History of Classical Music

20th Century Characteristics

(20th Century 1)

Overview of Classical Next (Instrumental)

Form
Composers experiment with "aleatoric" music, in which form and structure are determined by chance.
Harmony
Intricate harmonies paint beautiful pictures of sound. Modal, pentatonic, and twelve-tone scale are often used. Chords often have dissonant intervals, such as 2nds, 7ths, 9ths, and 11ths.
Keyboard Instruments
Electronic keyboards, synthesizers, and pianos are used.
Rhythm
Changing meters, polyrhythms (more than one rhythm used at the same time) are popular.
Style
Vague outlines of melody and rhythm, soft and colourful tones and shimmering effects are used. Dissonance, prepared instruments, new notation types and precise dynamic, phrasing and tempo indications are used. There is a variety of harmonies, moods, rhythms, and styles found in this period.


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