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Humanities LibreTexts

7.9: Glossary

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    54853
  • Atonal – Music that seeks to avoid both the traditional rules of harmony and the use of chords or scales that provide a tonal center

    Chromaticism – a style of composition which uses notes that are not a part of the predominant scale of a composition or one of its sections.

    Elektronische Musik - (German term meaning “electronic music”) Music composed by manipulating only electronically-produced sounds (not recorded sounds.)

    Expressionism – Style of composition where composers intentionally use atonality. Arnold Schoenberg devised a system of composing using twelve tones. His students Alban Berg and Anton Webern composed extensively in this twelve-tone style.

    Impressionism – music composed based on the composer’s impression of an object, concept, or event. This style included the use of chromaticism, whole-tone scales and chords, exotic scales, new chord progressions, and more complex rhythms

    Laptop orchestra – an ensemble formed by linking laptop computers and speakers together to generate live and/or recorded performances using both synthesized and pre-recorded sounds

    Musique Concrète – a type of electro-acoustic music that uses both electronically produced sounds (like synthesizers) and recorded natural sounds (like instruments, voices, and sounds from nature)

    Neoclassicism – A musical movement that arose in the twentieth century as a reaction against romanticism and which sought to recapture classical ideals like symmetry, order, and restraint. Stravinsky’s music for the ballet Pulcinella (1920) is a major early neoclassical composition.

    Polytonality – a compositional technique where two or more instruments or voices in different keys (tonal centers) perform together at the same time

    Primitivism – A musical movement that arose as a reaction against musical impressionism and which focused on the use of strong rhythmic pulse, distinct musical ideas, and a tonality based on one central tone as a unifying factor instead of a central key or chord progression.

    Serialism – composing music using a series of values assigned to musical elements such as pitch, duration, dynamics, and instrumentation. Arnold Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique is one of the most important examples of serialism.

    Synthesizers - instruments that electronically generate a wide variety of sounds. They can also modify electronic or naturally produced recorded sounds

    Through-Composed – Music that progresses without ever repeating a section

    Twelve-tone Technique - Compositional technique developed by Arnold Schoenberg that derives musical elements such as pitch, duration, dynamics, and instrumentation from a randomly produced series of the twelve tones of the chromatic scale (the 12-tone row)

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