Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice

Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice

Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice

Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice

Excerpt

The music of the first half of the twentieth century has produced a harmonic practice that can be defined. During these sixty years, harmonic ideas have been in constant flux; composers have created new musical devices and techniques. This broad palette of materials has fundamental significance for the present scene, for amalgamation of the various sound formations and techniques is in process. Composers have worked instinctively, with the ear as their guide, and have arrived at something of a common usage of these materials. Contemporary musical resources include a wide range of materials of the past and present, and the available techniques yield abundant expressive returns.

Works of high caliber are plentiful in the twentieth century. The rich mixture of materials and styles is made up of many ingredients: rhythmic energy, vivid harmonic fabric, melodic color, and fresh linear writing. There are bold statements and delicate embellishments, moments of fancy, and developmental forces that refuse to be bound by a severe formal plan. There are daringly experimental and strongly traditional forces which bring divergent materials together.

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