Avant-garde music

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Avant-garde music is music that is considered to be at the forefront of experimentation or innovation in its field, with the term "avant-garde" implying a critique of existing aesthetic conventions, rejection of the status quo in favor of unique or original elements, and the idea of deliberately challenging or alienating audiences. [1]

Avant-garde works that are experimental or innovative

The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.

Status quo is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regard to social or political issues. In the sociological sense, it generally applies to maintain or change existing social structure and values. With regard to policy debate, the status quo refers to how conditions are at the time and how the affirmative team can solve these conditions for example "The countries are now trying to maintain a status quo with regards to their nuclear arsenal which will help them if the situation gets any worse."

Contents

Distinctions

Avant-garde music may be distinguished from experimental music by the way it adopts an extreme position within a certain tradition, whereas "experimental music" lies outside tradition. [2] In a historical sense, some musicologists use the term "avant-garde music" for the radical compositions that succeeded the death of Anton Webern in 1945, [3] [ verification needed ] but others disagree. For example, Ryan Minor writes that this period began with the work of Richard Wagner, [4] whereas Edward Lowinsky cites Josquin des Prez. [5] The term may also be used to refer to any post-1945 tendency of modernist music not definable as experimental music, though sometimes including a type of experimental music characterized by the rejection of tonality. [3] A commonly cited example of avant-garde music is John Cage's 4'33" (1952), [1] a piece which instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during its entire duration. [6]

Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilites radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.

Anton Webern Austrian composer and conductor

Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern was in the core of those in the circle of the Second Viennese School, including Ernst Krenek and Theodor W. Adorno. As an exponent of atonality and twelve-tone technique, Webern exerted influence on contemporaries Luigi Dallapiccola, Křenek, and even Schoenberg himself. As a tutor, Webern guided and variously influenced Arnold Elston, Frederick Dorian, Matty Niël, Fré Focke, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Philipp Herschkowitz, René Leibowitz, Humphrey Searle, Leopold Spinner, and Stefan Wolpe.

Although some modernist music is also avant-garde, a distinction can be made between the two categories. According to scholar Larry Sitsky, because the purpose of avant-garde music is necessarily political, social, and cultural critique, so that it challenges social and artistic values by provoking or goading audiences, composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, George Antheil and Claude Debussy may reasonably be considered to have been avant-gardists in their early works (which were understood as provocative, whether or not the composers intended them that way), but Sitsky does not consider the label appropriate for their later music. [7] For example, modernists of the post–World War II period, such as Milton Babbitt, Luciano Berio, Elliott Carter, György Ligeti, and Witold Lutosławski, never conceived their music for the purpose of goading an audience and cannot, therefore, be classified as avant-garde. Composers such as John Cage and Harry Partch, on the contrary, remained avant-gardists throughout their creative careers. [7]

Lazar "Larry" Sitsky is an Australian composer, pianist, and music educator and scholar. His long term legacy is still to be assessed, but through his work to date he has made a significant contribution to the Australian music tradition.

Igor Stravinsky Russian-born composer

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.

Richard Strauss German composer and orchestra director

Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; his tone poems, including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben, Symphonia Domestica, and An Alpine Symphony; and other instrumental works such as Metamorphosen and his Oboe Concerto. Strauss was also a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire.

Popular music, by definition, is designed for mass appeal. [8] The 1960s saw a wave of avant-garde experimentation in jazz, represented by artists such as Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. [9] [10] In the rock music of the 1970s, the "art" descriptor was generally understood to mean "aggressively avant-garde" or "pretentiously progressive". [11] Post-punk artists from the late 1970s rejected traditional rock sensibilities in favor of an avant-garde aesthetic. [12] In 1988 the writer Greg Tate described hip hop music as "the only avant-garde around, still delivering the shock of the new." [13] [ verification needed ]

Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

Ornette Coleman American jazz musician

Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, and composer. In the 1960s, he was one of the founders of free jazz, a term he invented for his album Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. His "Broadway Blues" has become a standard and has been cited as an important work in free jazz. His album Sound Grammar received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music.

See also

Contemporary/classical music

Aleatoric music music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed works realization is left to the determination of its performer(s)

Aleatoricmusic is 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 possibilities.

Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the logic or inclination of the musician(s) involved. The term can refer to both a technique and as a recognizable genre in its own right.

Glitch is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the 1990s. It has been described as a genre that adheres to an "aesthetic of failure," where the deliberate use of glitch-based audio media, and other sonic artifacts, is a central concern.

Popular/traditional music

Art pop is a loosely defined style of pop music influenced by pop art's integration of high and low culture, and which emphasizes the manipulation of signs, style, and gesture over personal expression. Art pop artists may be inspired by postmodern approaches or art theories as well as other forms of art, such as fashion, fine art, cinema, and avant-garde literature. They may deviate from traditional pop audiences and rock music conventions, instead exploring ideas such as pop's status as commercial art, notions of artifice and the self, and questions of historical authenticity.

Art punk is a category of punk artists who go beyond the genre's rudimentary garage rock and are considered more sophisticated than their peers. These groups generated punk's aesthetic of being simple, offensive, and free-spirited, in contrast to the angry, working-class audience generated by pub rock. In the late 1970s, the term was used as a pejorative for punk bands who were out of step with the genre's ideologies.

Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that generally reflects a challenging or avant-garde approach to rock, or which makes use of modernist, experimental, or unconventional elements. Art rock aspires to elevate rock from entertainment to an artistic statement, opting for a more experimental and conceptual outlook on music. Influences may be drawn from genres such as experimental rock, avant-garde music, classical music, and jazz.

Related Research Articles

No wave was a short-lived avant-garde music and art scene that emerged in the late 1970s in downtown New York City. Reacting against punk rock's use of recycled rock and roll clichés, no wave musicians instead experimented with noise, dissonance and atonality in addition to a variety of non-rock genres, including free jazz and funk, while often reflecting an abrasive, confrontational and nihilistic worldview. In the later years of the scene, it adopted a more playful, danceable aesthetic inspired by disco, early hip hop and world music sources.

Progressive music type of music that emphasizes form and stylistic variety

Progressive music is music that attempts to expand existing stylistic boundaries associated with specific genres of music. The word comes from the basic concept of "progress", which refers to development and growth by accumulation, and is often deployed in the context of distinct genres such as progressive country, progressive folk, progressive jazz, and progressive rock. Music that is deemed "progressive" usually synthesizes influences from various cultural domains, such as European art music, Celtic folk, West Indian, or African. It is rooted in the idea of a cultural alternative and may also be associated with auteur-stars and concept albums, considered traditional structures of the music industry.

Noise music is a category of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise within a musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound. Noise music includes a wide range of musical styles and sound-based creative practices that feature noise as a primary aspect.

Modernism (music) philosophicoesthetic stance, part of the modernist movement, underlying the change/development in musical language in the early 20th century, challenging/reinterpreting older music with new organization/approach to harmony, melody, timbre, and rhythm

In music, modernism is a philosophical and aesthetic stance underlying the period of change and development in musical language that occurred around the turn of the 20th century, a period of diverse reactions in challenging and reinterpreting older categories of music, innovations that led to new ways of organizing and approaching harmonic, melodic, sonic, and rhythmic aspects of music, and changes in aesthetic worldviews in close relation to the larger identifiable period of modernism in the arts of the time. The operative word most associated with it is "innovation". Its leading feature is a "linguistic plurality", which is to say that no one music genre ever assumed a dominant position.

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. While belief in musical progress or in the principle of innovation is not new or unique to modernism, such values are particularly important within modernist aesthetic stances.

Underground music musical genres beyond mainstream culture

Underground music comprises musical genres beyond mainstream culture. Any song that is not being legally commercialized is considered underground.

<i>On the Corner</i> album by Miles Davis

On the Corner is a studio album by American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Miles Davis. It was recorded in June and July 1972 and released on October 11 of the same year by Columbia Records. The album continued Davis's exploration of jazz fusion, bringing together funk rhythms with the influence of experimental composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman.

Post-punk is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with sources including electronic music and black styles like dub, funk, free jazz, and disco; novel recording and production techniques; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. Communities that produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines developed around these pioneering musical scenes, which coalesced in cities such as London, New York, Manchester, Melbourne, Sydney and San Francisco.

Experimental rock is a subgenre of rock music which pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique or which experiments with the basic elements of the genre. Artists aim to liberate and innovate, with some of the genre's distinguishing characteristics being improvisational performances, avant-garde influences, odd instrumentation, opaque lyrics, unorthodox structures and rhythms, and an underlying rejection of commercial aspirations.

<i>Vibing Up the Senile Man (Part One)</i> album by Alternative TV

Vibing Up the Senile Man is the second studio album by English rock band Alternative TV, released in March 1979 by record label Deptford Fun City. On this album, the band followed an even more experimental and avant-garde approach than on The Image Has Cracked (1978).

References

  1. 1 2 "Avant-Garde Music". AllMusic .
  2. David Nicholls, American Experimental Music, 1890–1940 (Cambridge [England] and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990): 318.
  3. 1 2 Paul Du Noyer (ed.), "Contemporary", in the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music: From Rock, Pop, Jazz, Blues and Hip Hop to Classical, Folk, World and More (London: Flame Tree, 2003), p. 272. ISBN   1-904041-70-1
  4. Ryan Minor, "Modernism", The Harvard Dictionary of Music , fourth edition, edited by Don Michael Randel (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003). ISBN   9780674011632.
  5. Edward Lowinsky, "The Musical Avant-Garde of the Renaissance; or, the Peril and Profit of Foresight", in Music in the Culture of the Renaissance and Other Essays, edited and with an introduction by Bonie J. Blackburn with forewords by Howard Mayer Brown and Ellen T. Harris, 2 vols. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989) 2:730–54, passim.
  6. Richard Kostelanetz, Conversing with John Cage (New York: Routledge, 2003):[ page needed ]. ISBN   0-415-93792-2.
  7. 1 2 Larry Sitsky, Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2002): xiii–xiv. ISBN   0-313-29689-8.
  8. "Popular music". collinsdictionary.com.
  9. Anon. Avant-Garde Jazz. AllMusic.com, n.d.
  10. Michael West (April 3, 2015). "In the year jazz went avant-garde, Ramsey Lewis went pop with a bang". The Washington Post .
  11. Murray, Noel (May 28, 2015). "60 minutes of music that sum up art-punk pioneers Wire". The A.V. Club .
  12. Bannister, Matthew (2007). White Boys, White Noise: Masculinities and 1980s Indie Guitar Rock. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 38. ISBN   978-0-7546-8803-7.
  13. Chang, Jeff (2005). Can't Stop, Won't Stop . New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 410. the only avant-garde around, still delivering the shock of the new (over recycled James Brown compost modernism like a bitch), and it's got a shockable bourgeoise, to boot

Further reading