Sunteți pe pagina 1din 3


I. The early half of the 20th century also gave rise to new musical styles, which were not quite as extreme as the
electronic, chance, and minimalist styles that arose later. These new styles were impressionism,
expressionism, neo-classicism, avant garde music, and modern nationalism.

Impressionism made use of the whole-tone scale. It also applied suggested, rather than depicted, reality. It created a
mood rather than a definite picture. It had a translucent and hazy texture; lacking a dominant-tonic relationship. It made
use of overlapping chords, with 4th, 5th, octaves, and 9th intervals, resulting in a non-traditional harmonic order and

Expressionism revealed the composers mind, instead of presenting an impression of the environment. It used atonality
and the twelve-tone scale, lacking stable and conventional harmonies. It served as a medium for expressing strong
emotions, such as anxiety, rage, and alienation.

Neo-classicism was a partial return to a classical form of writing music with carefully modulated dissonances. It made use
of a freer seven-note diatonic scale.

The avant garde style was associated with electronic music and dealt with the parameters or dimensions of sound in
space. It made use of variations of self-contained note groups to change musical continuity, and improvisation, with an
absence of traditional rules on harmony, melody, and rhythm.

Modern nationalism is a looser form of 20th century music development focused on nationalist composers and musical
innovators who sought to combine modern techniques with folk materials.

A number of outstanding composers of the 20th century each made their own distinctive mark on the contemporary
classical music styles that developed. Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel were the primary exponents of impressionism,
while Arnold Schoenberg was the primary exponent of expressionism, with the use of the twelve-tone scale and atonality.
Bela Bartok was a neo-classical, modern nationalist, and a primitivist composer who adopted Hungarian folk themes to
introduce rhythms with changing meters and heavy syncopation. Igor Stravinsky was also an expressionist and a neo-
classical composer. He incorporated nationalistic elements in his music, known for his skillful handling of materials and
his rhythmic inventiveness.

II. The new musical styles created by20th century classical composers were truly unique and innovative. They
experimented with the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, tempo, and timbre in daring ways never
attempted before. Some even made use of electronic devices such as synthesizers, tape recorders, amplifiers,
and the like to introduce and enhance sounds beyond those available with traditional instruments. Music that
uses the tape recorder is called musique concrete, or concrete music.

Among the resulting new styles were electronic music and chance music. Chance music refers to a style wherein the piece
always sounds different at every performance because of the random techniques of production, including the use of ring
modulators or natural elements that become a part of the music. These expanded the concept of music far beyond the
conventions of earlier periods, and challenged both the new composers and the listening public.

As the 20th century progressed, so did the innovations in musical styles as seen in the works of these composers. From
France, Edgard Vareses use of new instruments and electronic resources led to his being known as the Father of
Electronic Music and a description of him as The Stratospheric Colossus of Sound. From Germany, there was Karlheinz
Stockhausen, who further experimented with electronic music and musique concrete. Stockhausens electronic sounds
revealed the rich musical potential of modern technology. From the United States, there was John Cage with his truly
unconventional composition techniques. Cages works feature the widest array of sounds from the most inventive sources.

Impressionism was an art movement that emerged in the second half of the 19th century among a group of Paris-based
artists. The term precisely captured what this group of artists sought to represent in their works: the viewers momentary
impression of an image.


The European artists who were at the forefront of this movement continued using the basic qualities of the impressionists
before themthe vivid colors, heavy brush strokes, and true-to-life subjects. However, they expanded and experimented
with these in bold new ways, like using a geometric approach, fragmenting objects and distorting peoples faces and body
parts, and applying colors that were not necessarily realistic or natural.


In the early 1900s, there arose in the Western art world a movement that came to be known as expressionism.
Expressionist artists created works with more emotional force, rather than with realistic or natural images. To achieve
this, they distorted outlines, applied strong colors, and exaggerated forms. They worked more with their imagination and
feelings, rather than with what their eyes saw in the physical world.

Among the various styles that arose within the expressionist art movements were:

Neoprimitivism was an art style that incorporated elements from the native arts of the South Sea Islanders and the
wood carvings of African tribes which suddenly became popular at that time.
Fauvism was a style that used bold, vibrant colors and visual distortions. Its name was derived from les fauves (wild
beasts), referring to the group of French expressionist painters who painted in this style.
Dadaism was a style characterized by dream fantasies, memory images, and visual tricks and surprises. Although the
works appeared playful, the movement arose from the pain that a group of European artists felt after the suffering
brought by World War I.
Surrealism was a style that depicted an illogical, subconscious dream world beyond the logical, conscious, physical
one. Its name came from the term super realism, with its artworks clearly expressing a departure from realityas
though the artists were dreaming, seeing illusions, or experiencing an altered mental state.
Social realism expressed the artists role in social reform. Here, artists used their works to protest against the
injustices, inequalities, immorality, and ugliness of the human condition.


It had the same spirit of freedom of expression and openness that characterized life in the 20th century, but it differed
from expressionism in certain ways. While expressionism was emotional, abstractionism was logical and rational. It
involved analyzing, detaching, selecting, and simplifying.

Grouped under abstractionism are the following art styles:

Cubism derived from a three dimensional geometric figure composed of strictly measured lines, planes, and angles.
Cubist artworks were, therefore, a play of planes and angles on a flat surface.
Futurism began in Italy in the early 1900s. As the name implies, the futurists created art for a fast-paced, machine-
propelled age. They admired the motion, force, speed, and strength of mechanical forms.
Mechanical Style. As a result of the futurist movement, what became known as the mechanical style emerged. In
this style, basic forms such as planes, cones, spheres, and cylinders all fit together precisely and neatly in their
appointed places.
Nonobjectivism. The logical geometrical conclusion of abstractionism came in the style known as nonobjectivism.
From the very term non-object, works in this style did not make use of figures or even representations of figures.
They did not refer to recognizable objects or forms in the outside world.
The New York School

In the 1920s and 1930s, aspiring young American painters, sculptors, and writers sailed to Europe to expand their horizons.
But during the dark days of World War II, a reverse migration brought European scientists, architects, and artists to
American shores. New York, in particular, became a haven for the newly-arrived artists and their American counterparts.
The result was the establishment of what came to be known as The New York Schoolas opposed to The School of
Paris that had been very influential in Europe. The daring young artists in this movement succeeded in creating their own
synthesis of Europes cubist and surrealist styles. Their style came to be known as abstract expressionism.

Action Painting

Artists worked on huge canvases spread on the floor, splattering, squirting, and dribbling paint with (seemingly) no pre-
planned pattern or design in mind. The total effect is one of vitality, creativity, energy made visible.

Color Field Painting

In contrast to the vigorous gestures of the action painters, another group of artists who came to be known as color field
painters used different color saturations (purity, vividness, intensity) to create their desired effects. Some of their works
were huge fields of vibrant color.

After The New York School

By the early 1960s, the momentum of The New York School slowed down. In its place, a new crop of artists came on the
scene using lighter treatment and flashes of humor, even irreverence, in their artworks.

The movements they brought about have come to be called:

Neodadaism of the 1960s wanted to make reforms in traditional values. It also made use of commonplace, trivial, even
nonsensical objects. But unlike the angry, serious tone of the original dadaists, the neodadaists seemed to enjoy nonsense
for its own sake and simply wanted to laugh at the world. Their inspirations were the celebrities, advertisements,
billboards, and comic strips that were becoming commonplace at that time. Hence the term pop (from popular) art

Conceptual Art. Conceptualists questioned the idea of art as objects to be bought and sold. Instead, they brought their
artistic ideas to life temporarily, using such unusual materials as grease, blocks of ice, food, even just plain dirt.

Op Art

Another movement that emerged in the 1960s was optical art or op art. This was yet another experiment in visual
experiencea form of action painting, with the action taking place in the viewers eye. In op art, lines, spaces, and colors
were precisely planned and positioned to give the illusion of movement.

Contemporary Arts Forms:

The 20th century also saw the rise of new art forms aside from the traditional ones of painting and sculpture. Among these
were installation art and performance art.

Installation art is a contemporary art form that uses sculptural materials and other media to modify the way the viewer
experiences a particular space. Usually life size or sometimes even larger, installation art is not necessarily confined to
gallery spaces. It can be constructed or positioned in everyday public or private spaces, both indoor and outdoor.

Performance art is a form of modern art in which the actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a
particular time constitute the work. It can happen anywhere, at any time, or for any length of time.