Twentieth Century period (music)

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The twentieth century saw a some radical changed in classical music. There were experiments in composition far outside the "rules" that had been used for centuries, with atonal music and even unpredictable sounds from "altered" instruments coming into play. Some of the this disruption was due to the sense that "everything had been said" already, but there were also the immense political disruptions of the century, early on calling into question the ever-improving arc of humankind that had characterized the previous three centuries.

Composers struggled to incorporate the horrible carnage and uselessness of World War One, and the huge changes crossing eastern Europe with the Russian revolution, to name two obvious cataclysmic events.

Prominent composers of this era include:

  • Bartok
  • Schoenberg
  • Stravinsky
  • Prokofiev
  • Barber
  • Cage
  • Britten
  • Copland
  • Shostakovich
  • Glass
  • Boulez
  • Bernstein