in the United States during the 1950s and 60s. In the canvases of painters such as Robert Motherwell (see illustration opposite) and Jackson Pollock, space, mass, and color were freed from the need to imitate objects in the real world.
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which drew its themes page 361 from modern urban life: machines, advertisements, comic strips, movies, commercial photography, and familiar objects connected with everyday living.
Contemporary musical style featuring the repetition of short melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic patterns with little variation. See also post-minimalism, spiritual minimalism, and process music.
Artists have explored ecological and natural issues through environmental art,
chance, or aleatoric
music that left decisions determining overall shape to the performer or to chance
chapter 62 key points
Contemporary music often calls for innovative and highly virtuosic instrumental or vocal effects that challenge performers to new technical levels.? Composer John Cage used a specially modified “prepared” piano to simulate the sound of the Javanese gamelan, an ensemble of metallic percussion instruments played in Indonesia (on the islands of Java and Bali, in particular).
? In his four books of madrigals, which treat the voice as a virtuosic instrument, composer George Crumb set texts by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.
Piano whose sound is altered by the insertion of various materials (metal, rubber, leather, and paper) between the strings; invented by John Cage.
an ensemble of metallic percussion instruments played in Indonesia (on the islands of Java and Bali, in particular).
Highly dissonant combination of pitches sounded simultaneously.
Musical interval smaller than a semitone (half step), prevalent in some non-Western musics and some twentieth-century music.
Wind instrument technique in which the player’s tongue is fluttered as though “rolling an R” while he or she blows into the instrument.
chapter 63 key points
The roots of American musical theater lie both in vaudeville shows and in European operetta.? Musicals feature romantic plots (some taken from novels), comic moments, appealing melodies, and large ensembles and dance numbers; the dialogue is mostly spoken.
? The “golden age” of the American musical, the mid-1900s, was characterized by composer-lyricist teams (George and Ira Gershwin, Lerner and Loewe, Rodgers and Hammerstein).? Leonard Bernstein, a versatile conductor and composer, wrote the music for West Side Story, which transports the Romeo and Juliet story into New York City and its gang warfare.
Genre of twentieth-century musical theater, especially popular in the United States and Great Britain; features spoken dialogue and a dramatic plot interspersed with songs, ensemble numbers, and dancing.
chapter 64 key points
Throughout the 1950s, the twelve-tone method gained prestige because of its perceived “scientific” nature.? Some composers who rejected twelve-tone methods but did not find older tonal approaches satisfying developed process music and a style eventually called minimalism.
? Minimalist works rely on consonant musical elements repeated and gradually changed over extended time frames: an example is American composer Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, for multiple guitars.
A compositional style in which a composer selects a simple musical idea and repeats it over and over, as it’s gradually changed or elaborated upon. See also minimalism.
record a musical idea on a loop of magnetic tape (a technology developed during the Second World War and made increasingly cost-effective through the 1950s) and play several copies of that loop simultaneously, slowly changing the tape speeds in order to combine the loops in various ways