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20th Century

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Music written since 1900 is called twentieth century music. There have been more types and styles of music written in the twentieth century then ever before. In the twentieth century, the only limit is the composer's imagination. This great variety of musical styles reflected the diversity of life during the early twentieth century. More people were free to choose where to live, how to earn a living, and how to spend their time. The car, airplane, telephone, phonograph, movies, and radio all made the world more accessible and expanded the range of experiences. Technological developments have also had an influence on the twentieth century music, especially electronic music.

Like all people, musicians have been affected by the political, economic, and social problems of twentieth century. Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933 had an especially dramatic impact on the lives and careers of musicians. Many composers left Europe for the United States. These refugees made huge contributions to musical culture.

One of the most significant changes in components of music that formed twentieth century music is rhythm. The modern music is full of complex rhythms and time signatures. The major reason for the increase of rhythms in twentieth century music is the development of the ballet. The second component of twentieth century music is melody. This new music moves away from the traditional melodic line that previous musical styles had developed. Modern composers have also rejected the traditional harmony structure by developing two new forms of harmony. The melody of twentieth century music is a constant or scattered line of notes with no direct tune or phrasing. This

type of melody contains large intervals and very dissonant sounds. One reason for rejecting the traditional melody is the goals of the composer. Twentieth century composers no longer have the musical goal of giving the listener a melodic line to hear and envision, but rather, a desire to create new sounds and ideas through their music. The use of multiple time signatures is another significant component of twentieth century music.

Achille-Claude Debussy is one of the most influential composers in the twentieth century. His works break away from the concepts of traditional form and harmony. He is also considered the most important composer of the piano. Debussy began piano lessons at a very young age. Debussy's progress was so remarkable that he was able to enter the Paris Conservatory at the age of eleven. He remained at the Conservatory for over ten years. He won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1884, and by 1887 had begun attending the meetings of the Symbolist poets in Montmarte. Debussy's earliest works are mostly pieces for voice or piano solo, including the very popular piano piece Clair de lune. In 1894 he composed the orchestral tone poem, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Starting from the year 1907 Debussy started to travel to England, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Russia to play the piano and conduct

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