An Introduction to Twentieth Century Music

By Peter S. Hansen | Go to book overview

Preface

THE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK is to present the main lines of development of twentieth-century music through a study of selected compositions by its most influential composers. The author assumes that the student has some knowledge of the main stream of music and an understanding of its underlying principles (such as tonality, harmony, form, etc.), since the new style traits are presented as outgrowths of this more familiar music. On the other hand, extensive technical knowledge is not necessary to use this book. It is designed for college courses having no other prerequisite than an introductory course in music, such as Introduction to Music or Music Appreciation.

In surveying the era and attempting to evaluate its musical achievements, one finds that the first half of the twentieth century has as many shifting patterns and designs as a kaleidoscope. To impose a definitive pattern is impossible at this time and the different books devoted to the subject reflect various points of view. Some books supply us with a year-by-year recording of events while others describe musical activities within geographical boundaries. Still others discuss the period by writing biographies of composers, analyzing significant compositions, or by defining certain aspects of music theory. All of these approaches are valid and helpful to students.

This book seeks to treat the principal factors involved-personalities, chronology, style-in a manner that shows various interrelations as well as fundamental trends in the development of the art. The special problem of writing contemporary cultural history is the necessity of making judgments about persons, events, and works of art that have not yet stood the test of time--the only true criterion of aesthetic value. As a result it is inevitable that there will be differences of opinion concerning emphasis and proportion in such a book as this and that the final decisions will be more personal than if one were making a survey, say, of the music of the first half of the sixteenth century. The present author has been guided in his decisions by his experiences with

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An Introduction to Twentieth Century Music
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Epigraph iii
  • Title Page iv
  • List of Illustrations vi
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Part One - 1900-1914 1
  • Chapter I - Nineteenth Century Background 3
  • Suggested Readings 9
  • Chapter II - Paris 11
  • Chapter III - Paris: Other Composers 33
  • Suggested Readings 52
  • Chapter IV - Germany and Austria 53
  • Suggested Readings 74
  • Chapter V - Music in America 75
  • Chapter VI - Experiments in Music 87
  • Part Two - 1914-1945 105
  • Chapter VII - Paris After World War I 107
  • Chapter VIII - Les Trois 125
  • Chapter IX - Stravinsky 151
  • Chapter X - Schoenberg 175
  • Chapter XI - Berg and Webern 197
  • Suggested Readings 218
  • Chapter XII - Bartók 223
  • Suggested Reading 238
  • Chapter XIII - Hindemith 249
  • Suggested Reading 265
  • Chapter XIV - Soviet Russia 267
  • Suggested Reading 287
  • Chapter XV - England 289
  • Suggested Reading 303
  • Chapter XVI - Music in America 305
  • Suggested Reading 337
  • Part III - 1945-1960 343
  • Chapter XVII - New Directions 345
  • Suggested Reading 357
  • References 359
  • Composers 365
  • Index 367
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