Anthony Philip Heinrich
one of the most interesting American composers of orchestral music
Organized a benefit concert (in 1817) on which he played violin and directed a "band" on what was possibly Beethoven's First Symphony
Wrote descriptive symphonies and programmatic orchestral fantasies such as:
Pushmataha, a Venerable Chief of a Western Tribe (1831)
The Treaty of William Penn with the Indians (1834, rev. 1847)
The War of the Elements and the Thundering of Niagara (1845)
Orchestral writing is characterized by simple tunes combined with chromatic melodies; Classical harmonies mixed with modulatory passages; even, periodic phrases mixed with interesting extensions or truncations
Scoring was also unusual, using new instruments (the musical glasses) or using traditional instruments in imaginative ways
Manuel Garcia's Italian Opera Company
Presented the first foreign language opera in New York City (1825)
Helped pique the interest of Italian operas in the city (operas by Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, etc.)
Two major opera houses were built: Astor Place Opera House (1847) and Academy of Music (1854)
German operas soon became popular as well
American opera composers of the Romantic period
William H. Fry
Leonora (1845) - presented at the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia
Notre Dame de Paris (1854) - his only other opera to be produced
George Bristow - used American subject matter for his operas
Rip Van Winkle (1855)
Columbus - never finished
Spiritual folk songs
"Religious songs set to folk melodies;" the actual melodies may be secular, popular, patriotic, etc. in nature.

Recall that ballads are generally narrative pieces while folk hymns are nonnarrative in nature.
"White spirituals"
Types of Spiritual folk song
religious folk ballads, folk hymns, and revival spiritual songs
"revival hymn"
a simple, verse-refrain structure (or perhaps even just repeated text); John C. Totten's A Collection of the most Admired Hymns and Spiritual Songs...(1809) was an important collection of these songs.
Hymnody of this style is still present today, as "singings" of shape-note music still exist on a yearly basis in the south; fuging tunes are also occasionally sung!
These revival hymns started to be added to later Southern tunebooks
The most important such collections (of many) were William Walker's The Southern Harmony (1835) and White and King's The Sacred Harp (1844), both utilizing shape-note notation
The Southern Harmony
By the last edition (1854), it contained 334 tunes, some of which were by Walker himself
These tunes were drawn from many sources and were fleshed out into three and four-voice songs
The Sacred Harp
This collection has gone through numerous editions and even revisions (with other composers adding a fourth part to some of the original three-part tunes); the most recent edition contained 554 hymns
Wayfaring Stranger, a well-known spiritual folk song, was first published in the 1844 edition
Notable in this book is the wide spacing of the voices and the continued use of just four shapes/syllables
A variety show that predated vaudeville. Inspiration for the minstrels.
Banjo "jigs"
a source of ragtime rhythms: even and uneven running rhythms, rests on strong beats, mixture of triplets and duplets
The stylistic origin of the "jig" lies probably in the folk-dance music of Britain, Scotland and Ireland; it was even imitated on other instruments in the US
Virginia Minstrels
They used instruments associated with African-Americans people of the time: fiddle, banjo, bones, and tambourine
They developed a routine of dance numbers, songs, parodies and other skits
John Philip Sousa (1854-1932)
Was trained as a violinist and even played under Offenbach in Philadelphia in 1876
Originally rose to prominence as director of the Marine Band (1880); with this group he introduced a more balanced instrumentation between woodwinds and brass than had been used previously in bands
He organized his own band in 1892, which subsequently toured the world
He increased the size of this band, but maintained balanced instrumentation
He was also known to pay and treat his musicians very well
Also hired high-profile soloists to play with his band: cornetists, clarinetists, trombonists, vocalists, etc.
Helped increase the popularity of his own band through issuing recordings (a new technology around the end of the 19th century)
Was also one of the founders of ASCAP in 1914, an organization that advocated composers' rights (collection of royalties for performance, publication of works, etc.)
Sousa composed many kinds of popular music; he is of course most well-known for his marches (of which he wrote about 140) but also wrote songs and operettas
His bands also helped to introduce music of ragtime, the African-Americans, and even jazz to audiences worldwide through his varied programming
Historical characteristics of ragtime
Ragtime began developing around the 1890’s; usually associated with solo piano, but was also associated with vocal pieces at the time
Evolved from a combination of characteristics of African American music and Western music
Aspects of rhythmic syncopation were tied to African drumming and Afro-Caribbean dance rhythms
Other examples of syncopation found in pre-ragtime music include songs of minstrel shows, and particularly that of banjo jigs
Also influenced by songs, dances, and marches of the West, particularly in the structural makeup (form) of rags
Ragtime was formally structured and did not contain any improvisation
The origin of the name “ragtime” is a bit clouded, but likely came from a contraction of “ragged time,” a term used to describe the syncopation between the steady left hand and the offbeat right hand
Structure of ragtime
Most include four strains
Each strain is usually 16 bars long and is repeated, thus resulting in the form AABBCCDD (this is basically the same form as that of a typical march)
One of the most recognizable qualities of this music is the boom-chuck of the left hand: a low bass note on a strong beat (one and three) followed by a chord on the weak beats
The melody is usually highly syncopated; see examples of rhythmic patterns on page 140 of your text
This LH pattern persisted throughout the entire song, occasionally suspending at the ends of phrases to add variety
Scott Joplin (1868-1917)
His most famous composition, “Maple Leaf Rag,” was composed while Joplin was working in a gambling house called the Maple Leaf Club in Sedalia
Because of its difficulty, it was not immediately popular, but soon became so and by 1900, the piece was selling very well
Between 1901-1905, Joplin’s career was particularly fruitful; he wrote mostly rags, but also ballads, marches, waltzes, cakewalks, and a ballet
The popularity of ragtime, and of Joplin specifically, had much to do with the popularity of the player piano and the availability of the piano roll; Joplin himself prepared several
Joplin had even produced a folk opera, A Guest of Honor in 1903 that did not do well; in 1910 he began working on an opera called Treemonisha
For Treemonisha, he not only wrote the music, but also the libretto and organized the choreography
This opera became an obsession, and wanted to show that ragtime was worthy of serious admiration
It was published in 1911, but a plan to produce it that year fell through
He finally put on one performance of it in 1915, though he had to play all parts on piano instead of the orchestra as originally planned; he had no money to hire musicians and the critics ignored it
Joplin wrote almost 40 rags, as well as about 2 dozen other works
There has been a resurgence in the popularity of his music over the past few decades; his opera, in fact, was finally performed as Joplin envisioned it in the mid-1970s
John Stark
a white music publisher who published many of Joplin’s works; he treated Joplin very fairly by paying him royalties, not buying the work outright for a very small amount
Stride Piano
Pianists of the "stride" style expanded ragtime to include less syncopation and more flowing melodies
Improvisation was also introduced
James P. Johnson and Fats Waller are two important stride pianists
"Jelly Roll" Morton (1890?-1941)
A ragtime pianist/composer/band leader from New Orleans
Employed more swing rhythms in his rags, experimented with and expanded the regular forms, and utilized complex arrangements of his rags for his bands
Also used elements of the blues
Arthur Farwell (1872-1952)
Used actual Native American ("Indian") music in some of his works, including Three Indian Songs (1908) and wrote works based on Indian melodies such as his Navajo War Dance (1905)

Established the Wa-Wan Press in 1901 in order to publish music of American composers who were writing music in this "nationalistic" vein
Henry Gilbert (1868-1928)
Was interested in African American music as evidenced in his Comedy Overture on Negro Themes (1906)
Also incorporated Indian melodies as well as ragtime into his compositions
Was published through Farwell's Wa-Wan Press
Edgard Varèse (1883-1965) Early
Born in France, moved permanently to the U.S. in 1915; in fact, he destroyed almost all of his works written before he moved to the U.S. in an attempt to break with his European past
Once in the U.S., he founded the International Composers' Guild and the Pan American Association of Composers in an attempt to organize composers of like minds into groups that would support the composition and performance of new music
Actively sought new sounds his whole life, whether made by new instruments, electronics, or with new instrumentation within ensembles; his self-described ultimate goal was the "liberation of sound".
Early on, his sonic trademark would be made by the use of numerous percussion instruments, including "noisemakers" like the siren as well as non-Western instruments
Thus, his compositional focus had transferred from pitched elements to non-pitched ones, including rhythm, dynamics, register, timbre, and texture; in fact, traditional melodies are given up in place of "sound masses"
Another characteristic is the emphasis on unconventional sonority as well as expressive ideals bordering on the primitive (musical instructions such as "yelling," for example)
Edgard Varèse major early works
Amériques (1921) - for standard orchestra with a large percussion section; first work written in the U.S.
Hyperprism (1923) - for chamber ensemble of winds and percussion
Intégrales (1925) - for 11 winds and 17 percussion instruments, played by four players
Arcana (1927) - for orchestra
Ionisation (1931) - for percussion alone: 37 instruments played by 13 performers; his most frequently played work
Henry Cowell (1897-1965)
Was an early innovator and experimenter with new sound possibilities, explored most fully in his piano pieces
Use of tone clusters
Extended techniques for piano: plucking, strumming, and banging on strings, using mutes on the strings
Developed a complex theory of the relationship between rhythm and harmony, utilizing mathematical ratios to derive rhythm from the intervallic content of harmony
His study in this area led to the building of the "rhythmicon," an instrument that could play complex polyrhythms; this was a collaborative effort between Cowell and the Russian inventor Léon Thérémin
Use of indeterminacy (some musical decisions left up to the performer)
Use of not only American themes, but of folk music from other cultures as well
Turned to more audience-friendly music in the 1930s, as did many of his other American colleagues
Henry Cowell Early Works(pre-30's)
Quartet Romantic (1917) and Quartet Euphometric (1920) - both explore the rhythmic principles based on the rhythmic-harmonic theory discussed above
Fabric (1920) - utilizes poly-rhythmic relationships between different voices and melodies (see this chapter's listening)
Aeolian Harp (1923) - for piano; includes examples of extended techniques
The Banshee(1925)
Cowell's non-musical contributions
Wrote New Musical Resources in 1919 (published in 1930)
Theory treatise that illustrates poly-harmony, quarter tones, quartal harmony and tone clusters
Also discusses the rhythm-harmony relationship discussed above
Founded the publication New Music in 1927
Devoted primarily to the presentation of pieces by contemporary North and South American composers, including some pieces by Ives
Cowell did the first full-length study of the music of Ives; interestingly, your text mentions the fact that Ives was the primary financial supporter of Cowell's publications and recordings, though he chose to remain anonymous
Characteristics of the blues
A basic 12-bar format (see page 223) which still exists in blues of today; many variations have occurred along the way, but the basic harmonic progression is unchanged
AAB lyric structure
Vocal style included elements of "blue notes" (lowering of 3rd and 7th scale degrees from a major scale), great freedom and individuality, and variety in tone color; this was indeed more evident in the music of Country blues
While the blues was originally a vocal style, instrumentalists also mimicked these vocal qualities
Rags were also a very important foundation of jazz
Earliest recordings of jazz include rags as well as blues
In fact, the combination of instrumentalists imitating the flexible vocal style of the blues along with the performance of rags led to Dixieland music
Virgil Thomson (1896-1989)
Studied with Boulanger; was one of the first of this period to show an interest in America's musical past
His early Symphony on a Hymn Tune (1928) and Variations on Sunday School Tunes (1927) reveal his reverence for America's musical heritage and show how influential his training as an organist was
His Four Saints in Three Acts (1928) was written with Gertrude Stein and shows his predilection for humor and the influence of his French training
See discussion of this work on pp. 238-9 of your text
This work perhaps served as a model for the simplicity of the American Music on the 1930s
Thomson also wrote for films (the first major American composer to do so), but wrote for government-sponsored films and not those of Hollywood
In these film scores he used American folk tunes and the vocabulary of the vernacular tradition
The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936) - borrows cowboy songs
The River (1937) - uses tunes from The Southern Harmony and The Sacred Harp
Thomson was also an important writer and music critic
Roy Harris (1898-1979)
Another student of Boulanger; wrote a great number of works in all genres except opera
Style was established early, and included long, slow-moving and often modal melodies, bichordal harmony (he particularly enjoyed the conflicts between major and minor chords with the same root), contrapuntal textures, and a penchant for Baroque forms (or, more accurately, procedures) of ostinato, fugue, etc.
American tradition displayed in works such as his Folksong Symphony (Symphony no. 4), When Johnny Comes Marching Home for orchestra (1934), Railroad Man's Ballad for chorus and orchestra (1941)
However, Harris also wrote more abstract pieces such as his Quintet for Piano and Strings (1936) and his Third Symphony (1939); in fact, he is more remembered for these works than he is for his music of Americana
Marc Blitzstein (1905-64)
Studied with both Boulanger and Arnold Schoenberg
Wrote many works for theater (incidental music, for example), films and radio
Music shows a melding not of folk/vernacular music with the concert music as do Harris and Thomson, but of contemporary popular music with concert music
His operas The Cradle Will Rock (1936-37) and No for an Answer (1938-40) show an influence of Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill's music-theater works
In fact, Blitzstein was the one who took Weill's Die Dreigroschenoper and translated and adapted it for the American stage as The Threepenny Opera
His operas are often considered "modern ballad operas" based on American popular song and speech patterns
His operas ("plays with music") mingle spoken dialogue, rhythmic speech, and song
Was secretary of the Composers Collective of New York, a group of composers with similar political viewpoints (leftist, bordering perhaps on socialist ideals)
This group met periodically to discuss politics and new music that would have dealt with political and social issues
Samuel Barber (1910-81)
Tended to write single pieces in each instrumental genre; all exhibited his neo-Romantic qualities of "conservative lyricism"
His success was further solidified when Toscanini, an "ultraconservative" conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, performed two of his orchestral works: Essay for Orchestra (1937) and Adagio for Strings (1938)
Other works of Barber reveal wide influences
Capricorn Concerto (1944) - "Stravinskyan" textures
Piano Sonata (1949) - chromaticism reminiscent of Schoenberg
Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (1948) for voice and orchestra is perhaps his crowning achievement, and is a fine example of his lyrical writing
Summer Music (1956) for woodwind quintet is a staple of the repertoire for that ensemble
Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)
Moved from Italy in 1927
Credited with bridging the gap between "the opera house and Broadway"
Early successes included:
Amelia Goes to the Ball (1937)
The Old Maid and the Thief (1939)
The Medium (1946) perhaps established his style the most
In this work, he combined elements of theater and opera with characters that seemed human; this was also was much more accessible and "down-to-earth" than that of other opera writers of the time
Also wrote Ahmal and the Night Visitors (1951), the first opera to be produced for television
Later works, while less successful, were nonetheless innovative: Help, Help, the Globolinks (1968) included some elements of electronic music
William Schuman (1910-92)
Was a student of Roy Harris
Wrote a number of works on American themes:
American Festival Overture
New England Triptych (1956) for orchestra, based on music by William Billings (including movements based on "Chester" and "When Jesus Wept")
The Mighty Casey (1953) a baseball opera
George Washington Bridge (1950) - an important work in the wind band repertoire; came at a time when wind bands were becoming better established and needed quality works by contemporary works
Similar to his teacher, Schuman utilized contrapuntal forms, expansive chromatic themes, and polychordal harmony, which can be clearly evidenced in his important works for symphony, string quartet, and chorus
Symphony no. 3 (1941) is considered on par with Copland's third symphony
A Free Song (1942) is a secular cantata on texts by Walt Whitman and won the first Pulitzer Prize in music
Symphony no. 6 (1948) is considered by many to be his best work
Harry Partch (1901-74)
Compositional characteristics
Not an incredibly significant composer, but a highly unique one
In his quest for a new musical language, Partch developed a 43-note scale to explore the pure intervals of just intonation (as opposed to the "impure" intervals of equal temperament)
Genesis of a New Music (1949) was a book in which he detailed this approach
Music was also heavily influenced by spoken words and speech inflection
In his search for new sounds, he used a number of "adapted" instruments (the "adapted" viola and the "adapted" guitar) and also invented many new percussion instruments:
The following categories of instruments were invented: chordophones, idiophones, and aerophones
The "idiophones" were pitched percussion instruments, and included the "cloud-chamber bowls" (made of glass), the "cone gongs," and "diamond marimba;" these instruments created the most striking visual and sonic effects of any of his instruments
Visit to view pictures of some these instruments
During his career, he moved largely toward music for the stage, incorporating dance, mime, vocal, and instrumental music, yet occasionally wrote purely instrumental works
Works by Partch
Li Po Songs (1930-33) - for "intoning" voice and "adapted" viola; first work composed after Partch began his quest for a new language
Barstow (1941) - text taken from hitchhiker inscriptions Partch ran across during the years he spent as a hobo
The Letter (1943) - text taken from a letter written to Partch by one of his hobo friends
John Cage (1912-92)
Studied briefly with Cowell and Schoenberg; also influenced by the music of Varèse
Sought a new style of composition in which music became simply an "organization of sound," and these sounds would combine traditional musical sounds with extra-musical noises; in other words, all sounds should be usable, including silence
Early explorations into these new sonic possibilities included use of such "instruments" as brake drums, electric devices, and "prepared piano"
A prepared piano is one in which screws, pieces of wood or metal, rubber wedges, etc. are placed on or between the strings to alter the sound
Roger Sessions
Chromatic style, combined with characteristics of contrapuntal writing, dense textures and expansive gestures of his non-serial music was retained in his serial compositions
In fact, his highly chromatic style led seamlessly to twelve-tone writing
His works are notoriously complex and difficult; performances of them are relatively rare
Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin (1953) - first work of his to use serial technique
The Idyll of Theocritus (1954) for soprano and orchestra
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd (1970) - a cantata for soprano, contralto, baritone, chorus and orchestra that many consider his most important and representative composition
Elliot Carter (b. 1908)
Studied with Walter Piston at Harvard as well as with Nadia Boulanger in the 1930s
Early works display characteristics of neo-classicism
Not a serial composer, but his works display the high level of organization that those of serial composers do
Generally took a long time to write a single composition due to his high level of compositional control and organization
Complex textures and rhythmic processes were hallmarks of his work
Best known for the concept of metric modulation
The name is a bit of a misnomer, since the end result is often a change in tempo rather than a new meter
The process of changing tempo from one section to another is achieved by taking a small fractional part of a beat from one tempo, and applying it to a new tempo by treating that rhythm as a different value; the result is a proportional change of pulse.
Along with this new rhythmic concept, Carter conceived of a style in which all the musical elements, including pitch and form, were constantly changing
All these elements would become layered, with each component having its own, often contrasting, characteristics
In addition, the concept of separate movements gives way to compositions written as a single structure, with abruptly juxtaposed sections forming continuous, sometimes simultaneous, "movements"
Elliot Carter important works
Piano Sonata (1945-46) - discussion and example on page 267 of your text
Sonata for Cello and Piano (1948) - first work to use the metric modulation
String Quartet No. 1 (1951)
Variations for Orchestra (1955-56)
Piano Concerto (1965)
Double Concerto for Harpsichord, Piano, and Two Chamber Orchestras (1977)
A Mirror on Which to Dwell (1975) - vocal setting of poems by Elizabeth Bishop
In Sleep, in Thunder (1982) - vocal setting of poems by Robert Lowell
String Quartet No. 4 (1986)
Milton Babbitt (b. 1916)
Was a trained mathematician who began experimenting with the serialization of elements other than pitch before the Europeans did, and continued to work with serialism after the Europeans moved away from it
Developed the concept of the "durational row" to organize rhythms; also sought to organize dynamics and register as well
In several important ways, Babbitt was influenced by the concepts of Schoenberg:
He showed more influence from Schoenberg's relative melodic approach to serialism than from Webern's more pointillistic approach
Used concept of combinatoriality to form twelve-tone aggregates, combining hexachords from different rows to complete the twelve-pitch group; again, a Schoenbergian concept
Further manifestation of combinatoriality include the "semi-combinatorial" set and the "all combinatorial" set
Babbitt Important Works
Three Compositions for Piano (1947) - first work in which rhythm was also serialized (the "duration set" or "durational row"), and predated works of this type by the Europeans; also uses "all combinational" pitch sets as well as serialization of dynamics
See discussion on pp. 272-74, for all of the technical details regarding the serial aspects of this piece
Click here to listen to this excerpt
Composition for Twelve Instruments (1948) - took the concept of the duration set further, assigning different durations to each member of the twelve-tone set, which would then change depending of the transposition of the rows
DU (1951) - song cycle (excerpt on page 277); as mentioned in your text, his vocal pieces tend to exhibit a very melodic line, also mentioned above as an influence from Schoenberg
String Quartet No. 2 (1954)
Composition for Tenor and Six Instruments (1960)
String Quartet No. 3 (1970)
Later works by Babbitt continue to exhibit highly controlled compositional methods with very complex relationships between the musical elements
Gunther Schuller
a composer synonymous with Third Stream music - he saw the possibilities of how the highly sophisticated language of jazz following World War II (bebop) could be applied to classical music
Transformation (1957) - a work for chamber ensemble that begins as a serial composition, then evolves into a jazz work before returning to the serialism of its beginning
Concertino (1959) - a jazz combo (the Modern Jazz Quartet specifically) is set "against" a full orchestra, keeping the two styles of music separate
Symphony no. 1 (1965) - a clearer merging between the two styles is evident
William Bolcom (b. 1938)
A pianist and composer, steeped in ragtime and jazz music through his piano background
Most well known for his involvement in the revival of ragtime music by performing classic rags as well as composing new ones
Seabiscuits (1967) and Graceful Ghost (1970) are two of his original rags
Works also revealed eclectic influences, most notably in Songs of Innocence and Experience (1956-84), a setting of 46 poems by William Blake
Contains influences of reggae, swing, and blues
Also wrote operas McTeague (1992) and A View from the Bridge (1999)
George Crumb (b. 1929)
Another composer who specialized in works for performers of this type of music
Many of his works are settings of the poems of the Spaniard Federico Garcia Lorca
His works called on a number of new techniques for the performers, unusual instrumental combinations, and even theatrical elements (the requirement for performers to move around the stage or even to wear masks during performance)
His scores themselves are often works of art
Madrigals (four "books," 1965-69)
Night of the Four Moons (1969)
Ancient Voices of Children (1970)
Vox Balaenae (1972) for amplified flute, cello, and piano
refers to music that is put together from a variety of materials simultaneously
Luciano Berio's Sinfonia (1968) is one of the earliest pieces representative of this technique
For eight solo voices and orchestra
A multi-layered structure is employed and many of these layers consist of musical quotations
Scherzo movement of Mahler's Second Symphony is one layer that runs through almost the whole work
Other layers include fragmentary quotations, from spoken text to Monteverdi to Stockhausen
However, spatialization may also refer to compositional procedures and not just performance technique
A composer may call for "densities" (instead of chords) or "sound structures" moving through time, eschewing the idea of harmonic continuity, melody, pulse or traditional form
Henry Brant (b. 1913) - a composer long interested in spatialization
Antiphony I (1953) is for five separate orchestral groups
Voyage Four (1963) involves musicians placed on-stage, along walls, at the back of the hall, and beneath the floor
Verticals Ascending (1967) is for double wind ensemble
La Monte Young (b. 1935)
Was trained as a serialist composer, heavily influenced by the sparse textures and economical use of materials in Webern's music
Wrote some of the earliest minimalist music:
String Trio (1958) - first "event" consists of only three notes (one for each instrumentalist), which enter one by one, sustain, and drop out one by one; entire work features long silences and the continuation of the idea of long-held notes
Composition 1960 No. 7 - contained only a perfect fifth to held for an unspecified ("very long") amount of time (p. 290)
X for Henry Flynt (1960) - simply consisted of striking an object every second or so, again for a long time
Death Chant (1961) - consists of a two-note figure which is expanded by the addition of one note at a time, an early example of an "additive" process which will become important in later minimalist composers
Later works involve use of just intonation; again, a slowly unfolding fabric is revealed (see example on p. 326)
Terry Riley (b. 1935)
Fellow student of Young; early training was in jazz and many of his compositions include "controlled improvisation"
Early experimentation with tape loops, which resulted in constant and consistent repetition of short segments, led to utilizing the concepts for live performance
I Can't Stop, No and Mescalin Mix (1963) were early tape compositions
Keyboard Studies (1963) - an early instrumental composition based on the ideas formulated while working with tape loops
In C (1964) - one of the most important minimalist works of the 1960s
Written for any number of instruments
Based on 53 melodic figures, with an ostinato comprised of eighth-note C's in the upper register of a piano (or some other instrument)
The figures are to be played in order, but the performers choose when they enter
They may also repeat each figure any number of times
Both of these latter characteristics are obvious examples of indeterminacy as well
Steve Reich (b. 1936)
Participated in the first performance of In C, and was also a serious student of African drumming
Experimented with tape loops early in his career like Riley, but his focus shifted toward the concept of "phase shifting," in which the layers of tape loops would be played at subtly different speeds so as to gradually move apart, and eventually move back "in phase"
Examples of phase music:
It's Gonna Rain (1965) - tape piece that utilizes this concept with prerecorded speech fragments
Come Out (1966) - same concept as the above piece
Melodica (1966) - also for tape, but involves pitch and melody
Piano Phase (1967) - first piece written for live instrumentalists (two pianos) that incorporates phase shifting
See discussion on p. 328 (Click here to listen to this excerpt)
Violin Phase (1967)
Phase Patterns (1970)
Clapping Music (1972)
Many of these instrumental compositions were written for his own performing ensemble
Philip Glass (b. 1937)
Worked briefly with Nadia Boulanger, as well as with Ravi Shankar (the master of Indian sitar playing)
Basic approach to composition is the building from basic melodic units by additive or subtractive rhythmic processes
See example from Music in Fifths on p. 329
Other examples include Strung Out (1967) for violin and Two Pages (1968) for two amplified keyboards
With these works, he would begin with a very small idea repeated any number of times (left up to the performer(s)), and with each move to the next idea, it would reveal itself as a variant of the first (an added eighth note, for example)
Gradually, he began to explore greater harmonic and textural diversity:
Music in Similar Motion (1969)
Music in Changing Parts (1970) - included sustained notes and voice exchanges for the first time
Music in Twelve Parts (1971-74) - included rhythmic independence and contrary motion
The minimalist movement grew out of a desire to work with "reduced means," or a tendency to move toward simpler, clearer music
General characteristics include:
Static tonal structures
Textural consistency and transparency (lack of contrast in timbre, pitch, tempo, etc.)
Constant thematic repetition
Columbia University Studio
Founded in 1951 by Vladimir Ussachevsky (b. 1911) and Otto Luening (b. 1900), and the earliest studio specifically designed for composition of electronic music in the US
The two wrote works independently and also collaborated on a number of works, including Transposition and Reverberation, both written in 1952 and based on piano sounds
Earle Brown (b. 1926)
Like Feldman, Brown mostly used indeterminacy for the performer rather in the compositional process
Influenced by the "drip-paint" technique of artists such as Jackson Pollack
Also used "mobile forms" or "variable forms," in which material is written down in some fashion (perhaps traditional or nontraditional notation), but the specific ordering of the segments or sections is left up to the performer