To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The first public screening of projected moving images by the Lumière Brothers in Paris in 1895 marked the beginning of an artistic revolution. Almost immediately, music became an integral part of the film industry, first being performed live to silent film screenings before becoming fully integrated into the cinematic apparatus on the advent of sound film. While the placement of music against the moving image for commercial film built on centuries of dramatic practice, it also developed forms of audiovisual communication unique to the twentieth century. In fact, we can say that moving-image art is a form exclusive to modern life. As the decades passed, many of the audiovisual conventions established in early film practice began to be appropriated by other moving-image genres, from television (1950s) and music video (1980s) to the interactive forms of video art (1960s), gaming (1970s) and online culture (1990s). These new audiovisual textures were also used by composers and artists to refresh the processes of music composition, while screen media quickly became an integral part of live music performance, from opera to stadium rock.
States and state-like supranational bodies have always sought to control music’s creation and dissemination. As early as the fourth century BC, Plato made explicit (in The Republic) the laws that a state should enact in response to the social benefits and threats posed by different musical scales. Twelve centuries later the Council of Trent considered the role of music among many of its reforms to the Catholic Church, recommending intelligibility of text, avoidance of secular expression and ‘only the divine phrases of hymnody’ be used in its music, such that ‘the hearts of listeners should be ravished by longing for heavenly harmony and by contemplation of the joys of the blessed’. Later still, in nineteenth-century Vienna, Franz Schubert laboured under a censorial regime promoted by Emperor Franz I and his anti-liberal foreign minister Prince Clemens von Metternich. In each of these examples, the battle can be seen as one between conservatism and modernity. The intervention of the state (or the church, as it may be), is almost always an attempt to regain control of meaning in the face of change. As the sociologist Howard S.
The prerogatives of the new, of progress and the future, had been more important than ever in the wake of World War II. But, by the 1970s, the grand schemes that had characterised Western modernity and modernism seemed all to be failing. This was true on the broadest scale: while Nazi genocide was in the past, the Soviet experiment that had given much early modernist art its force – and postwar Western social democratic reforms their urgency – was now crumbling in totalitarian misery. It was true of people’s lived experience: rather than ushering in a life in the sky, new high-rise housing had further ripped at an already tattered social fabric. And it was true of the arts: as much as unveiling a new lingua franca for an international modern music, serial composition had seemed to renounce its own audience, and listeners now turned to popular musics even for the experiment and challenge that art music had once vaunted. Here was the crisis: a loss of intellectual and spiritual confidence in the West’s ability – taken as read since the Enlightenment – to envisage and work towards a better future by way of rational means (Berman 1982).
The concept of the ‘centre and periphery’ was a key one in twentieth-century music and culture. It took many forms: ‘mainstream and margins’ or ‘culture and counterculture’ oppositions; more personal ‘insider and outsider’ dynamics; and spatial relationships between centres of cultural power and their peripheries. This chapter examines such centre-and-periphery dynamics from a number of angles. It starts by tracking countercultures across the century, looking at the 1960s counterculture as a typical example in which competing values eventually become absorbed in the mainstream. The first case study surveys free jazz as a countercultural or marginal practice that largely managed to resist incorporation into the mainstream. The chapter then pivots to examine the insider and outsider dynamics inherent in noise music, where both aesthetic and social separation from the mainstream is prized as a core value. The second case study, on noise in Japan, extends and develops that discussion, examining the transnational dynamics that underpin even this obscure, marginal musical form. The chapter closes with a discussion of ‘downtown’ and ‘uptown’ music as a typical struggle between official and unofficial centres of musical power in the last decades of the century.
This chapter explores twentieth-century music’s entanglement in various racial and ethnic (or national) struggles. We start by looking at the concepts of ‘essentialism’ and ‘constructivism’, two ideas that shaped how music was talked about and experienced in the period. We extend that discussion in turning to ethnicity and nationalism in twentieth-century music. Our first case study examines Béla Bartók’s (1881–1945) folk-song collecting through the lens of national and ethnic identity. We then discuss the concept and traditions of Black music in the twentieth century, in turn looking at the post-human in Black and white music in our second case study. The final section draws together previous discussions in looking at end-of-the-century transnational musics as symbols of changing racial, ethnic and national dynamics. We should acknowledge the complexity of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ at the outset. Though the shorthand of race as biology (physical characteristics) and ethnicity as culture (customs tied to heritage or nationality) is useful, it masks a more complex reality where race is shaped by cultural experience, and ethnicity can refer to shared physical as much as cultural characteristics.
In the twentieth century as in our own time, ‘rhythm’ meant different things in different contexts. Popularly, it often suggested a type of beat or musical feel, usually something lively or active. To music specialists, it could also refer to any one of the aspects of the relationship between sound and time: attack, metre or phrase structure (or ‘period’). As the century progressed, and the new discipline of ethnomusicology began to suggest ways of understanding local music cultures as local participants did, it became apparent that many peoples had other ways of perceiving and describing what Westerners described as rhythm (Agawu 1995). In what follows, we will address changing ‘cultural’ and musicological understandings of rhythm across the century. Yet our attention will often be on the ways that musicians developed rhythmic approaches to particular aesthetic and technical ends; in these discussions we will follow the definition of Anne Danielsen (2010a: 4) and take rhythm to refer to ‘an interaction between non-sounding reference structures’, such as metre, ‘and sounding rhythmic events’, such as an attack or beat.
Is music property? If so, can it be owned – and by whom? Can it be stolen? Who gets to make money from it – and who risks being exploited? Answers to these questions all hinge on the issue of copyright: the legal instrument that defines the owner of a musical work and gives them exclusive rights to make copies of it. Copyright may seem like a marginal, even bureaucratic subject for a music textbook. Yet it is central to the history of music in the twentieth century. Without copyright, music publishing – and therefore a music industry – is almost unimaginable (Frith and Marshall 2004: 1). And copyright is the framework through which music in the twentieth century was understood legally and economically – and, consequently, morally.
‘I happen to think that computers are the most important thing to happen to musicians since the invention of cat-gut which was a long time ago’ (Moog, in Williamson 1990). Electronic music pioneer Robert Moog’s (1934–2005) words point to the two main stories of instrument development in the twentieth century. One was concerned with newness and saw traditional instruments undergo transformation through extended performance techniques, electrification and amplification and the creation of brand-new devices. Equally radical, the other was concerned with the past. Focusing on preservation, it saw renewed interest in ancient and early instrument restoration (and a return to cat-gut strings), performance practice and musicological research. While it is tempting to establish a stark binary between these two stories, in many cases we will find that a rich dialogue flowed between them.
It is usual for books like this to begin with the momentous changes in art music composition that took place around 1900. That is logical enough. But rather than dwelling on isolated moments, each of our chapters examines a topic as it developed over the course of many decades – and when the twentieth century is seen as a whole, it is clear that what best defines that period is not any single artistic approach but the huge developments in technology, travel and trade that, over the course of 100 years, effectively ‘shrank’ the planet (Harvey 1989). Most people in 1900 would live and die where they were born, and the music they made and listened to was often reflective of their immediate cultural surroundings. Certainly, some music cultures already had an international dimension: German, French, Italian and Russian art music was heard across the West and was beginning to take root in Asia (➔). But, by 2000, a hugely expanded version of that internationalism was the norm.
Steve Reich pitched up in San Francisco in September 1961. He was a young musician, one who had been taken by the early-century work of the Hungarian composer and folklorist Béla Bartók, and he had journeyed west from New York in the hope of studying with Leon Kirchner, a composer in the rough-lyric Bartók tradition who had been teaching at Mills College. But Kirchner had just left for Harvard, so Reich ended up working at Mills under Luciano Berio. Over the course of the previous decade, Berio had become identified as a figurehead of the European postwar avant-garde: his ultramodern serialist work was quite a different proposition to Kirchner’s own.
As diverse as they may seem, the works of Schoenberg, Ella Fitzgerald, Ligeti, the Sex Pistols and Patti Smith all have something in common. From innovative, extended form to progressive and authentic performance style, the work of these diverse musicians has transcended changing tastes and styles to become firmly rooted in our musical culture. When the music of an artist continues to be played long after their death, or long after the music was released, and has exerted significant influence over subsequent musical practice, it can become part of a musical canon. A canon is a group of works considered by certain social and cultural groups to be the most significant and influential of a time period, style or genre. The consideration of a piece of music as an autonomous and bounded ‘work’ is a relatively new concept (➔Chapter 5, ‘Work and Notation’). In music, the Western art-music canon was the first to develop, but during the twentieth century, canons of punk, jazz, rock and pop formed as their commercial and critical apparatus developed.
The twentieth century saw a huge shift in social attitudes towards gender and sexuality. The story of this shift can be told through a series of major landmarks – the suffragettes and universal suffrage, the postwar sexual revolution, Stonewall and gay liberation, second- and third-wave feminism – though social change was always both compromised and fitful, unevenly distributed and caught up in political compromise. Music both reflected and reinforced this complex pattern of social change. It served throughout the century as a powerful ‘technology of the self’ (Foucault 1988; DeNora 2000), allowing individuals to express personal and collective identities through music making or listening. These identities very often pivoted around gender and sexuality, such that musicians and audiences engaged with music that expressed their gendered and sexual identities and experiences. This took very different forms depending on the time, place and musical tradition in play; now out in the open and bold, now heavily coded or repressed. We will see this as we move through the chapter, which takes a broadly chronological look at intersections of music with gender and sexuality in the twentieth century.