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Caryl Churchill’s ‘Evil Women’
Short compositions in Modern and Postmodern style
Let’s play a game…
Round 2…
Here’s the Answer
 The first score was in Modern style, the second in Postmodern style
Modernism in Music
 In music, modernism is a philosophical and aesthetic stance underlying the period of
change and development in musical language that occurred between 1890 and
1930 (Metzer 3)
 Key words: Innovation, linguistic plurality (Metzer 3)
 "Inherent within musical modernism is the conviction that music is not a static phenomenon
defined by timeless truths and classical principles, but rather something which is intrinsically
historical and developmental” (Campell 37)
• Play
Modernism in Music
 Music that lacks a tonal center or
key. Atonality usually describes
compositions written from about 1908 to
the present day where a hierarchy of
pitches focusing on a single, central tone
is not used, and the notes of the
chromatic scale function independently
of one another (Kennedy)
 Example: Opening of Shoenberg’s
Klavierstück, Op. 11, No. 1
Modernism in Music
 “Free atonality” was first phase
 Example: Pierrot Lunaire (1912)
 Usually used in opera
 Post WW1, twelve-tone technique emerged
 Credited to Schoenberg
 Nazis considered it “Bolshevik” and banned it
 The term “Atonal” began as a pejorative term
Modernism in Music
 the use of more than one musical key
simultaneously. Includes Bitonality, the use
of only two different keys at the same
time, and Polyvalence, the use of more
than one harmonic function from the
same key at the same time (Kennedy)
 Example: the Petrushka Chord, the use of C
and F sharp major chords together first
used in Stravinsky's Petrushka
Modernism in Music
First seen in Lithuanian folk music (sutartines)
Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring widely credited with popularizing
 Some music theorists, including Milton Babbitt and Paul Hindemith have questioned whether
polytonality is a useful or meaningful notion or "viable auditory possibility" (Babbitt 163)
Postmodernism in Music
 Postmodern music is not a distinct musical style, but rather refers to music of the
postmodern era. The terms "postmodern", "postmodernism", "postmodernist", and
"postmodernity" are exasperating terms (Bertens 3). Indeed, postmodernists question the
tight definitions and categories of academic disciplines, which they regard simply as the
remnants of modernity (Rosenau 6–7).
 Similarly to Postmodernism in theatre, musical Postmodernism is best defined as a lack of definition
 Attempt to break from history by pretending it doesn’t exist
 This is a recognized logical loophole
Postmodernism in Music
 Frederic Jameson
 "the cultural dominant of the logic of late capitalism" (Jameson 46)
 through globalization, postmodern culture is tied inextricably with capitalism
 Theodor Adorno
 identified a trend toward the dissolution of "a culturally dominant set of values" (Beard and
Gloag 141), citing the commodification of all genres as beginning of the end of genre or value
distinctions in music (Adorno 293–95)
Postmodernism in Music
considers technology not only as a way to preserve
and transmit music but also as deeply implicated in
the production and essence of music
embraces contradictions
distrusts binary oppositions
includes fragmentations and discontinuities
encompasses pluralism and eclecticism
 challenges barriers between 'high' and 'low' styles
presents multiple meanings and multiple temporalities
 shows disdain for the often unquestioned value of
structural unity
 questions the mutual exclusivity of elitist and populist
locates meaning and even structure in listeners, more
than in scores, performances, or composers
 avoids totalizing forms (e.g., does not want entire pieces
to be tonal or serial or cast in a prescribed formal mold)
includes quotations of or references to music of many
traditions and cultures
considers music not as autonomous but as relevant to
cultural, social, and political contexts
Kramer’s 16 Characteristics (Kramer 16-17)
 is not simply a repudiation of modernism or its
continuation, but has aspects of both a break and an
 is, on some level and in some way, ironic
 does not respect boundaries between sonorities and
procedures of the past and of the present
Postmodernism in Music
Albright’s 3 main tendencies (Albright 12)
The use of non-musical instruments to create music
Highly improvisational, very few bricolage musicians are
formally trained as they feel training dampens creativity
The use of multiple styles and techniques within a single
Music in which some element of the composition is left to
chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work's
realization is left to the determination of its performer(s). The
term is most often associated with procedures in which the
chance element involves a relatively limited number of
How I Composed
 Functioned within atonality
 The Dice Method
 Chose notes specifically to create
 Sounds more ‘atypical’ than the
mathematically chosen Postmodern piece
 There is video of me composing with
this method; due to technical
difficulties it will be on my site by the
end of the day
One More Listen
One More Listen
Works Cited
 Bertens, Hans. 1995. The Idea of the Postmodern: A History. London and New York: Routledge.
 Rosenau, Pauline Marie. 1992. Post-Modernism and the Social Sciences: Insights,Inroads, and Intrusions.
Princeton: Princeton University Press.
 Jameson, Fredric. 1991. Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke University
 Beard, David, and Kenneth Gloag. 2005. Musicology: The Key Concepts. New York: Routledge.
 Adorno, Theodor W. 2002. "On The Fetish-Character in Music and the Regression of Listening". In his Essays on
Music, selected, with introductions, commentary, and notes by Richard Leppert; new translations by Susan H.
Gillespie. Berkeley, 288–317. Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press
 Kramer, Jonathan. 2002. "The Nature and Origins of Musical Postmodernism." In Postmodern
Music/Postmodern Thought, edited by Judy Lochhead and Joseph Aunder, 13–26. New York: Routledge.
Reprinted from Current Musicology no. 66 (Spring 1999): 7–20.
 Meyer, Leonard B. 1994. Music, the Arts, and Ideas: Patterns and Predictions in Twentieth-Century Culture,
second edition. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
 Sullivan, Henry W. 1995. The Beatles with Lacan: Rock ‘n’ Roll as Requiem for the Modern Age. Sociocriticism:
Literature, Society and History Series 4. New York: Lang.
Works Cited
Metzer, David Joel. 2009. Musical Modernism at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century. Music in the Twentieth Century 26. Cambridge and New York:
Cambridge University Press.
Morgan, Robert P. 1984. "Secret Languages: The Roots of Musical Modernism". Critical Inquiry 10, no. 3 (March): 442–61.
Dahlhaus, Carl. 1989. Nineteenth-Century Music. Translated by J. Bradford Robinson. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Campbell, Edward. 2010. Boulez, Music and Philosophy.
Tarasti, Eero. 1979. Myth and Music: A Semiotic Approach to the Aesthetics of Myth in Music, Especially that of Wagner, Sibelius and Stravinsky. Acta
Musicologica Fennica 11; Religion and Society 51. Helsinki: Suomen Musiikkitieteellinen Seura; The Hague: Mouton.
Kennedy, Michael. 1994. "Atonal." The Oxford Dictionary of Music. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.
Haydin, Berkat, and Stefan Esser. 2009 (Joseph Marx Society). Chandos, liner notes to "Joseph Marx: Orchestral Songs and Choral Works"
Du Noyer, Paul (ed.). 2003. "Contemporary", in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music: From Rock, Jazz, Blues and Hip Hop to Classical, Folk, World and
More, pp. 271–272. London: Flame Tree Publishing.
Jordania, Joseph (2006). Who Asked the First Question?. Logos.
Crawford, Richard (2001). America's Musical Life: A History. New York: W. W. Norton.
Casella, Alfred (1924). "Tone Problems of Today". Musical Quarterly 10:159–71.
Kostka, Stefan M., and Dorothy Payne (1995). Tonal Harmony, with an Introduction to Twentieth-Century Music, third edition, consulting editor in
music, Allan W. Schindler. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.
Babbitt, Milton (1949). "The String Quartets of Bartók". Musical Quarterly 35, no. 3 (July): 377–85.
Webern, Anton. 1963. The Path to the New Music, translated by Leo Black. Bryn Mawr. Pennsylvania: Theodore Presser; London: Universal Edition.