A history of Western music.

J. Peter Burkholder. Indiana University. 
Donald Jay Grout. Late of Cornell University. 
Claude V. Palisca. Late of Yale University. 
Copyright 2010 by W.W. Norton & Company – New York, London. 
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Postwar Crosscurrents
The central theme of Western music history since the
mid -nineteenth century is a growing pluralism. With
each generation, new popular traditions emerged in
response to changes in society, and the heirs to the
classical tradition created more diverse styles of art
music at an ever increasing rate. This process
accelerated in the twenty-five years after the end of World War II,
propelled by an economic boom in the United States and most of
western Europe, by ever more rapid communications, and by a
desire among younger generations to explore new possibilities.
Musicians developed new styles, trends, and traditions, including
forms of popular music aimed principally at young people. such as
rock and roll and its offshoots; styles of jazz, from bebop tofree
jazz, that demanded more concentrated listening; applications of
indeterminacy and chance in composition; increasingly complex
approaches to serial composition; music built of sound itself that
employed new instruments, electronic music, or new sounds on
orchestral instruments; and pieces based on quotation and
collage of past music. In Europe, new music was often supported
by governments, through radio stations and institutes, while in
North America colleges and universities became major patrons of
music, training young performers and music educators and
supporting composers, new music ensembles, wind ensembles,
and jazz programs.
The Cold \far and the Splinterin!( Tradition
The postwar expansion was achieved bv generations \\-ho had suffered
through the Depression and the most global and destructive war the \\orld had
ever seen. Germany. Italy. and Japan were defeated by the Allies. but at great
cost. Millions were dead: soldiers killed in action. civilians in bombing raids.
and Jews and other victims in the Nazi death camps. Mucb of Europe lay in
ruins. and many of the buildings. artworks. and musical scores Europeans had
created over the centuries were destroyed. Bv dropping- atomic bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. the United States forced Japan to capitulate but
inaugurated the atomic age. and in response the Soviet Union. Britain.
France. and other nations developed their own nuclear arsenals. The horrors
of war. the Holocaust. and nuclear weapons provoked a ,,-ide range of cult ural
reactions. from t he French existent ialist I it erature of Jean - Paul Sartrc and
Albert Camus to a growing fashion for horror and science fiction films.
At war's end. the Soviet Union occupied most of eastern Europe. By 1948. it Til (' (,'/1111 Wu,.
reabsorbed Lithuania. Latvia. and Estonia. which were independent between
the wars. and installed communist regimes under its control in Poland.
Czechoslovakia. Hungary. Romania. and Bulgaria. Communist governments
also took power in Yugoslavia. Albania. and China. Western nations
responded with attempts to contain the expansion of communism. Interna-
tional relations for the next two g'enerations were framed bv the political con-
!liet. known as the Cold War. between the United States and the Soviet Union
and their respective allies. Figure 3,5.1 shO\\s the map of postwar Europe.
divided between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-an alliance of the
United States. Canada. and European democracies--and the Soviet Union's
parallel organization. the Warsaw Pact. Symbolic of the conflict was the divi-
sian of Germany between a democratic. pro-Western government in West
Germany and a communist government in East Germany.
New international institutions such as the United Nations. founded in
1945. furthered cooperation but could not defuse all tensions. At times the
Cold War heated up. as in the Korean War (1950-,53). Cuban missile crisis
( 1 9 6 ~ ) . and Vietnam War (1954-75)' It also played out in other IYpes of com-
petition. such as the race into space. won by the United States with the first
moon landing in 1969. Music performance and composition. along \\ith
Olympic sports. chess. and other cultural fields. were used bv both sides as
arenas for competition.
The United States. least damaged bv the war among the active participants. fC()/lIIlIl [(.
enjoyed rapid economic growth. Technological innovations and expanded C.l"IWIl'WIl
manufacturing capacity boosted productivitv. resulting in historically high
meomes for factory and office workers that lifted most Americans into the
middle class. Returning soldiers created both a baby boom and a housing
boom. raising consumer demand. The G.!. Bill paid for veterans to go to col-
lege. producing a tremendous expansion of colleges and universities and of


H E [) /
I f'
cl' (,
hgu re I, Europe
during the Cold War
(1945-9 1),
Crratrr access
to music
the numbers of citizens with university degrees, which further fueled eco-
nomic growth, The number of families owning their own homes soared, and
they bought cars, furniture, household appliances, and other goods at growing
rates. Western Europe and Japan underwent similar economic growth. aided
by investments from the United States. Cooperation through the Common
Market and NATO wove western Europe together, making old nationalist ten-
sions increasingly obsolete.
The expansion of higher education in North America and Europe was
linked with growing access to the arts, and attendance at museums, concerts,
and other cultural venues increased along with government and private sup-
port. Television and home stereo systems increasingly brought entertainment
and music into the home. The 78-rpm records (disks rotating 78 times per
minute) that were the mainstay of recordings before the war were replaced by
long-playing records (LPs). which could accommodate more than twenty
minutes of music per side, and 45-rpm "singles" became the main medium
for popular songs. The invention of the transistor led to miniature, portable
radios that could go anywhere. bringing broadcast music into cars and the
outdoors. "Disc jockeys" played recordings of popular songs on the radio,
replacing most of the live-music shows of previous decades. Tape recorders,
Popular Music
invented during the 1930s and widely available from the 1950S on, improved
the sound ofrecorded music, made electronic music possible, and put into the
hands of individuals the tools for preserving and manipulating sounds.
Starting with British India in 1947, European colonies throughout Asia and In d 1'1)('1](1 en CI'
Mrica won independence and emerged as new nations. The growing political (11111 ci\'il rip,hl.'
and economic significance of Asia and Africa encouraged cultural exchanges,
leading to a rising interest in music ofthe non-Western world in the West and
in American popular music throughout the world. The nonviolent strategies
Mohandas Gandhi developed to win independence for India were adopted by
Martin Luther King Jr. and others in the effort to win equal civil rights for
Mrican Americans, a movement in which music played a significant role as
unifier and inspiration. The Civil Rights movement in turn inspired others in
the 1960s and 1970s, from student organizations and protests against the
Vietnam War to the women's and gay liberation movements.
The victory over fascism. the economic boom. new technologies, and the '\II1"i('(1/ Il/lim/ism
winds of freedom helped to inspire a period of unprecedented experimenta-
tion and diversification in music. Popular music splintered into traditions for
different regions. ethnicities. affinity groups, and ages, each owing something
to earlier popular song, blues. jazz, or swing while forging a distinctive iden-
tity. Composers of art music went in numerous directions, sharing less com-
mon ground as they explored new possibilities. Urban centers, mass media,
and colleges and universities allowed musicians to find a small but devoted
audience that would support speeialized types of music, creating niche mar-
kets in which everything from early music groups to avant-garde rock bands
could thrive. Musicians, critics, and listeners engaged in strident debates
about music: whether rock music was a bad innuence on the young or a source
of freedom, whether jazz should hold to its t rad itions or search out new meth-
ods, whether c:1assical composers should seek to appeal to a broad public or
pursue a hermetic ideal in isolation. Among the dizzying number and variety
of trends in this period, this chapter will describe some of the most important
and distinctive.
In the interwar years, popular music in the United States was c:1osely allied
to Broadway musicals and to jazz. But after the war, musicians took these tra-
ditions in separate directions.
Economic growth in the postwar years gave young people greater leisure
time and more disposable income. For the first time, teenagers became sig-
nificant for the marketing industry, and clothing. cosmetics, magazines.
movies, and entertainment were designed for and marketed to them. Increas-
ingly, young people had their own radios and record players, and they listened
to and bought recordings of music that reflected their own tastes. Record
companies responded by marketing specific kinds of music to the teen and
young adult market that became known as pop music. Some types of music,
like rock and roll, united most teenagers in the late 1950S and early 19
throllp:h lIlusic
creating a "generation gap" between them and older generations. But as pop-
ular music continued to split into niche markets, people of all ages found that
the music they listened to marked their identity as strongly as the clothes they
wore and the ways they behaved. Each type of music had its own stars, fans.
and radio programs, and the popularity of songs in each category was tracked
on charts, weekly rankings by sales of 45 -rpm singles.
One tradition, associated primarily with white southerners, was country
music (also called country-and-western), a type of popular music with folk-
music roots that began between the wars, spread through radio shows and
recordings, and grew in popularity after World War II. As suggested by the
painting in Figure country music was a blend of many sources: the hill-
country music of the southeast, based on traditional Anglo-American ballads
and fiddle tunes; western cowboy songs and styles popularized by Gene Autry
and other movie cowboys; popular songs of the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries; blues, banjo music, and other African -American traditions; big-
/,(,'1),:,;: The Sources of Country Music (1975). mural by Thomas Hart Benton for the
Country Music Hall 0/ Fame and Museum in Nashville. Tennessee. The sources depicted
include (counter-clockwisefrom lower left) traditionalAnglo-Amerimn ballads accompa-
nied by Appalachian dulcimer. fiddle tunes played for dancing. cowboy songs with guitar
accompaniment, African-American song and banjo traditions, popular songs (represented
by' the shows in the distant steamboat). traveling songs (represented by the train). and
gospel songs and hymns. (Cuurtesvuf'Cnuntr), Music Hall ofTame@llnd Museum)
Popular Music
band swing; and gospel songs. Such a combination of traditions across social
and ethnic lines is typically American. Country music was valued for its energy.
its sincere sentiments, its witty wordplay (part of its heritage from Tin Pan
Alley), and its ability to articulate the experience of rural and working-class
Americans in a rapidly changing world.
Typically country music centers on a singer strumming or picking a guitar
accompaniment, often joined by others singing in close harmony or backed by
a band dominated by fiddles and guitars (eventually electric and pedal steel
guitars). Several distinctive styles developed. includingwestem swing, honky-
tonk, and bluegrass. Two stars of postwar country music, Han k Williams
1953) and Johnny Cash reached both country and mainstream
audiences. N ashvi Ile became the center of country music in part because of
important venues such as the Grand or Opry. made famous through radio and
later television broadcasts. By the 1970s, there were country music stations all
over the United States. and country became a nationwide style with continuing
regional. racial. and class associations. much as New Orleans jazz had done
fifty years earlier.
The war and postwar years saw a continuation of the Creat Migration or fJcclr/c IIluc.,
African Americans to northern cities. seeking greater economic opportuni-
ties. As bluesmen moved ["rom the rural south to the urban north, many began
to play electric guitars and developed a new style known as elecl.ric blnes.
Chicago was an important center for the development of electric hlues. per-
sonified by the music or Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield. I<)IS-I<)s:n.
In 1949. Jerry Wexler. a reporter ror thc record industry journal Ballward. nit II/III/ (1m/Ii/III'S
coined the term "rhythm and blues" to rcplace "'race music" as the name ror
the magazine's weekly chart or music marketed chiefly to African Americans.
Soon rhythm (llld hlnes (or R&B) was being used as the name 0[" a new sound
that developed in urban areas in the years just after World War II. Rhythm-
and-hlues groups typically included a vocalist or vocal quartet. a piano or
organ. electric guitar. bass. and (hums. and they performed mostly new songs
built on twelve-bar hlues or thirty two-bar popular song rormulas. Rhythm
and hlues is distinguished from traditional hlues hy insistent rhythm. with
emphasis on the second and fourth beats-called the back beats-in meter;
whining electric guitar; and a repetitive amplified hass line.
At first intended for an African-American audience, rhythm and hlues
reached white teenagers through radio and recordings. The teens werc
attracted to the sexual themes of the lyrics. the strong rhythms. and the inten-
sity of the performances. Recognizing an opportunity. record companies pro-
duced covers, record ings by white singers of songs al ready popular in
performances hy black singers. For example. Honnd Dog. a twelve- bar hlues hy
tbe white songwriting duo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. was a hit for hlack
blues-singer Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton in hut sold
millions more copies in the 1956 recording by Elvis Presley (1935-1977). In a
time when African Americans were struggling for equal rights. the popularity
of a hlack urban style of music among white teenagers was a force for change.
Rock and roll Alan Freed. a popular radio disc jockey in Cleveland. is credited with coin-
ing rock and roll as a name for a new style that blended black and white tra-
ditions of popular music. Rock and roll combined the unrelenting beat of
rhythm and blues with the milder guitar background of country music and
drew on numerous elements in both traditions. from rhythm to timbre. The
instrumentation consisted of amplified or electric guitars for both rhythm
and melody. backed by electric bass and drums and sometimes augmented by
other instruments. Song forms drew on Tin Pan Alley as well as blues. and
rhythms and vocal styles encompassed everything from boogie-woogie to
country twangs and gospel shouts. The words. most often concerned with love
or sex. were often delivered in a raucous. sometimes wailing voice. although
there were also gentle romantic ballads sung in a deliberately subdued mode.
Both the words and the varied styles spoke directly to teens' experiences. cre-
ating a close identification between the listeners and their music.
Rock and roll was launched nationally in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle
with the hit song Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets. The first
mega -star was Elvis Presley. who enjoyed phenomenal success with his hip-
swiveling blend of country and rhythm and blues. By 196o. rock and
soon simply called rock-was being heard all over the world. especially in
English -speaking areas. and was outselling every other kind of music. Black
rock-and -roll singer-songwriter Chuck Berry (b caught the bravado of
the young displacing their elders in his 1956 hit Roll Over. Beethoven: "Roll
over. Beethoven. and dig these rhythm and blues."
Th e Reo tl es By the early 1960s. many of rock' s earliest stars had fallen off the pop charts.
Into the void stepped the Beatles. a quartet from LiverpooL England. com-
posed of two creative singer-songwriters. John Lennon and
Paul McCartney (b. guitarist and songwriter George Harrison (1943-
and drummer Ringo Starr (b. 1940)' "Beatlemania." already taking
hold in the United Kingdom in 1963. reached the United States in February
1964 when the Beatles began an American tour, shown in Figure 35.3. After a
few years of touring. the Beatles began devoting their energy to studio
recordings, experimenting with techniques impossible to produce in a live
setting. The resulting albums. especially Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club
Band (1967). embraced a wide variety of musical styles, from British music
hall songs to Indian sitar music. in songs whose level of interest to connois-
seurs began to rival that of classical music. Their example encouraged other
rock bands to experiment with recording technology and to create rock-
based music of depth.
Find hmnchec; 0111 The Beatles' 1964 American tour began the "British Invasion," an influx
into NorthAmerica of British bands such as the Rolling Stones. the Kinks. the
Animals, the Who. and Cream. Many of these bands were blues- based. influ-
enced by African -American bluesmen such as Robert Johnson. The emphasis
on blues and an increasing focus on electric guitar solos gave rock a harder
edge. Guitar virtuosos such as Jimi Hendrix and Cream's Eric
Clapton (b. 1945) became for the electric guitar what Paganini and Liszt were
Popular Music
for thc nineteenth-century violin and piano. Hendrix's stunning solo on The
Star-Spangled Banner in front of an audience 01' half a million people at the
outdoor rock festival Woodstock (ly6y) was both a protest against knee-jerk
patriotism and an assertion of virtuosic prowess. As bands sought an individ-
ual sound. they developed many new styles within the broad tradition of rock:
the California surf sty Ie of the Beach Boys; St eppcnwoH' s hea.v7 met(rl style: the
hard roeA; of Led Zeppelin and Acrosmith; the acid rock or PS7chcdelic roeA: of
Jefferson Airplane; and the avant-go,l'de rock of Frank Zappa. Music and lyrics
were youth-oriented, often expressing opposition to thc prevailing political
culture or social expectations.
British rock group the
Beatles pel.form ing on
the television series
'The Ed Sullivan
Show" on February 9.
1964. Already well-
known in England. the
Beatles became a
worldwide cultural
phenomenon. Their
appearance onAmeri-
can television ushered
in what became known
as Beal.lemania. (Hul-
tOil Archi.ve/Cett.y Images)
In the postwar decCldes, rising interest in American l'olk songs led to a new rill/,· (111(/
kind of popular music that drew on folk traditions. Croups like thc Weavers I)m/('.,/ filII.,/('
and Peter, Paul, and Mary performed gcnuine folk songs alongside new songs
in similar styles. Although the latter by definition were popular songs (newly
composed by known authors and sold through sheet music and recordings)
rather than folk songs (which have unknown origins and are passed down
orally), the whole tradition became known asJolk music. In opposition to the
increasing sophistication and professionalism of most other popular music,
folk music was deliberately simple, featuring one or more singers with guitar
or banjo accompaniment, and often the audience was encouraged to join
in the singing.
Like rock and roll, folk music was an important musical voice for express-
ing identity and ideology. Since the nineteenth century, singer-songwriters
had adapted folk. popular, and hymn tunes to political ends by writing new
texts in support of labor unions and other social causes. Many such songs were
created for the Civil Rights movement, including the movement's anthem We
Shall Overcome, adapted from a hymn. In the 1940S and 1950s, Woody Guthrie
and Pete Seeger (b. 1919)' stepson
of Ruth Crawford Seeger. were especially
prominent as singers and songwriters of folk
and protest songs.
In the 1960s, the struggles for civil rights and
against the Vietnam War galvanized younger
musicians such as Joan Baez (b. 1941) and Bob
Dylan (b. 1941) who voiced the protests of their
generation in their songs. Dylan's songs Elowin'
in the Wind and The Times They Are A
Changin' (1963) combined traditional folk
styles with simple guitar harmonies, a rough
voice, blues harmonica, and a keen sense of
poetry. By the mid-sixties, Dylan was using
electric guitar in a blend of folk and rock tradi-
tions. His complex lyrics, marked by unusual
rhymes, puns, alliteration, and apparently deep
or hidden meanings, captivated a generation
and inspired many other pop artists.
rlpl n' Ray- Charles shown performing at the piano.
The leading African -American tradition of
popular music in the 1960s was soul, a descen-
dant of rhythm and blues in which the intense
expression, melismas, and ecstatic vocalizations
of gospel singing were brought over to songs on
love, sex, and other secular subjects. Among the
in a photogmph taken around 1960_ (BettmannICoriJis)
Tff and 801811
leading exponents were singer- songwriter Ray Charles shown in
Figure 35.4, who popularized the new trend from the mid-1950s on; James
Brown the "King of Soul" ; Otis Redding (1941-1967); and Aretha
Franklin (b. Soul became closely associated with the struggle for
African-American equality through Brown's Say It Loud-I'm Black and I'm
Proud (1968) and Franklin's recording of Redding's Respect (1967).
The sounds of Motown-a Detroit - based record company founded and
owned by African -American entrepreneur Berry Gordy (b.
the soul charts of the 1960s and often crossed over to top the pop charts as
well. Gordy's intention was to create popular music that would appeal to both
black and white audiences. In - house songwriting teams and studio musicians
produced a consistent, groomed sound for groups like Smokey Robinson
and the Miracles, the Supremes, the Temptations, the Four Tops. and Martha
and the Vandellas. Other significant performer-composers who got their start
at Motown include Marvin Gaye (1939-1984), Stevie Wonder (b. 1950), and
Michael Jackson (b. 1958).
Latino-Americans produced their own styles of music, drawing on tradi-
tions from Central or Latin America. In Texas and the southwestern United
States. Tex- Mex combined Mexican mariachi music with American countn-
music. In New York City and Puerto Rico, a distinctive type of dance music
called salsa emerged in the 1960s. Salsa is a mix of Cuban dance styles with
jazz. rock, and Puerto Rican musical elements. A typical salsa ensemble
includes ten to fourteen members on vocals, piano, Cuban percussion (such
Broadway and Film Music:
as timbales, daves, and conga drums), bass, and brass. Each instrument plays
a distinctive rhythm, forming a driving dance beat of interlocking, polyrhyth-
mie ostinatos. Championed by Tito Puente and other perform-
ers' salsa embodied the rich ethnic mix of New York's music scene and offered
the Puerto Rican immigrant community a distinct musical identity.
The diversity of popular traditions shows the pluralism of modern society Plu mliwl
but also its common threads. Although identified with a particular group of onri hdJriris
people, each of these traditions represents a blend of elements from several
sources, including common roots in prewar popular song, jazz, and blues.
Popular music in other nations likewise blended local and regional traditions
with elements absorbed from American popular styles. Although the tradi-
tional music of a culture or region once helped provide a sense of common
identity for all generations, the emergence of new styles of popular music in
each region reflected and reinforced tensions between older and younger
generations and between rural and urban populations.
Broadway musicals maintained their traditions after World War II. mostly
separa1e from trends in popular music. The emphasis on integrated musicals
that began with Show Boat-- in which all aspects of the production support the
plot-continued. As in the past, most Broadway shows were collaborations,
and the great sonhrwritingteams produced hit tunes well into the 196m;, Com-
poser Riehard Rodgers initially collaborated with lyricist Lorenz
Hart (1895-1943) and later with Oscar II (1895-1960), and
Frederick Loewe (1904-1988) wrote music forthe books and lyrics of Ala n .lay
Lerner (191H-1986). Irving Berlin was still active, producing classics such as
Annie Get YOl-Lr Gun (1946) and Call Me M(ulam (1950), and Cole Porter had one
oIhis biggest hits with Kiss Me. Kate (1948), based on Shakespeare's The Tam-
Ing of" the Shrew. Successful musicals tended to find their way to Hollywood
films within a few years and were also quickly disseminated to the public
through record ings and productions by touring, amateur. and, in later years,
high school theater groups.
Rodgers and Hammerstein produced some of Broadway's best-loved
shows, including Oklahoma! (1943), Carou.sel (1945), South PacifLc (1949), The
King and I (1%1), and The Sound oj"Music (1959). Shown in Fi6JUre 35.5, their
first collaboration, Oklahoma!, not only enjoyed a record - breaking run of
over two 1housand performances but also marked a pivotal moment in the
development ofthe integrated musical. Set in the Oklahoma territory around
1900, the story is richly textured, filled with both dramatic and comedic sub-
plots. The characters are developed not only through dialogue but also
through song. Dance, choreographed by famed dancer Agnes de Mille, also
played a crucial dramatic role. The story's emphasis on American folk history
and the simple pleasures of rural life appealed gTeatly to Americans during
war time and the early postwar years.
Leonard Bernstein (1910-199°) was a major presence both on Broadway
\1 u :, i ("(l Is
Hodper.'.; unci
Ilu m lIlers/ei n
Leunard Bems/eln
figme 35-S: The original Broadway castfrom the 1943
musical production of Oklahoma!. the first collaboration
between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
and in classical music. Initially known as a
classical composer, he became an overnight
celebrity in 1944 after brilliantly conducting
the New York Philharmonic as a last-minute
replacement. That same year, his Broadway
musical On the Town opened for a run of 463
performances. In addition to his career as a
conductor and composer of symphonies and
vocal music, Bernstein enjoyed enormous
success with his musical West Side Story (1957).
with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (b. 193o) and
book by Arthur Laurents. Set in gang-ridden
New York City of the 1950s, West Side StOT)," is a
retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and juliet,
substituting rival gangs for the warring fami-
lies of the original. The setting provided Bern-
stein with rich opportunities for including a
variety of musical styles, including Afro-
Caribbean dance styles, jazz, and soaring
melodies in Tin Pan Alley MBA formulas.
In the 1960s, Broadway musicals diversi-
fied their subject matter and therefore
adapted styles from other traditions. Jerry
Bock evoked Jewish folk music for Fiddler on
the Roof (1964), set in a Russian Jewish village, and Galt MacDermot's Hair
(1967), a picture of urban hippie life, used a rock band and emulated Motown,
acid rock, and folk music alongside traditional Broadway styles.
Film music also diversified in the postwar years, as composers chose styles
and sounds that were appropriate to the subject and mood. Miklos Rozsa
(19°7-1995) developed several different styles, from an angular, contrapun-
tal, yet tonal modernism that helped to define the movie genre of film noirto a
mock-ancient style for historical epics such as Ben Hur (1959). The score toA
Streetcar Named Desire (1951) by Alex North (1910-1991) popularized the use of
jazz to represent urban settings, sexual situations, and social ills from alco-
holism to crime. Leonard Bernstein used a dissonant modernist style in his
score for On the Wate1ront (1954), and others adopted atonal and serial music
where their tense emotional qualities were appropriate. Bernard Herrmann
(l911-1975) became famous for his scores to Orson Welles's Citizen Kane
(1941) and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and
Psycho (1960), whose dissonant tonal language drew on Ives, Berg, Hin-
demith, and other modernists. Westerns often featured music in the diatonic
Americanist style championed by Copland in his ballets and film scores. but
the Italian composer Ennio Morricone (b. 1 9 ~ 8 ) created a new, pop-
influenced style for his Western scores, including The Good, the Bad and the
Ugly (1967). National and ethnic traditions helped to establish place and atmo-
Broadway and Film Musil'
Olivier Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time 1940-41
Rodgers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma! 1943
Benjamin Britten, Peter Grimes 1944-45
Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Anthropology 1945
john Cage, Sonatas and Interludes 1946-48
Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool 1949-50
Morten Feldman, Projection I 1950
First piece of musique concrete 1950
Cage, Music of Changes 1951
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kreuzspiel 1951
Samuel Barber, Hermit Songs 1952-53
Pierre Boulez, Le marteau sans maitre 1953-55
Bill Haley and the Comets, Rock Around 1955
the Clock
Bernard Herrmann, film score to Psycho 1960
Ornette Coleman, Free Jazz 1960
Krzysztof Penderecki, Threnody 1960
Bob Dylan, Blowin'in the Wind 1962
The Beatles' first American tour 1964
Milton Babbitt, Philomel 1964
Luciano Berio, Sequenza III 1965-66
Moog and Buchla synthesizers introduced 1966
Aretha Franklin records Respect 1967
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts 1967
Club Band
Karel Husa, Music for Prague 1968
Half a million people attend Woodstock 1969
outdoor rock festival in Bethel, New York
George Crumb, Black Angels 1970
1939 Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II
1945 World War II ends
1949 North Atlantic Treaty Organization formed
1950-53 Korean War
1953 USA and USSR both test hydrogen bombs
1958 European Common Market formed
1962 Cuban missile crisis
1963 President john F. Kennedy assassinated
1968 Students riot in Paris, antiwar protests in United
1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are first humans
on the moon
sphere, from Mikis Theodorakis's score for Zorba the Greek (1964) to the blend
of traditional and Western elements in the film music of India, China. and
Japan. Electronic music was used frequently for psychologically upsetting
events, the strange or supernatural, and space aliens.
Popular music continued to be a strong element in postwar film. In his
jazz-influenced score to Laura (1944), David Raksin introduced
a theme song that was woven throughout the film and became a hit song in its
own right. Many later films also featured theme songs, whose presence on the
pop charts could earn additional income and advertise the film. Rock and
other forms of pop music appeared in movies aimed at the teen market, from
The Blackboard .Jungle and a series of films starring Elvis Presley to the beach
movies of the 1960s. The Beatles' A Hard Days Night (1964) was a financial
success both as a film and as a soundtrack recording, and many other movies
followed a similar model of marketing the film and soundtrack together.
The three decades from 1940 to 1970 witnessed the emergence of several
new styles of jazz, the continuation of older styles, and a growing consciousness
of jazz history and a desire to preserve it. Jazz lost its role as a form of popular
music when it was replaced by rhythm and blues and other styles. Instead. jazz
was increasingly regarded as music that demanded concentrated listening.
Although most of the major jazz artists were Mrican American. many of the
performers and the great majority of the audience for jazz were white.
In the years immediately following the end of World War II, financial sup-
port for big bands declined sharply. More musicians now joined smaller
groups, called combos.
A new style of jazz built around virtuosic soloists fronting small combos.
known as bebop or bop, emerged in the early 1940S during the waning years
of the swing craze. In New York City, soloists playing with swing bands began
to meet in after- hours clubs after their regular engagements finished for the
evening. Clubs such as Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House
offered these musicians the opportunity to pit their skills against each other in
"cutting contests," playing standards at blistering speed or in difficult keys to
weed out the less-talented musicians. Out of these cutting contests grew a new
musical language that became known as bebop.
Characteristics Bebop was rooted in standards from the swing era. in blues progressions.
and in other popular sources for contrafacts, but it was newly infused with
extreme virtuosity. harmonic ingenuity. unusual dissonances, chromaticism.
complicated rhythms. and a focus on solo voices and improvisation. A typical
bebop combo featured a rhythm section of piano, drums. bass. and one or
more melody instruments. such as trumpet or saxophone. In contrast to big-
band music. bebop was meant not for dancing but for attentive listening. The
focus was on the star performers and their prowess as improvisers. Perfor-
mances in which one of the players was essentially the composer are pre-
served on recordings that have become classics. listened to over and over
again. transcribed, analyzed. and reviewed in critical essays.
From Bebop to Free JaZl
ligille (" Alto
saxophonist Charlie
Parker and tmmpeter
Dizzy Gillespie per-
Jorming with bassist
Tomml- Potter and
tenor saxophonist John
Coltrane. in a photo-
graph taken on stage at
the legendm:v Birdland
jazz club in New York
City. ca. 19So. (Hili/on
A characteristic example of bebop is Anthropology (N;\WM ,ILl), by alto ;\ntl}f'()fJolog)
saxophonist Charlie Parker (19'2.0-'955, nicknamed "Bird") and trumpeter
Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993), shown in Figure 35.6. Like many other bebop
standards, Anthropology is a eontrafael on the "rhythm changes"; that is, it
features a new melody over the chord progression for Gershwin's I Cot
Rhythrn(seechapter3:3and N\\VM '("Jand '':''2,). A bebop performance nor-
mally begins with an introduction and then 1he head., the primary tune,
played in unison or oetaves by the melody ins1 rumcn1s. Players perform
from an abbreviated score called a lead sheet (shown in N .'\\'\ M ,1::\;,), whieh I CD G ~
includes only the head, with ehord symbols indicating the harmony. The
tune for Anthropology is typical in eonsisting of short. rapid bursts of notes
separated by surprising rests, creating a jagged, unpredictable melody. The
head is followed by several choruses, solo improvisations over the harmony,
and the piece ends with a final statement of the head. I n the classic record-
ing of Anthropology, Parker played a sizzling solo of unusual length (tran-
scribed in NAWM ,Inll), taking up three choruses while he surrounded the
chord changes with a flurry of chromatic alterations. This solo has been
learned by countless younger saxophonists who sought to emulate Parker's
sound and style.
In addition to Gillespie and Parker, prominent bebop musicians included
trumpeter Miles Davis (19'2.6-1991) and in their early careers saxophonist
John Coltrane (19'2.6-1967); pianists Thelonious Monk (1917-198'2.) and Bud
Powell (19'2.4-1966); and drummers Kenny Clarke (1914-1985) and Max
Roach (b. 19'2.4).
11!f,1I1'f' of
the LP Free Jazz by
Omette Coleman's
ensemble, consisting of
two quartets of reed
instruments, trumpet.
bass, and drums. On
the lower right is a hole
cut through the card-
board. through which
can be seen part oj'the
reproduction of Jack-
son Pollack's painting
White Light on the
inside (Rhino
Entertainment Company)
Many of these musicians pioneered new jazz styles in the 1950s, seeking paths
for individual expression by extending the methods and ideas of bebop. Miles
Davis was behind a series of innovations, beginning with his album Birth
of the Cool (1949-50). Its softer timbres, more relaxed pace, and rhythmic
subtleties inaugurated the trend that became known as cool jazz, soon taken up
by the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dave Brubeck (b. and many others.
Whereas bebop had begun as an improvising soloists' music, Birth of the Cool
put the composer-arranger front and center.
A contrasting style was hard bop, dominated by drummers such as Kenny
Clarke, Max Roach, and Art Blakey (1919-90), which focused on the percussive
and propulsive side of jazz. Miles Davis
(Kind of Blue, 1959) explored yet another
new style known as modal jazz, which fea-
tured slowly unfolding melodies over sta-
ble, relatively static modal harmonies. Cool
jazz, hard bop, and modal jazz were all
attempts to temper the extremes of bop.
through mellowness, the use of elements
from rhythm and blues, or more freedom
for melodic and harmonic improvisation.
The new jazz styles from bebop on have
been compared by some historians to the
multiplicity of modern styles in twentieth-
century classical music, and they derive
from a similar source: a desire to say some-
thing new in a distinctive style that
remained rooted in the tradition.
In the 1960s, alto saxophonist Ornette
Coleman (b. 1930) and his ensemble
introduced a more radically new jazz lan-
guage known as free jazz, named after
their landmark album Free .Jazz (1960).
which contained a single, thirty-seven-minute-Iong group improvisation.
This experimental style moved away from jazz standards and familiar tunes.
turning instead to a language built of melodic and harmonic gestures, innova-
tive sounds, atonality, and free forms using improvisation that was carried on
outside the strictures and structures of standard jazz forms. The style was
compared to the free-form abstract expressionist paintings ofT ackson Pollack
made by dripping paint on canvas; indeed, the cover of Free Jazz.
shown in Figure 35.7, opened up to reveal a reproduction of Pollack's White
Light, partly visible through a hole cut in the cover's front panel.
Around the same time, John Coltrane developed a personal avant-garde
style based on very fast playing, motivic development, new sonorities, and
greater dissonance and density of sound. Like avant-garde composers, cre-
ators of free jazz and other avant- garde jazz styles question some of the basic
assumptions of the tradition yet clearly draw from it.
Heirs to the Classical Tradition
While some jazz performers were pursuing new alternatives, others main-
tained older styles, reviving ragtime and New Orleans jazz or continuing to
play swing. In a striking parallel to the rise of the classical concert repertoire
over a century earlier, by 1970 the jazz world had developed its own roster of
classics that were treasured on recordings and kept alive in performance. A
sense of history was inculcated by written histories and recorded historical
anthologies of jazz. At the same time, audiences for jazz were shrinking; swing
was no longer the most popular kind of music, and the newer jazz styles from
bop to free jazz were more esoteric, aimed at connoisseurs. As younger listen-
ers turned to rhythm and blues and other new traditions, jazz increasingly
became music for the well-informed listener. Jazz critics and historians began
to describe jazz as a kind of classical music . .l azz ensem blcs were formed at
many schools, collegcs, and univcrsities beginning in the 1950S and 1960s,
and jazz history became part of the curriculum. Now rcspected as an art music.
,jazz nonetheless retained some of the aura of the rebellious popular music it
had been half a century before.
Thc tradition of classical music performancc becamc stronger than ever
during the postwar years. Audiences grew. government support in many
nations rose. schools of music cxpanded. and music education in primary and
secondary schools increased in quantity and quality. But the living composers
who saw themselves as participants in the tradition sharcd less and less com-
mon ground. with little consensus on style. aesthetic. or purposc. Some com-
posers sought to preserve and extend paJiicular aspects of the tradition, from
audience appeal to modernist complcxity, while others focused on the new.
After two world wars. nationalism had come to seem a dangerous relic of the
past. and neoclassicism an inadequate response to modernity. In every nation
there was a diversity of styles and approaches, and ideas that began in onc place
were often imitated elscwhere. Thus it makes sense to divide our survey. not by
nation, but by large trends, using individual composers as case studies.
There were many competing trends in the postwar decades. and no brief
survey can describe all of them. The following account can only begin to sug-
gestthe spectrum from traditional media to the avant-garde. including tonal-
ity. chance, indeterminacy, extensions of serialism. the new virtuosity. new
musical resources. incorporation of non -Western elements. electronic music.
music oftexture and process. quotation, and collage.
As always, how composers made a living is part of the story. A few of them. such
as Stravinsky and Copland. were able to support themselves with commissions.
royalties. and income from conducting or performances. Other composers
required patronage, but without the kings and aristocracy of earlier centuries,
it had to come in new forms, In Europe, composers often were supported by the
state, through radio stations, annual subsidies, grants, arts agencies, or educa-
tional institutions, In some countries, such as the United Kingdom and most
communist nations, government support tended to make composers respon-
sive to public tastes, Yet in others, such as West Germany, France, and Poland,
the government sponsored the most radical new music, as part of its responsi-
bility to support the nation's culture.
The unil'ersit)' In the United States and Canada, many composers were employed as teach-
as po I ron ing faculty in universities, colleges, and conservatories, giving them time to
compose, a ready audience, and access to performing organizations, including
ensembles set up to perform new music. Since colleges and universities prize
academic freedom, the music coming from academic composers has been
diverse, varying from traditional styles to avant-garde and experimental.
Indeed, the safety of tenure and the ivory tower tended to isolate composers
from the public and make them independent of its support. Some saw that as a
virtue, allowing music to advance in its own terms, without having to please
the untutored listener (see Source Reading).
Fiplllf) Olivier
To a great extent, the type of music encouraged at a school varied with the
composers who taught there. Among many refugees from Europe, Schoenberg
taught at the University of California at Los Angeles, Milhaud at Mills College
in Oakland, California, and Paul Hindemith at Yale. Walter Piston, a Nadia
Boulanger student who taught at Harvard, encouraged a neoclassical
approach, while Princeton was dominated by approaches derived from
Schoenberg and Webern, particularly through the influence of Roger Sessions
and his student and colleague Milton Babbitt. The Universities of Illinois and
Michigan were also important centers, where annual festivals of contempo-
rary music served as forums for both avant-garde and traditional approaches.
Although critical discussion has often focused on new sounds and tech-
niques, many postwar composers used traditional media. Like their fore-
bears, they sought an individual voice within the classical tradition.
Olivier Messiaen (19°8-1992,), shown in Figure 35.8, was the most important
French composer born in the twentieth century. A native of' Avignon in south-
ern France, he studied organ and composition at the Paris Conservatoire, was
organist at St. Trinite in Paris from 1931 on, and became professor of harm om
at the Conservatoire in 1941. After the waL he taught many important com-
posers of the younger generation, including his fellow Frenchman Pierre
Boulez, the German Karlheinz Stockhausen (both discussed below), and the
Netherlander Ton de Leeuw (192,6-1996). It is a tribute to the quality and
impartiality of Messiaen's teaching that each pupil went his own way.
Milton Babbitt, professor of music and of mathemat-
ics at Princeton University, argued that composers,
like scientists, engage in research that advances
knowledge and should be supported for that work,
even if it lies beyond most people's comprehension.
His view extends in new terms the nineteenth-
century view of music as an autonomous art to. be
pursued for its own sake. This excerpt is from an
essay he wrote under the title "The Composer as Spe-
cialist." changed by an editor at the magazine where
it first appeared to the more provocative "Who Cares
If You Listen?"
Why should the layman be other than bored
and puzzled by what he is unable to under-
stand, music or anything else? It is only the
translation of this boredom and puzzlement
into resentment and denunciation that seems
to me indefensible. After all, the public does
have its own music, its ubiquitous music: music
to eat by, to read by, to dance by, and to be
impressed by. Why refuse to recognize the pos-
sibility that contemporary music has reached a
stage long since attained by other forms of
activity? The time has passed when the nor-
mally well-educated man without special
preparation can understand the most advanced
work in, for example, mathematics, philosophy,
and physics. Advanced music, to the extent that
it reflects the knowledge and originality of the
informed composer, scarcely can be expected to
appear more intelligible than these arts and sci-
ences to the person whose musical education
usually has been even less extensive than his
Traditional Media
background in other fields. But to this, a double
standard is invoked, with the words "music is
music," implying also that "music is just music."
Why not, then, equate the activities of the radio
repairman with those of the theoretical physi-
cist, on the basis of the dictum that "physics is
physics"? ...
... I dare suggest that the composer would
do himself and his music an immediate and
eventual service by total, resolute, and volun-
tary withdrawal from this public world to one
of private performance and electronic media,
with its very real possibility of complete elimi-
nation of the public and social aspects of musi-
cal composition. By so doing, the separation
between the domains would be defined beyond
any possibility of confusion of categories, and
the composer would be free to pursue a private
life of professional achievement, as opposed to
a public life of unprofessional compromise and
But how, it may be asked, will this serve to
secure the means of survival for the composer
and his music? One answer is that after all such
a private life is what the university provides the
scholar and the scientist. It is only proper that
the university, which-significantly-has pro-
vided so many contemporary composers with
their professional training and general educa-
tion, should provide a home for the "complex,"
"difficult," and "problematical" in music.
From Milton Babbitt, "Who Cares If You Listen?,"
High Fidelity 8, no. 2 (February 1958): 39-40. In SR
174 (7:5). 1305-11.
A devout Catholic. Messiaen composed many pieces on religious subjects.
iuch as the Quatuor pour lafin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) for violin.
larinet. cello. and piano, written at a German military prison camp in
1940-1941 for performance by the composer and three fellow prisoners; Vingt
egards sur 1 'Enfant-.Je"sus (Twenty Looks at the Infant Jesus, 1944) for piano;
iis opera Saint Francis of Assisi (1975-83); and numerous works for his own
Traditional Media
ii. DUf'(lliorw/ pol/ern ill pi(l/w
r r r LLJ UJ [[ [! U· r r
instrument, the organ. Other principal compositions include Turangalila-
symphonie (1946-48) and Catalogu.e d'oiseaux (Catalogue of Birds, 1956-58)
for piano.
Messiaen sought to embody in music a stance of ecstatic contemplation. ;\1I1si(' (IS
His works typically present an experience of concentrated meditation on a few ("OIl /elll pi (1 I ion
materials, like a musical mantra. Rather than developing themes, he
luxtaposes static ideas. showing his heritage from Debussy and Stravinsky.
Messiaen used several characteristic devices. described in his book
The Technique or My Musical Language (1944), that helped him achieve his goal
of writing meditative music. The opening movement of the Quatuor
pour lafLn du temps. titled Liturgie de cristal (Crystal Liturgy. 1\ \V M I H/I). ill us- I CD n/67 1 I CD 6/75 I
trates several of them. as shown in Example 35.1.
Messiaen often wrote down birdsongs in musical notation and used them [311'(/("(///S
in several composi t ions. where they co nvey a sense of contem plating the gi fts
of nature and the divine. In Example 35.1. both the violin and clarinet play fig-
ures that suggest birdcalls. repeating them at irrebrular intervals.
What Messiaen called modes oj"limited tmnsposihon are collections of notes, ;\/()r/cs ujl i III iled
like the whole tone and octatonic scales. that. do not changc when transposed Imns[!osili()/l
by certain intervals; for example. an octatonic scale transposed a minor third.
[ritone, or major sixth will yield the same set of notes. Such scales lack the dif-
ferentiation of diatonic scales and so do not create a strong desire for resolu-
[ion, making them well suited for music designed to suggest contemplation
and a negation of desire. I n Liturgic de cristal. the cello notes arc all from a sin-
whole tone scale, in a repeating sequence of five notes
Messiaen's harmony also avoids moving forward to a resolution. Rather, lIonllunics/O.'iIS
chord series are simply repeated to create a sense of stasis or meditation. In
this movement, the piano plays a succession of twenty-nine chords six times
(the last incomplete); the second statement begins in measure 8.
Messiaen treats rhythm as a matter of duration, not meter. Meter, as a Dum/ioll.
series of beats organized in measures, is a human or worldly thing, associ - /lo/II/e/el"
aled with dance and heartbeats. When we respond to music metrically, we
are in our bodies, but when we attend instead to durations we are in the
realm of time, ruled by the divine. In Example 35.1, the changing note-
lengths in the cello and piano do not create a sense of syncopation against a
metric framework; instead. the smooth, legato playing style makes us hear
patterns of shorter and longer durations. Throughout the movement both
piano and cello play repeated patterns of durations that resemble the talea,
or repeating rhythmic pattern, of medieval isorhythm (see chapter 6). The
Diano features a series of seventeen durations played ten times, of which the
rh vthm s
BC(lutitid sounds
first two statements appear in Example 35.1. Against this talea, the twenty-
nine-chord series acts like the color in medieval isorhythm. Similarly. the
cello has a talea of fifteen durations, framing its five-note color. These
repeating pitch and rhythmic series create cyclic repetition, which ag'ain
invites contemplation.
Example 35.1b and c show the piano and cello taleae written out in integral
note values (without ties). The piano talea features a device Messiaen used to
emphasize duration over meter: what he called added values, such as the dot-
ted eighth note amid even eighths or the lone sixteenth note, which add a
small durational value to produce units of irregular length. The cello part
includes another Messiaen trademark that he dubbed nonretrogradable
rhythms, which are the same forwards and backwards: as shown by brackets.
the first three notes form one such rhythm, the next twelve another. Such pat-
terns preserve their identity outside of time-whether heard in normal time or
reverse time, they are the same-and thus symbolize the eternaL that which
exists outside oftime.
Finally, Messiaen preferred beautiful timbres and colorful harmonies.
Here, the cello plays in high harmonics (sounding two octaves above the
notated pitches), creating an ethereal sound, augmented by the gentle bird-
calls in the high violin and clarinet, over soft dissonances in the piano.
Messiaen invites us to meditate on these sonorous objects as they con-
stantly recombine in new ways yet remain the same, like colorful shapes in
a kaleidoscope.
If Messiaen focused on music of contemplation, English composer Benjamin
Britten (1913-1976) was concerned primarily with communication. After
studying privately and at the Royal College of Music, Britten spent several
years in the late 1930s writing music for films, an experience that shaped his
style by teaching him to communicate through the simplest means. Like Cop-
land, he tempered modernism with simplicity to achieve a clear and widely
appealing idiom. Maturing in the 1930s, he was deeply influenced by human-
itarian concerns and ideals of public service, manifest in his interest in writ-
ing music for children and amateurs, his allegorical pleas for tolerance, and
his pacifism.
Hus/clor ClInateu rs The English choral tradition was nurtured in church and cathedral choirs.
schools, and amateur choruses. Most of Britten's choral music was conceived
for such groups, and works such as Hymn to St. Cecilia ,A Ceremonrof
Carols and Missa brevis (1959) have become standards. His one-act
opera Noye 's Fludde (Noah's Flood, 1957-58), on the text of a medieval miracle
play, is intended for a mixture of professional performers with children of
various ages and includes hymns that the audience is invited to sing. These
and his other works for nonprofessionals are melodious, challenging pieces
that suit their performers' abilities yet are not limited by them.
HO/JlOSCXlwlitl' Britten was a homosexual and was the life partner of the tenor Peter Pears
(1910-1986). Shown in Figure 35.9, the two met in 1936 and lived together until
Britten's death four decades later. Britten wrote most of his tenor roles for Pears,

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