- Paperback: 337 pages
- Publisher: Pearson; 4 edition (October 5, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0130959413
- ISBN-13: 978-0130959416
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Twentieth Century Music: An Introduction (4th Edition) 4th Edition
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From the Publisher
This comprehensive exploration of modern music deals primarily with the music itself and musical ideas. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
Offering complete, accurate coverage in a tightly condensed, simple format, this comprehensive exploration of modern music (to 1998) deals primarily with the music itself and musical ideas. It puts the whole century in a unified concept, helping readers make sense out of the heterogeneity. It explains the overall development of 20th century music in relation to the past and to two big cycles of contemporary music; and encompasses classical and experimental traditions as well as popular elements, media, multi-media, and theater. Twentieth-Century Music and the Past. THE BREAKDOWN OF TRADITIONAL TONALITY. The Sources. The Revolution: Paris and Vienna. THE NEW TONALITIES. Stravinsky and Neo-Classicism. Neo-Classicism and Neo-Tonality in France and Outside of France. National Styles. Musical Theater. ATONALITY AND TWELVE-TONE MUSIC. The Viennese School. The Diffusion of Twelve-Tone Music. THE AVANT GARDE. Before World War II. Technological Culture and Electronic Music. Ultra-Rationality and Serialism. Anti-Rationality and Aleatory. The New Performed Music: The United States. Post-Serialism: The New Performance Practice in Europe. POST-MODERNISM. Beyond Modern Music. Back to Tonality. Pop as Culture. Media and Theater. Music Examples. For courses anyone interested in 20th Century Music, Modern Music, or the History of Music.
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My problem with the book is that it's not an introduction. Rather, it's a history of musical ideas that will make little sense without already having a firm grasp of the music and the period. The writing style is fluffy and abstract; he prefers long, windy sentences that are full of vague descriptions and impressions; it's almost never concise; and after reading a section, you're often left wondering what it was all about.
For most students, it won't be a very practical book since he doesn't give a clear sense of the timeline (it's only roughly chronological), doesn't tell us which works are most significant (he seems to write about whatever "inspires" him), does not discuss composer biographies at all, and doesn't even give musical examples in the body of the text (only in the appendix). His argument against giving musical examples is that they would make the book too intimidating for the beginner. This is absurd: first, the book is already intellectually daunting and incomprehensible to somebody who hasn't already studied the period and done some substantial listening; second, not having musical examples makes the whole thing far too abstract. With some concrete examples, it might actually be possible to evaluate some of his never-ending, theoretical musings.
Overall, an impressive achievement, but undisciplined, long-winded, and inappropriate as an introduction to the period. Go with Morgan's survey as a start.