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MUSIC

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MUSIC

Quarter I

Quarter I: MUSIC OF THE 20TH CENTURY


CONTENT STANDARDS
The learner demonstrates understanding of...
1.

The 20th century music styles and characteristic features.

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS
The learner...
1.

Creates musical pieces using a particular style of the 20th century.

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LEARNING COMPETENCIES

The learner...
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Listens perceptively to selected 20th century music.


Describes distinctive musical elements of given pieces in 20th
century styles.
Relates 20th century music to its historical and cultural
background.
Explains the performance practice (setting, composition, role of
composers/performers, and audience) of 20th century music.
Sings melodic fragments of given Impressionism period pieces.
Explores other arts and media that portray 20th century elements
through video films or live performances.
Creates short electronic and chance music pieces using knowledge
of 20th century styles.

From the Department of Education curriculum for MUSIC Grade 10 (2014)

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Music of the 20th Century

Quarter I: MUSIC OF THE 20TH CENTURY

he start of the 20th century saw the rise of distinct musical styles that reflected a
move away from the conventions of earlier classical music. These new styles were:
impressionism, expressionism, neo-classicism, avant garde music, and modern
nationalism.
The distinct musical styles of the 20th century would not have developed if not for the
musical genius of individual composers such as Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Arnold
Schoenberg, Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofieff, and George Gershwin stand
out as the moving forces behind the innovative and experimental styles mentioned above.
Coming from different nationsFrance, Austria, Hungary, Russia, and the United States
these composers clearly reflected the growing globalization of musical styles in the 20th
century.
IMPRESSIONISM

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O

ne of the earlier but concrete forms declaring the entry of 20th century music was
known as impressionism. It is a French movement in the late 19th and early 20th
century. The sentimental melodies and dramatic emotionalism of the preceding Romantic
Period (their themes and melody are easy to recognize and enjoy) were being replaced in
favor of moods and impressions. There is an extensive use of colors and effects, vague
melodies, and innovative chords and progressions leading to mild dissonances.

Sublime moods and melodic suggestions replaced highly expressive and program music,
or music that contained visual imagery. With this trend came new combinations of extended
chords, harmonies, whole tone, chromatic scales, and pentatonic scales. Impressionism
was an attempt not to depict reality, but merely to suggest it. It was meant to create an
emotional mood rather than a specific picture. In terms of imagery, impressionistic forms
were translucent and hazy, as if trying to see through a rain-drenched window.
In impressionism, the sounds of different chords overlapped lightly with each other to
produce new subtle musical colors. Chords did not have a definite order and a sense of
clear resolution. Other features include the lack of a tonic-dominant relationship which
normally gives the feeling of finality to a piece, moods and textures, harmonic vagueness
about the structure of certain chords, and use of the whole-tone scale. Most of the
impressionist works centered on nature and its beauty, lightness, and brilliance. A number
of outstanding impressionists created works on this subject.

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MUSIC

Quarter I

The impressionistic movement in music had its foremost proponents in the French
composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Both had developed a particular style of
composing adopted by many 20th century composers. Among the most famous luminaries
in other countries were Ottorino Respighi (Italy), Manuel de Falla and Isaac Albeniz
(Spain), and Ralph Vaughan Williams (England).

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (18621918)


One of the most important and influential of the 20th century
composers was Claude Debussy. He was the primary exponent
of the impressionist movement and the focal point for other
impressionist composers. He changed the course of musical
development by dissolving traditional rules and conventions into
a new language of possibilities in harmony, rhythm, form,
texture, and color.
Debussy was born in St. Germain-en-Laye in France on August
22, 1862. His early musical talents were channeled into piano
lessons. He entered the Paris Conservatory in 1873. He gained
a reputation as an erratic pianist and a rebel in theory and
harmony. He added other systems of musical composition because of his musical training.
In 1884, he won the top prize at the Prix de Rome competition with his composition L
Enfant Prodigue (The Prodigal Son). This enabled him to study for two years in Rome,
where he got exposed to the music of Richard Wagner, specifically his opera Tristan und
Isolde, although he did not share the latters grandiose style.

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Debussys mature creative period was represented by the following works:

Ariettes Oubliees

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

String Quartet

Pelleas et Melisande (1895)his famous operatic work that drew mixed


extreme reactions for its innovative harmonies and textural treatments.

La Mer (1905)a highly imaginative and atmospheric symphonic work


for orchestra about the sea

Images, Suite Bergamasque, and Estampeshis most popular piano


compositions; a set of lightly textured pieces containing his signature work
Claire de Lune (Moonlight)
His musical compositions total more or less 227 which include orchestral music, chamber
music, piano music, operas, ballets, songs, and other vocal music.

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Music of the 20th Century

The creative style of Debussy was characterized by his unique approach to the various
musical elements. Debussys compositions deviated from the Romantic Period and is
clearly seen by the way he avoided metric pulses and preferred free form and developed
his themes. Debussys western influences came from composers Franz Liszt and Giuseppe
Verdi. From the East, he was fascinated by the Javanese gamelan that he had heard at the
1889 Paris Exposition. The gamelan is an ensemble with bells, gongs, xylophone, and
occasional vocal parts which he later used in his works to achieve a new sound.
From the visual arts, Debussy was influenced by Monet, Pissarro, Manet, Degas, and
Renoir; and from the literary arts, by Mallarme, Verlaine, and Rimbaud. Most of his close
friends were painters and poets who significantly influenced his compositions. His role as
the Father of the Modern School of Composition made its mark in the styles of the
later 20th century composers like Igor Stravinsky, Edgar Varese, and Olivier Messiaen.
Debussy spent the remaining years of his life as a critic, composer, and performer. He
died in Paris on March 25, 1918 of cancer at the height of the First World War.
CLAIRE DE LUNE
(MOONLIGHT)

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Suite Bergamasque (Excerpt)
Claude Debussy

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MUSIC

Quarter I

MAURICE RAVEL (18751937)


Joseph Maurice Ravel was born in Ciboure,
France to a Basque mother and a Swiss father.
He entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of
14 where he studied with the eminent French
composer Gabriel Faure. During his stint with
the school where he stayed until his early 20s,
he had composed a number of masterpieces.
The compositional style of Ravel is mainly
characterized by its uniquely innovative but not
atonal style of harmonic treatment. It is defined
with intricate and sometimes modal melodies
and extended chordal components. It demands
considerable technical virtuosity from the
performer which is the character, ability, or skill of a virtuosoa person who excels in
musical technique or execution.

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The harmonic progressions and modulations are not only musically satisfying but also
pleasantly dissonant and elegantly sophisticated. His refined delicacy and color, contrasts
and effects add to the difficulty in the proper execution of the musical passages. These
are extensively used in his works of a programmatic nature, wherein visual imagery is
either suggested or portrayed. Many of his works deal with water in its flowing or stormy
moods as well as with human characterizations.
Ravels works include the following:

Pavane for a Dead Princess (1899), a slow but lyrical requiem


Jeux dEau or Water Fountains (1901)
String Quartet (1903)
Sonatine for Piano (c.1904)
Miroirs (Mirrors), 1905, a work for piano known for its harmonic evolution
and imagination,
Gaspard de la Nuit (1908), a set of demonic-inspired pieces based on the
poems of Aloysius Bertrand which is arguably the most difficult piece in the
piano repertoire.
These were followed by a number of his other significant works, including
Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1911)
Le Tombeau de Couperin (c.1917), a commemoration of the musical
advocacies of the early 18th century French composer Francois Couperin,
Rhapsodie Espagnole
Bolero

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Music of the 20th Century

Daphnis et Chloe (1912), a ballet commissioned by master choreographer


Sergei Diaghilev that contained rhythmic diversity, evocation of nature,
and choral ensemble
La Valse (1920), a waltz with a frightening undertone that had been
composed for ballet and arranged as well as for solo and duo piano.
The two piano concerti composed in 1929 as well as the violin virtuosic
piece Tzigane (1922) total the relatively meager compositional output of
Ravel, approximating 60 pieces for piano, chamber music, song cycles,
ballet, and opera.

Ravel was a perfectionist and every bit a musical craftsman. He strongly adhered to the
classical form, specifically its ternary structure. A strong advocate of Russian music, he
also admired the music of Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, and Mendelssohn. He died in Paris in
1937.
BOLERO
Transcriptions for Two Pianos (Excerpt)
Maurice Ravel

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MUSIC

Quarter I

Comparative Styles of Debussy and Ravel


As the two major exponents of French Impressionism in music, Debussy and Ravel had
crossed paths during their lifetime although Debussy was thirteen years older than Ravel.
While their musical works sound quite similar in terms of their harmonic and textural
characteristics, the two differed greatly in their personalities and approach to music.
Whereas Debussy was more spontaneous and liberal in form, Ravel was very attentive to
the classical norms of musical structure and the compositional craftsmanship. Whereas
Debussy was more casual in his portrayal of visual imagery, Ravel was more formal and
exacting in the development of his motive ideas.

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (18741951)


Arnold Schoenberg was born in a working-class suburb of Vienna, Austria on September
13, 1874. He taught himself music theory, but took lessons in counterpoint. German
composer Richard Wagner influenced his work as evidenced by his symphonic poem
Pelleas et Melisande, Op 5 (1903), a counterpoint of Debussys opera of the same title.

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Schoenbergs style was constantly undergoing
development. From the early influences of Wagner,
his tonal preference gradually turned to the dissonant
and atonal, as he explored the use of chromatic
harmonies.

Although full of melodic and lyrical interest, his music


is also extremely complex, creating heavy demands
on the listener. His works were met with extreme
reactions, either strong hostility from the general public or enthusiastic acclaim from his
supporters.
Schoenberg is credited with the establishment of the twelve-tone system. His works
include the following:

Verklarte Nacht, Three Pieces for Piano, op. 11

Pierrot Lunaire,

Gurreleider

Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night, 1899), one of his earliest successful


pieces, blends the lyricism, instrumentation, and melodic beauty of Brahms
with the chromaticism and construction of Wagner.
His musical compositions total more or less 213 which include concerti, orchestral music,
piano music, operas, choral music, songs, and other instrumental music. Schoenberg
died on July 13, 1951 in Los Angeles, California, USA where he had settled since 1934.

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Music of the 20th Century

THREE PIANO PIECES, OP. 11, NO. 1


(Excerpt)
Arnold Schoenberg

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MUSIC

Quarter I

IGOR STRAVINSKY (18821971)


Igor Stravinsky stands alongside fellow-composer Schoenberg, painter Pablo Picasso,
and literary figure James Joyce as one of the great trendsetters of the 20th century.
He was born in Oranienbaum (now Lomonosov), Russia on June
17, 1882. Stravinskys early music reflected the influence of his
teacher, the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. But
in his first successful masterpiece, The Firebird Suite (1910),
composed for Diaghilevs Russian Ballet, his skillful handling of
material and rhythmic inventiveness went beyond anything
composed by his Russian predecessors. He added a new
ingredient to his nationalistic musical style. The Rite of Spring
(1913) was another outstanding work. A new level of dissonance
was reached and the sense of tonality was practically abandoned.
Asymmetrical rhythms successfully portrayed the character of a
solemn pagan rite. When he left the country for the United States in 1939, Stravinsky
slowly turned his back on Russian nationalism and cultivated his neo-classical style.

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Stravinsky adapted the forms of the 18th century with his contemporary style of writing.
Despite its shocking modernity, his music is also very structured, precise, controlled,
full of artifice, and theatricality. Other outstanding works include the ballet Petrouchka
(1911), featuring shifting rhythms and polytonality, a signature device of the composer.
The Rakes Progress (1951), a full-length opera, alludes heavily to the Baroque and
Classical styles of Bach and Mozart through the use of the harpsichord, small orchestra,
solo and ensemble numbers with recitatives stringing together the different songs.

Stravinskys musical output approximates 127 works, including concerti, orchestral music,
instrumental music, operas, ballets, solo vocal, and choral music. He died in New York
City on April 6, 1971.

OTHER MUSICAL STYLES


Primitivism

rimitivistic music is tonal through the asserting of one note as more important than
the others. New sounds are synthesized from old ones by juxtaposing two simple
events to create a more complex new event.
Primitivism has links to Exoticism through the use of materials from other cultures,
Nationalism through the use of materials indigenous to specific countries, and Ethnicism
through the use of materials from European ethnic groups. Two well-known proponents
of this style were Stravinsky and Bela Bartok. It eventually evolved into Neo-classicism.
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Music of the 20th Century

RUSSIAN DANCE FROM PETROUCHKA


(Excerpt)
Igor Stravinsky

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MUSIC

Quarter I

BELA BARTOK (18811945)


Bela Bartok was born in Nagyszentmiklos, Hungary (now Romania) on March 25, 1881,
to musical parents. He started piano lessons with his mother and later entered Budapest
Royal Academy of Music in 1899. He was inspired by the performance of Richard Strausss
Also Sprach Zarathustra to write his first nationalistic poem, Kossuth in 1903. He was a
concert pianist as he travelled exploring the music of Hungarian peasants.
In 1906, with his fellow composer Kodaly, Bartok
published his first collection of 20 Hungarian folk songs.
For the next decade, although his music was being badly
received in his country, he continued to explore Magyar
folk songs. Later, he resumed his career as a concert
pianist, while composing several works for his own use.
As a neo-classicist, primitivist, and nationalist composer,
Bartok used Hungarian folk themes and rhythms. He also
utilized changing meters and strong syncopations. His
compositions were successful because of their rich
melodies and lively rhythms. He admired the musical styles
of Liszt, Strauss, Debussy, and Stravinsky.

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He eventually shed their influences in favor of Hungarian folk and peasant themes. These
later became a major source of the themes of his works. Bartok is most famous for his
Six String Quartets (19081938). It represents the greatest achievement of his creative
life, spanning a full 30 years for their completion. The six works combine difficult and
dissonant music with mysterious sounds.

The Concerto for Orchestra (1943), a five-movement work composed late in Bartoks
life, features the exceptional talents of its various soloists in an intricately constructed
piece. The short and popular Allegro Barbaro (1911) for solo piano is punctuated with
swirling rhythms and percussive chords, while Mikrokosmos (19261939), a set of six
books containing progressive technical piano pieces, introduced and familiarized the
piano student with contemporary harmony and rhythm.
His musical compositions total more or less 695 which include concerti, orchestral music,
piano music, instrumental music, dramatic music, choral music, and songs. In 1940, the
political developments in Hungary led Bartok to migrate to the United States, where he
died on September 26, 1945 in New York City, USA.

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Music of the 20th Century

DUET FOR PIPES


(Excerpt)
Bela Bartok

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MUSIC

Quarter I

Neo-Classicism

eo-classicism was a moderating factor between the emotional excesses of the


Romantic period and the violent impulses of the soul in expressionism. It was, in
essence, a partial return to an earlier style of writing, particularly the tightly-knit form of
the Classical period, while combining tonal harmonies with slight dissonances. It also
adopted a modern, freer use of the seven-note diatonic scale. Examples of neo-classicism
are Bela Bartoks Song of the Bagpipe and Piano Sonata. In this latter piece, the classical
three-movement format is combined with ever-shifting time signatures, complex but
exciting rhythmic patterns, as well as harmonic dissonances that produce harsh chords.
The neo-classicist style was also used by composers such as Francis Poulenc, Bela Bartok,
Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, and Sergei Prokofieff.

SERGEI PROKOFIEFF (18911953)


Sergei Prokofieff is regarded today as a combination of neo-classicist, nationalist, and
avant garde composer. His style is uniquely recognizable for its progressive technique,
pulsating rhythms, melodic directness, and a resolving dissonance.

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Born in the Ukraine in 1891, Prokofieff set out for the St.
Petersburg Conservatory equipped with his great talent as a
composer and pianist. His early compositions were branded
as avant garde and were not approved of by his elders, he
continued to follow his stylistic path as he fled to other places
for hopefully better acceptance of his creativity.

His contacts with Diaghilev and Stravinsky gave him the


chance to write music for the ballet and opera, notably the
ballet Romeo and Juliet and the opera War and Peace. Much
of Prokofieffs opera was left unfinished, due in part to
resistance by the performers themselves to the seemingly
offensive musical content. He became prolific in writing symphonies, chamber music,
concerti, and solo instrumental music. He also wrote Peter and the Wolf, a lighthearted
orchestral work intended for children, to appease the continuing government crackdown
on avant garde composers at the time.
He was highly successful in his piano music, as evidenced by the wide acceptance of his
piano concerti and sonatas, featuring toccata-like rhythms and biting harmonic dissonance
within a classical form and structure. Other significant compositions include the Symphony
no. 1 (also called Classical Symphony), his most accessible orchestral work linked to the
combined styles of classicists Haydn and Mozart and neo-classicist Stravinsky. He also
composed violin sonatas, some of which are also performed on the flute, two highly
regarded violin concerti, and two string quartets inspired by Beethoven.
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Music of the 20th Century

Prokofieffs musical compositions include concerti, chamber music, film scores, operas,
ballets, and official pieces for state occasions. He died in Moscow on March 15, 1953.
CONCERTO IN C MAJOR, OP. 26, NO. 3
(Excerpt)
Sergei Prokofieff

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MUSIC

Quarter I

FRANCIS POULENC (18991963)


One of the relatively few composers born into wealth and a privileged social position, the
neo-classicist Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc was a member of the group of young French
composers known as Les Six. He rejected the heavy romanticism of Wagner and the
so-called imprecision of Debussy and Ravel. His compositions had
a coolly elegant modernity, tempered by a classical sense of
proportion. Poulenc was also fond of the witty approach of Satie,
as well as the early neo-classical works of Stravinsky.
Poulenc was a successful composer for piano, voice, and choral
music. His output included the harpsichord concerto, known as
Concert Champetre (1928); the Concerto for Two Pianos (1932),
which combined the classical touches of Mozart with a refreshing
mixture of wit and exoticism in the style of Ravel; and a Concerto
for Solo Piano (1949) written for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Poulencs vocal output, meanwhile, revealed his strength as a lyrical
melodist. His opera works included Les Mamelles de Tiresias (1944), which revealed his
light-hearted character; Dialogues des Carmelites (1956), which highlighted his
conservative writing style; and La Voix Humane (1958), which reflected his own turbulent
emotional life.

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Poulencs choral works tended to be more somber and solemn, as portrayed by Litanies
a la vierge noire (Litanies of the Black Madonna, 1936), with its monophony, simple
harmony, and startling dissonance; and Stabat Mater (1950), which carried a Baroque
solemnity with a prevailing style of unison singing and repetition. Poulencs musical
compositions total around 185 which include solo piano works, as well as vocal solos,
known as melodies, which highlighted many aspects of his temperament in his avant
garde style. He died in Paris on January 30, 1963.
Other members of Les Six
Georges Auric (18991983) wrote music for the movies and rhythmic music with lots
of energy. Louis Durey (18881979) used traditional ways of composing and wrote in
his own, personal way, not wanting to follow form. Arthur Honegger (18821955)
liked chamber music and the symphony. His popular piece Pacific 231 describes a train
journey on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Darius Milhaud (18921974) was a very
talented composer who wrote in several different styles. Some of his music uses bitonality
and polytonality (writing in two or more keys at the same time). His love of jazz can be
heard in popular pieces like Le Boeuf sur le Toit which he called a cinema-symphony.
Germaine Tailleferre (18921983) was the only female in the group. She liked to use
dance rhythms. She loved children and animals and wrote many works about them. She
also wrote operas, concerti, and many works for the piano.
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Music of the 20th Century

PERPETUAL MOTION, NO. 1


(Excerpt)
Francis Poulenc

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Avant Garde Music

losely associated with electronic music, the avant garde movement dealt with the
parameters or the dimensions of sound in space. The avant garde style exhibited a
new attitude toward musical mobility, whereby the order of note groups could be varied
so that musical continuity could be altered. Improvisation was a necessity in this style,
for the musical scores were not necessarily followed as written. For example, one could
expect a piece to be read by a performer from left to right or vice versa. Or the performer
might turn the score over, and go on dabbling indefinitely in whatever order before
returning to the starting point.

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MUSIC

Quarter I

From the United States, there were avant garde composers such as George Gershwin
and John Cage with their truly unconventional composition techniques; Leonard
Bernstein with his famed stage musicals and his music lectures for young people; and
Philip Glass with his minimalist compositions. Through their works, these composers
truly extended the boundaries of what music was thought to be in earlier periods.
The unconventional methods of sound and form, as well as the absence of traditional
rules governing harmony, melody, and rhythm, make the whole concept of avant garde
music still so strange to ears accustomed to traditional compositions. Composers who
used this style include Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Phillip Glass, Leonard Bernstein,
George Gershwin, and Pierre Boulez.

GEORGE GERSHWIN (18981937)


George Gershwin was born in New York to Russian Jewish immigrants. His older brother
Ira was his artistic collaborator who wrote the lyrics of his songs. His first song was
written in 1916 and his first Broadway musical La La Lucille in 1919.

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From that time on, Gershwins name became a fixture
on Broadway. He also composed Rhapsody in Blue
(1924) and An American in Paris (1928), which
incorporated jazz rhythms with classical forms. His
opera Porgy and Bess (1934) remains to this day the
onlyAmerican opera to be included in the established
repertory of this genre. In spite of his commercial
success, Gershwin was more fascinated with classical
music. He was influenced by Ravel, Stravinsky, Berg,
and Schoenberg, as well as the group of
contemporary French composers known as Les Six
that would shape the character of his major works
half jazz and half classical.

Gershwins melodic gift was considered phenomenal, as evidenced by his numerous songs
of wide appeal. He is a true crossover artist, in the sense that his serious compositions
remain highly popular in the classical repertoire, as his stage and film songs continue to
be jazz and vocal standards. Considered the Father of American Jazz, his mixture of
the primitive and the sophisticated gave his music an appeal that has lasted long after his
death. His musical compositions total around 369 which include orchestral music, chamber
music, musical theatre, film musicals, operas, and songs. He died in Hollywood, California,
U.S.A. on July 11, 1937.

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Music of the 20th Century

SUMMERTIME
(Excerpt)
George Gershwin

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LEONARD BERNSTEIN (19181990)

Born in Massachussetts, USA, Leonard Bernstein endeared himself to his many followers
as a charismatic conductor, pianist, composer, and lecturer. His big break came when he
was asked to substitute for the ailing Bruno Walter in conducting the New York
Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert on November 14, 1943. The overnight success of
this event started his reputation as a great interpreter of the classics as well as of the more
complex works of Gustav Mahler.

Bernsteins philosophy was that the universal language of


music is basically rooted in tonality. This came under fire from
the radical young musicians who espoused the serialist
principles of that time. Although he never relinquished his
musical values as a composer, he later turned to conducting
and lecturing in order to safeguard his principles as to what
he believed was best in music. He achieved pre-eminence in
two fields: conducting and composing for Broadway musicals,
dance shows, and concert music.
Bernstein is best known for his compositions for the stage. Foremost among these is the
musical West Side Story (1957), an American version of Romeo and Juliet, which displays
a tuneful, off-beat, and highly atonal approach to the songs. Other outputs include another
Broadway hit Candide (1956) and the much-celebrated Mass (1971), which he wrote for
the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

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MUSIC

Quarter I

He composed the music for the film On the Waterfront (1954). As a lecturer, Bernstein is
fondly remembered for his television series Young Peoples Concerts (19581973)
that demonstrated the sounds of the various orchestral instruments and explained basic
music principles to young audiences, as well as his Harvardian Lectures, a six-volume
set of his papers on syntax, musical theories, and philosophical insights delivered to his
students at Harvard University. His musical compositions total around 90. He died in
New York City, USA on October 14, 1990.
TONIGHT
From West Side Story
(Excerpt)
Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

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20

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Music of the 20th Century

PHILIP GLASS (1937

One of the most commercially successful minimalist composer is Philip Glass who is
also an avant garde composer. He explored the territories of ballet, opera, theater, film,
and even television jingles. His distinctive style involves cell-like phrases emanating from
bright electronic sounds from the keyboard that progressed
very slowly from one pattern to the next in a very repetitious
fashion. Aided by soothing vocal effects and horn sounds, his
music is often criticized as uneventful and shallow, yet
startlingly effective for its hypnotic charm.
Born in New York, USA of Jewish parentage, Glass became
an accomplished violinist and flutist at the age of 15. In Paris,
he became inspired by the music of the renowned Indian
sitarist Ravi Shankar. He assisted Shankar in the soundtrack
recording for Conrad Rooks film Chappaqua. He formed
the Philip Glass Ensemble and produced works such as Music
in Similar Motion (1969) and Music in Changing Parts (1970), which combined rocktype grooves with perpetual patterns played at extreme volumes.

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Glass collaborated with theater conceptualist Robert Wilson to produce the four-hour
opera Einstein on the Beach (1976), an instant sell-out at the New York Metropolitan
Opera House. It put minimalism in the mainstream of 20th century music. He completed
the trilogy with the operas Satyagraha (1980) and Akhnaten (1984), based on the lives
of Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King, and an Egyptian pharaoh. Here,
he combined his signature repetitive and overlapping style with theatrical grandeur on
stage. His musical compositions total around 170. Today, Glass lives alternately in Nova
Scotia, Canada and New York, USA.
MUSIC IN FIFTHS
(Excerpt)
Philip Glass

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21

MUSIC

Quarter I

Modern Nationalism

looser form of 20th century music development focused on nationalist composers


and musical innovators who sought to combine modern techniques with folk
materials. However, this common ground stopped there, for the different breeds of
nationalists formed their own styles of writing.
In Eastern Europe, prominent figures included the Hungarian
Bela Bartok and the Russian Sergei Prokofieff, who were
neo-classicists to a certain extent. Bartok infused Classical
techniques into his own brand of cross rhythms and shifting
meters to demonstrate many barbaric and primitive themes
that were Hungarianparticularly gypsyin origin.
Prokofieff used striking dissonances and Russian themes, and
his music was generally witty, bold, and at times colored with
humor. Together with Bartok, Prokofieff made extensive use
of polytonality, a kind of atonality that uses two or more
tonal centers simultaneously. An example of this style is
Prokofieffs Visions Fugitive.

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Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov

In Russia, a highly gifted generation of creative individuals known as the Russian Five
Modest Mussorgsky, Mili Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, Cesar Cui, and Nikolai Rimsky
Korsakovinfused chromatic harmony and incorporated Russian folk music and liturgical
chant in their thematic materials.
VISIONS FUGITIVE
(Excerpt)
Sergei Prokofieff

Example of Modern Nationalism

22

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Music of the 20th Century

21ST CENTURY MUSIC TRENDS

usic scholars predict that the innovative and experimental developments of 20th
century classical music will continue to influence the music of the 21st century.
With so many technical and stylistic choices open to todays composers, it seems there is
no obstacle to their creativity and to the limits of their imagination. And yet, this same
freedom that has allowed such varied musical experimentation in recent years has also
caused contemporary classical musicor music utilizing the classical techniques of
compositionto lose touch with its audience and to lose its clear role in todays society.
Presently, modern technology and gadgets put a great impact on all types of music.
However, what still remains to be seen is when this trend will shift, and what the distinct
qualities of emerging classical works will be.

SUMMARY

he early half of the 20th century also gave rise to new musical styles, which were not
quite as extreme as the electronic, chance, and minimalist styles that arose later.
These new styles were impressionism, expressionism, neo-classicism, avant garde music,
and modern nationalism.

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Impressionism made use of the whole-tone scale. It also applied suggested, rather than
depicted, reality. It created a mood rather than a definite picture. It had a translucent and
hazy texture; lacking a dominant-tonic relationship. It made use of overlapping chords,
with 4th, 5th, octaves, and 9th intervals, resulting in a non-traditional harmonic order
and resolution.
Expressionism revealed the composers mind, instead of presenting an impression of
the environment. It used atonality and the twelve-tone scale, lacking stable and
conventional harmonies. It served as a medium for expressing strong emotions, such as
anxiety, rage, and alienation.
Neo-classicism was a partial return to a classical form of writing music with carefully
modulated dissonances. It made use of a freer seven-note diatonic scale.
The avant garde style was associated with electronic music and dealt with the parameters
or dimensions of sound in space. It made use of variations of self-contained note groups
to change musical continuity, and improvisation, with an absence of traditional rules on
harmony, melody, and rhythm.
Modern nationalism is a looser form of 20th century music development focused on
nationalist composers and musical innovators who sought to combine modern techniques
with folk materials.

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23

MUSIC

Quarter I

A number of outstanding composers of the 20th century each made their own distinctive
mark on the contemporary classical music styles that developed. Claude Debussy and
Maurice Ravel were the primary exponents of impressionism, while Arnold Schoenberg
was the primary exponent of expressionism, with the use of the twelve-tone scale and
atonality. Bela Bartok was a neo-classical, modern nationalist, and a primitivist composer
who adopted Hungarian folk themes to introduce rhythms with changing meters and
heavy syncopation. Igor Stravinsky was also an expressionist and a neo-classical
composer. He incorporated nationalistic elements in his music, known for his skillful
handling of materials and his rhythmic inventiveness.

WHAT TO KNOW
1.

What group of people inspired many of Bartoks compositions?

2.

Which Russian composer created the music for the ballet The Firebird?

3.

Who is considered the foremost impressionist?

4.

What kind of musical style is attributed to Schoenberg and Stravinsky?

5.

Who was the target audience of Prokofieffs Peter and the Wolf?

6.

Give an example of a musical work of Debussy, Ravel, Schoenberg, Stravinsky,


Bartok, Prokofieff, Poulenc, Gershwin, Glass, and Bernstein. Write your answers
in the table below.

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Composer

Musical Work

Debussy
Ravel
Schoenberg
Stravinsky
Bartok
Prokofieff
Poulenc
Gershwin
Glass
Bernstein

24

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Music of the 20th Century

20TH CENTURY MUSICAL STYLES:


ELECTRONIC and CHANCE MUSIC

he musical styles that evolved in the modern era were varied. Some of these were
short-lived, being experimental and too radical in nature, while others found an active
blend between the old and the new.

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Synthesizer

New inventions and discoveries of science and technology lead to continuing developments
in the field of music. Technology has produced electronic music devices such as cassette
tape recorders, compact discs and their variants, the video compact disc (VCD) and the
digital video disc (DVD), MP3, MP4, ipod, iphone, karaoke players, mobile phones and
synthesizers. These devices are used for creating and recording music to add to or to
replace acoustical sounds.

NEW MUSICAL STYLES


Electronic Music

he capacity of electronic machines such as synthesizers, amplifiers, tape recorders,


and loudspeakers to create different sounds was given importance by 20th century
composers like Edgar Varese, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Mario Davidovsky.
Music that uses the tape recorder is called musique concrete, or concrete music. The
composer records different sounds that are heard in the environment such as the bustle of
traffic, the sound of the wind, the barking of dogs, the strumming of a guitar, or the cry
of an infant. These sounds are arranged by the composer in different ways like by playing
the tape recorder in its fastest mode or in reverse. In musique concrete, the composer is
able to experiment with different sounds that cannot be produced by regular musical
instruments such as the piano or the violin.

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25

MUSIC

Quarter I

SYNCHRONISMS NO. 5
(For Five Percussion Players and Tape / Excerpt)
Mario Davidovsky

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Example of Electronic Music
Copyright by Edward B. Marks Music Corporation

EDGARD VARESE (18831965)


Edgard (also spelled Edgar) Varse was born on December
22, 1883. He was considered an innovative French-born
composer. However, he spent the greater part of his life and
career in the United States, where he pioneered and created
new sounds that bordered between music and noise.
The musical compositions of Varese are characterized by an
emphasis on timbre and rhythm. He invented the term
organized sound, which means that certain timbres and
rhythms can be grouped together in order to capture a whole
new definition of sound.Although his complete surviving works
are scarce, he has been recognized to have influenced several
major composers of the late 20th century.
26

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Music of the 20th Century

POME LECTRONIQUE
Edgard Varese

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Copyright by Philips International B.V.

Varses use of new instruments and electronic resources made him the Father of
Electronic Music and he was described as the Stratospheric Colossus of Sound. His
musical compositions total around 50, with his advances in tape-based sound proving
revolutionary during his time. He died on November 6, 1965.

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN (1928

Karlheinz Stockhausen is a central figure in


the realm of electronic music. Born in
Cologne, Germany, he had the opportunity to
meet Messiaen, Schoenberg, and Webern, the
principal innovators at the time. Together with
Pierre Boulez, Stockhausen drew inspiration
from these composers as he developed his style
of total serialism. Stockhausens music was
initially met with resistance due to its heavily
atonal content with practically no clear melodic or rhythmic sense. Still, he continued to
experiment with musique concrete. Some of his works include Gruppen (1957), a piece
for three orchestras that moved music through time and space; Kontakte (1960), a work
that pushed the tape machine to its limits; and the epic Hymnen (1965), an ambitious
two-hour work of 40 juxtaposed songs and anthems from around the world.

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27

MUSIC

Quarter I

The climax of his compositional ambition came in 1977 when he announced the creation
of Licht (Light), a seven-part opera (one for each day of the week) for a gigantic ensemble
of solo voices, solo instruments, solo dancers, choirs, orchestras, mimes, and electronics.
His recent Helicopter String Quartet, in which a string quartet performs whilst airborne
in four different helicopters, develops his long-standing fascination with music which
moves in space. It has led him to dream of concert halls in which the sound attacks the
listener from every direction. Stockhausens works total around 31. He presently resides
in Germany.
STUDY II
(Excerpt)
Karlheinz Stockhausen

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Chance Music

hance music refers to a style wherein the piece always sounds different at every
performance because of the random techniques of production, including the use of
ring modulators or natural elements that become a part of the music. Most of the sounds
emanate from the surroundings, both natural and man-made, such as honking cars, rustling
leaves, blowing wind, dripping water, or a ringing phone. As such, the combination of
external sounds cannot be duplicated as each happens by chance.
An example is John Cages Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds (433") where the
pianist merely opens the piano lid and keeps silent for the duration of the piece. The
audience hears a variety of noises inside and outside the concert hall amidst the seeming
silence.
28

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Music of the 20th Century

JOHN CAGE (19121992)


John Cage was known as one of the 20th century composers
with the widest array of sounds in his works. He was born in
Los Angeles, California, USA on September 5, 1912 and
became one of the most original composers in the history of
western music. He challenged the very idea of music by
manipulating musical instruments in order to achieve new
sounds. He experimented with what came to be known as
chance music.
In one instance, Cage created a prepared piano, where
screws and pieces of wood or paper were inserted between
the piano strings to produce different percussive possibilities.
The prepared piano style found its way into Cages Sonatas
and Interludes (19461948), a cycle of pieces containing a wide range of sounds, rhythmic
themes, and a hypnotic quality. His involvement with Zen Buddhism inspired him to
compose Music of Changes (1951), written for conventional piano, that employed chance
compositional processes.

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CONCERT FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA, 1958
(Cover, instruction sheet, and pages 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9)

John Cage

Copyright Edition Peters

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29

MUSIC

Quarter I

He became famous for his composition Four Minutes and 33 Seconds (433"), a chance
musical work that instructed the pianist to merely open the piano lid and remain silent for
the length of time indicated by the title. The work was intended to convey the impossibility
of achieving total silence, since surrounding sounds can still be heard amidst the silence
of the piano performance.
Cage also advocated bringing real-life experiences into the concert hall. This reached its
extreme when he composed a work that required him to fry mushrooms on stage in order
to derive the sounds from the cooking process. As a result of his often irrational ideas
like this, he developed a following in the 1960s. However, he gradually returned to the
more organized methods of composition in the last 20 years of his life.
More than any other modern composer, Cage influenced the development of modern
music since the 1950s. He was considered more of a musical philosopher than a composer.
His conception of what music can and should be has had a profound impact upon his
contemporaries. He was active as a writer presenting his musical views with both wit and
intelligence. Cage was an important force in other artistic areas especially dance and
musical theater. His musical compositions total around 229. Cage died in New York City
on August 12, 1992.

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COPY
T
SUMMARY

he new musical styles created by 20th century classical composers were truly unique
and innovative. They experimented with the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony,
tempo, and timbre in daring ways never attempted before. Some even made use of
electronic devices such as synthesizers, tape recorders, amplifiers, and the like to introduce
and enhance sounds beyond those available with traditional instruments. Among the
resulting new styles were electronic music and chance music. These expanded the
concept of music far beyond the conventions of earlier periods, and challenged both the
new composers and the listening public.
As the 20th century progressed, so did the innovations in musical styles as seen in the
works of these composers. From France, Edgard Vareses use of new instruments and
electronic resources led to his being known as the Father of Electronic Music and a
description of him as The Stratospheric Colossus of Sound. From Germany, there was
Karlheinz Stockhausen, who further experimented with electronic music and musique
concrete. Stockhausens electronic sounds revealed the rich musical potential of modern
technology. From the United States, there was John Cage with his truly unconventional
composition techniques. Cages works feature the widest array of sounds from the most
inventive sources.

30

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Music of the 20th Century

WHAT TO KNOW
1.
2.
3.
4.

Who was the French composer known as the Father of Electronic Music?
What are some of the new musical approaches of Cage?
What is meant by musique concrete used by Stockhausen?
Give an example of a musical work by Varese, Stockhausen, and Cage. Write
your answers in the table below.
Composer

Musical Work

Varese
Stockhausen
Cage

WHAT TO PROCESS

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Listening Activity: Works of 20th Century Composers
1.

Your teacher will play excerpts of any (one) of the following musical examples:
Debussy

Ravel

Schoenberg
Bartok

Stravinsky
Prokofieff
Gershwin

Bernstein
Glass
Poulenc
Cage

Stockhausen
Varese

Claire de Lune, La Mer, Childrens Corner Suite


Miroirs, Sonatine, Daphnis et Chloe, Jeux dEau, Bolero
Verklarte Nacht, Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto,
Gurrelieder
String Quartet no. 4, Allegro, Mikrokosmos, Barbaro,
Music for Strings
The Rite of Spring, Petrouchka, The Firebird Suite
Romeo and Juliet (ballet), Piano Sonatas
An American in Paris, Porgy and Bess, Rhapsody in Blue,
Someone to Watch Over Me
Tonight from West Side Story, Clarinet Sonata
Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha, Akhnaten
Concerto for Two Pianos, Dialogues des Carmelites
433"; Metamorphosis, for piano; Five Songs, for
contralto soloist and piano; Music for Wind
Instruments, for wind quintet
Etude, Electronic STUDIES I and II, Gesang der
Junglinge, Kontakte, Momente, Hymnen
Hyperprism for wind and percussion,
Octandre for seven wind instruments and double bass,
Intgrales for wind and percussion,
Ionisation for 13 percussion players

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31

MUSIC

Quarter I

2.
3.

Listen carefully to each excerpt and be able to recognize the distinct musical
style of each composer.
Choose a composition that you like. Write a short reaction paper on it.

WHAT TO UNDERSTAND
A.

Name the Composer, Title of the Music, Musical Style, and Description
1.

2.
3.

After the Listening Activity, your teacher will prepare selected excerpts of
compositions by Debussy, Ravel, Schoenberg, Bartok, Stravinsky, Prokofieff,
Poulenc, Stockhausen, Glass, Cage, Bernstein, Varese, and Gershwin.
The class will be divided into four teams, with each team forming a line.
As your teacher plays a few measures of the first excerpt, the first student
in each line goes to the board and writes the name of the composer. The
second student will write the title of the music. The third student will write
the musical style. Then, the fourth student will write a description of the
music in one phrase.
The team that writes the correct answers first scores four (4) points.
The same procedure goes on until all the students in the line have had their
turn.
One student will be assigned as the scorer. The team with the highest
score is the winner. In case of a tie, the first team to finish is the winner.
The scorer will announce the winners and then ask them this question:
What was the most significant thing that you have learned from this activity?

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4.
5.

6.
7.

WHAT TO PERFORM
A.

32

Activity 1:
Experimentation with the Sounds of 20th Century Music Systems
1.

Chance Music Put small items inside a bag. Include coins, pens, pins,
small bells, and other articles with percussive sounds. Pour the bags contents
on a hard surface and record the sounds that are produced with a cellphone
or other available device. Put the items back in the bag, and unload the
same while once again recording the sounds being produced. Note the
changes between the two sets of sounds recorded.

2.

Electronic Music Create short electronic music pieces using your


knowledge of 20th century musical styles.

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Music of the 20th Century

B.

Performance Activity 2:
Original Chance and Electronic Music
Rate scores are based on the elements of music such as rhythm, melodic appeal,
harmony and texture, tempo and dynamics, timbre, and overall musical structure.
1. The class will be divided into four groups.
2. Each group will create an original five-minute performance of Chance Music
and Electronic Music (if available) to be performed in class.
3. Those who are not performing will act as judges for the performance
evaluation.
4. Judges will have five placards or score cards or paper marked: BEST,
BETTER, GOOD, FAIR, NEEDS FOLLOW UP.
5. Judges will display a score card after evaluating the performance.
6. One student may be assigned to tabulate the scores after the performance.
7. Your teacher will announce the Best Performance award.
8. What was the role of the audience in the performance of Chance music?
Explain your answers.

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C.

Performance Activity 3: Group Activity

Video Clips
1. You will be divided into four groups by counting off from 1 to 4.
2. Create and explore other arts (multi- media) that portray 20th century musical
style (chance, electronic, jazz, avant garde) through a 10-minute video clip
or MTV using your digital cameras or mobile phones.
3. Show and discuss your video works in class.
Live / TV Performances
1. Watch live performances of musical concerts, if available in your area or
watch live concerts recorded on TV.
2. Re-enact in class what you watched.
3. Make a 10-minute audio video presentation while you re-enact what you
have seen on live concerts and on TV.
4. Show and discuss your video works in class.

D.

Performance Activity 4:
Singing or Humming Musical Fragments
1.

2.

Your teacher will play several musical excerpts of selected 20th century
composers and will briefly discuss the title, composer, musical style, and
brief description of how he or she feels about the music.
Listen carefully to each excerpt and be able to recognize the distinct musical
style of each composer.

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33

MUSIC

Quarter I

3.

4.

5.

Sing or hum some melodic fragments (portion only) of any of the following
excerpts of 20th century music, together with the recordings:
a.
Claude Debussys Claire de Lune
b.
Leonard Bernsteins West Side Story
c.
George Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue
d. Ravels Bolero
e.
Any work of minimalist composers, Philip Glass or Meredith Monk
f.
Any work of nationalist composers, Erik Satie or Bela Bartok.
Based on the melodic fragments of the excerpts that you sang or hummed,
you should be able to aurally identify the different selected works of the
composers of the 20th century.
Choose a composition that you like. Write a brief profile about the composer
and give your personal reaction about the music on a 1/2 sheet of paper.
Submit it in class next meeting.

Evaluation Activity: Drawing Lots


1.

After the above singing or humming activity, your teacher will prepare a
box containing slips of paper with the names of Debussy, Ravel, Gershwin,
Bernstein, Glass, Monk, Satie, and Bartok written on them.
The class will be divided into four groups. Each group will choose four
representatives who will be assigned as contestants.
Each contestant will draw out a composers name from the box and must
say three sentences about his compositional technique or musical style, his
major contribution to modern music, and one work that shows his
compositional style.
The rest of the groups will evaluate each contestants answer by flashing a
card or paper marked CORRECT or WRONG. Each correct answer
earns a point.
The group with the highest number of points wins the contest.

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2.
3.

4.

5.

E.

Performance Activity 5:
Film Showing or Video Watching
1.
2.
3.

34

Research on the 20th century musical play West Side Story written by Leonard
Bernstein.
Watch any video clip of West Side Story on the internet or You Tube.
Write a reaction paper explaining the following elements of the performance:
a.
Setting
b.
Musical compositions
c.
Role of composer and lyricist
d. Role of performers (actors, actresses)
e.
Role of audience (yourself)

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Music of the 20th Century

f.
g.
h.
4.

F.

Sound and musical direction


Script / screenplay
Props, costumes, lighting

Did you like what you watched? Why or why not? Explain your answers.

Performance Activity 6:
Singing Songs from West Side Story
1.
2.

3.
4.

You may opt to do this as an individual or group activity. Groups will be


divided into four.
Listen to the songs Tonight, Maria, Somewhere, and America from video
or recordings of West Side Story. You will be asked to draw lots for the
song to sing.
Sing and perform the song in class with or without accompaniment. You
may also sing with the recordings.
Those who are not performing will act as judges for the performance
evaluation.
Judges will have five placards or score cards or paper marked: BEST,
BETTER, GOOD, FAIR, NEEDS FOLLOW UP.
Judges will display a score card after evaluating the performance.
One student may be assigned to tabulate the scores after the performance.
Your teacher will announce the Best Performance award.

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5.
6.
7.
8.

G.

Performance Activity 7:
Live Concert or Recording or Music Video
Choose the activity that you are interested in.
1.

Class Concert Live Performance


a.
You will be grouped into two. You choose your group if you will be
doing the following: singing, dancing, choreography, musical directing,
playing an instrument (either as accompaniment to the song or dance
or solo performance or as a band). Use props and costumes, if needed.
b.
Perform the concert in class in your own original interpretation of the
songs from West Side Story.

2.

Recording or Music Video: Individual or Group Activity


a.
You will be grouped into two and you will choose your group members.
b.
Record the performance of your classmates using a cassette recorder
or make a music video using your cellular phone, digital camera, or
video camera

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35

MUSIC

Quarter I

c.

Play the recorded performance or show the music video to your


classmates and choose the Best Performers.

Evaluation of Performing Activities


Rating scale: 5
4
3
2
1

=
=
=
=
=

Very Good
Good
Fair
Poor
Needs Follow-up

Rate scores are based on your performance quality.


1.

How well did I perform the songs from West


Side Story?

____________

How well can I identify the different musical genres


based on instrumentation, text, and purpose?

____________

How well can I describe the characteristics of each


through listening to their melody, harmony, rhythm,
text, and mass appeal?

____________

How well did I participate in the performance of


the different activities?

____________

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3.

4.

Teachers Rating of the Students Performance


1.

36

Musicianship (60%)
a.
compositional concepts presented
b.
musical elements
c.
technique

____________
____________
____________

2.

Ensemble coordination (20%)

____________

3.

Ensemble organization (20%)

____________

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