GCSE, Music, Edexcel, Area, of, Study, 2


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  • Created on: 26-08-10 20:19
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Music: AOS 2 ­ Changing Directions in Western Classical Music
Expressionism & Serialism
Expressionism believes that art should express inner feelings and emotions without being
restricted by conventional form. Expressionists try to convey the full range of human
emotions through atonal, which was less restrictive than traditional tonal. Characteristics
of expressionist music:
Very emotional ­ contrasting dynamics
Angular melodies
Atonal Harmonies (chromatic)
Always changing ­ no cadences, repetition or sequences
Serialism was a method invented by Schoenberg to give his atonal pieces structure. This
involved putting notes in a set order (12-tone system). He would take the twelve
chromatic notes and put them in an order to form the prime order. He then rearranged
the prime order:
Retrograde (notes are in reverse order).
Inverted (played `upside down' or the intervals are switched)
Retrograde Inversion (inverted notes `upside down')
Variation could be achieved by the use of cluster chords, verticalisation, creating motifs,
octave displacement and by putting `snippets' of the tone row into the bassline and
Minimalist music is music which just gradually changes ever so slightly. It is made up of
short repeated loops thus meaning that it doesn't have a melody of such. The harmony is
layered meaning they take a long time to change. It can often be recognised by its
hypnotic quality caused by so much repetition and subtle change.
The following techniques are used to change a loop:
Additive melody ­ notes are added on each repetition/a rest is put in place of
a note.
Metamorphosis ­ one note is changed each repetition. The changes
normally go in a circle so the pattern will end up where it started.
Phase shifting ­ where two voices will move out of sync with each other by
removing one note each loop.
Layering different-length patterns together ­ has a similar effect to phase
shifting as the patterns will come together and then move apart.

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Experimental Music
Experimental Music is music written by 20th Century composers in an attempt to rewrite
and completely ignore old rules of music. It has the following features:
Aleatoricism/music left to chance ­ the composer only outlines initial ideas
which the performers then interpret differently each performance.
Graphic scores ­ use shapes and pictures instead of traditional notation.
Performers interpret the images and play music to match their interpretation.
Theatrical music ­ involving dance and costumes etc. to enhance the
performance.…read more


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