Post-1900s Era (1930-2000)

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    John Philip Sousa

    Sousa was most famous for his marches. He also created operas, but they were not very good. He conducted "The President's Own" Marine Band
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    Charles Ives

    Ives was one of the most innovative and original composers of his time. Because of his childhood, his style was shaped to be quite unique compared to other composers. His style had limited atonality, polyrhythms and poly meters, and was polytonal.
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    Robert Nathaniel Dett

    Dett helped found the National Association of Negro Musicians. Like many other composers of this time, studied with Natalie Boulanger
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    Luigi Russolo

    Russolo was most known for creating his own instruments. He had six families of noises for future orchestras. These noises range from screams to explosions.
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    Florence Price

    Price was a prodigy child. She was playing at piano recitals as young as four. Her first composition was published when she was eleven. To avoid discrimination, Price had to present herself as Mexican. Price was also the first black female composer to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra.
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    Nadia Boulanger

    Nadia was one of the most influencial people of her time in the music world. She taught all 20th Century American composers (except George Gershwin). She would help them find their style and work with it.
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    Sergei Prokofiev

    Prokofiev was a russian composer, most famous for his composition "Peter and the Wolf".
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    Lili Boulanger

    Lili is Nadia's younger sister. She was a better composer and musician than Nadia, but sadly died young.
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    William Grant Still

    Still was not only the first black American composer to have a symphony and opera performed by a major ensemble, but he was also the first Black American to conduct a major symphony orchestra. He would blend African American idioms into traditional European genres; creating his own style.
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    Henry Cowell

    Cowell was a composer mainly drawn to non-Western music. He invented multiple new techniques for the piano and a different style of music.
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    George Gershwin

    Gershwin originally became well-known in the 1920s when he tesmed up with his older brother and wrote music for Broadway. They were the first ones to win a Pulitzer Prize with a musical comedy piece. Before coming back to the United States, Gershwin tried to study with Nadia Boulanger, but she rejected, as he wanted to replicate her style instead of finding his own.
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    Edward Kennedy Ellington

    Ellington was a major band leader in the swing era and in the big band era. Most of the works in his name were not composed by him. He often stole other people's work.
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    Aaron Copland

    Copland's style is mostly tonal, though he does have some atonal works. He studied with Nadia Boulanger. His style was inspired by sings of the Old West and by Mexican dance music. His music was vigorous, clean and transparent, and was filled with open intervals in the chords.
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    Elliot Carter

    Carter was seen as the leading figure of modernism in the 20th and 21st centuries. Along with winning two Pulitzer prizes (1960 for String quartet No.2 and 1973 String quartet No.3), he was the first composer to recieve the United States National Medal of Arts.
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    William Schuman

    Schuman's works often mirrored his personality. His pieces had a sharp sense of structure, line, and dynamism. He also added American Jazz elements into his music. His piece A Free Song won a Pulitzer Prize in 1943.
  • Tone Cluster

    This term describes groups of adjacent notes that were sounded with the fist, palm, or forearm. Charles Ives used these first, however it was Cowell who gave it the name.
  • The Tides of Manaunaun

    This is a piano piece written by Cowell. It shows how he used tone clusters in his works.
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    John Cage

    Cage studied with Shoenberg and Cowell. Cage is well known for his piece 4'33", a piece where the performers stay silent onstage.
  • The Art of Noises

    A piece composed by Russolo. The Art of Noises contains multiple instruments that Russolo invented himself.
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    Billie Holiday

    Holiday was one of the leading female jazz singers. She didn't have to deal with much racisim because she became famous quite quickly.
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    Billy Strayhorn

    Strayhorn "collaborated" on many pieces with Ellington for years. However, most of his work was stolen by him.
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    Leonard Bernstein

    Bernstein was a broadway composer. He was almost as big of an influencer as Nadia.
  • Jazz

    Though Jazz was around before 1920, this is when it started taking off. Composers like Alex North William Grant Still would incorporate this style into their works.
  • Blues

    The Blues were derived from Black American performance traditions that used bent pitches. This style goes back as far as the 1890s, but it got big in the 1920s. There are many genres of blues; for example, city blues, vaudeville blues, country blues, delta blues, and downhome blues.
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    The Harlem Renaissance

    The Harlem Renaissance was a movement that took place in the 1930s. This movement brought out lots of African American arts.
  • Scat Singing

    Scat singing is singing on nonsense syllables. It was used in many kinds of jazz and became very popular because of Louis Armstrong
  • Swing

    The swing era brought in new composers like Duke Ellington. Swing can be best described as highly improvisational New Orleans jazz.
  • Symphony No. 1 in E minor

    This was the first time a black female composer's work was performed by a major American orchestra. It was performed by the chicago symphony orchestra. This was written by Price.
  • Lieutenant Kijé

    This is a film score written by Prokofiev.
  • Music in Films

    Before music was specifaclly written for fils, directors would have scores that already exsist play along with the film. It wasn't until the film King Kong that music was written specifically for films. Max Steiner was the composer for the music in that film.
  • Porgy and Bess

    Porgy and Bess is an Opera written by Gershwin. This was the first opera with an all black cast. When performing this opera, the seats of the house were required to be integrated, even though this was a time of segregation.
  • Peter and the Wolf

    Peter and the Wolf is an orchestral piece written by Prokofiev. It was designed to bring children into the world of music. Each character is played by a different instrument throughout the work so that people can follow along with the story.
  • Prepared Piano

    Created by John Cage, a Prepared Piano is a piano that is temporarily altered with things like screws, mutes, rubber erasers, and other objects in the strings. It was first used in Cage's dance music for Bacchanale in 1938.
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    WWII had a great impact on the entire world. Jazz music was specifically helpful for American soldiers, as it was seen as a comfort and reminded them of home. WWII also brought struggle to composers, as it was hard to find a common style after the war ended.
  • The Unanswered Question

    This piece was written by Ives in 1906, but it wasn't published until 1940. In this piece the strings can be seen as almost just background sound, while the trumpet and woodwinds are the main focus. The trumpet plays the question multiple times and recieves an answer form the woodwinds, each response becoming more frustrated. The piece ends with the question being left unanswered
  • Bebop

    Bebop is the new "cool" jazz. It has faster tempos and dissononant solos.
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    Musique concrete

    This is a French concept and the new musical style that relied on sounds made by a natural source. Exapmles of this inclue instrument, animal, and voice. These sources were recorded and manioulated in various ways.
  • Appalachian Spring

    Appalachian Spring was a Ballet for Martha Graham that she and Copland worked on together. To bring more publicity to his work, Copland made an orchestral suite from this ballet so that more people could hear his work.
  • Symphony No. 3

    Symphony No. 3 was written by Charles Ives in 1910, however it wasn't until 1947 when it won a Pulitzer Prize.
  • "A black pierrot" from Songs of Separation

    This is an art song written by Still. It echos Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire". The text is by Langston Hughes
  • Rock 'n' Roll

    Rock 'n' Roll is a mix between jump blues and honky-tonk. The start date of this genre of music is debated on, but it was around the 50s
  • Adoration

    Adoration is a piece composed by Florence Price.
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    Civil Rights Movement

    Times in history like the Civil Rights Movement always have a positive effect on music. Times like these always bring people together musically. The Civil Rights Movement brought lots of attention to African American spirituals, gospel, and folk music.
  • Tape Recorder

    The tape recorder was often fiddled with by Cage. He used it to try and get away from Western Music
  • West Side Story

    West Side Story is a musical. The music to West Side Story was written by Berstein. The music is known for being quite complex. He was one of very few people to use tritones in his music fluently.
  • The Synthesizer

    The Synthesizer changed the film music industry after it was invented. It brought all kinds of new possibilities to music.