During the Modern era, many new musical techniques emerged. They were seen in , , rhythm, meter, texture, tonality, and . It is important to note that during the twentieth century not all changes in music were a revolution or a return to old ideals.
Few changes occurred to the concepts of meter and rhythm during the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras. For the first time in hundreds of years, rhythm became a more important factor and took on characteristics of flexibility and variety.
New Time Signatures - Refers to odd time signatures, such as 5/8 and 7/8, are found in modern music.
Asymetrical Grouping - This is a grouping of notes within a measure to yield new rhythmic effects.
Non-metric Music - For non-metric flexibility, composers omit the bar line, this is limited to solo media.
Polymetric Music - This is music in which two or more meters are used simultaneously.
Multimetric Music - In this type of music frequent changes of time signature occur almost every measure.
Displaced Bar Line - This is a technique to make the barline seem as if it is misplaced or shifted. To do this, accents are put in recurring patterns to counter the normal accents in the measure.
During the 1900s, new changes to melody occured in the areas of style, scale bases, and the role of melody.
Melody in music has generally remained traditional throughout the Modern era, but there have been exceptions as some extreme forms of melody have occured.
New melodic and harmonic styles appear during this era, as a result of the use of unconventional scales. Composers have borrowed scales from old church modes and have used them in a neomodal settings.
The Role of Melody
Up until the twentieth century melody was the most important element in any work of music. Now, the role of melody has greatly changed. It is still important in music with texture, but its importance is greatly diminished in music having great emphasis on harmony and rhythm, and virtually nonexistent in some forms of electronic music with nontonal sound.
Contrapuntal textures in music dominate the Modern era. While, textures are present, it is to a lesser degree and with less importance. Texture is especially evident in , where contrapuntal forms from the Baroque, such as the and , are used.
Sonority of the modern era takes on the characteristics of being thin, clear, and transparent. This resembles music of the Classical era, thus showing once again the importance of neo-Classicism in the twentieth century. Pointillism, a very thin sonority is also present in this modern era. It involves fragmentary lines, a combination of various tones sounding simultaneously, frequently changed timbres, and widely spaced registers.
Serialism & Twelve Tone Music
Serial music is based on a repeating series of rhythms, dynamics, tones, or timbres in a work. This form first appeared in the 1920s and relates to new concepts of formal structure in music and atonality.
Twelve tone music is a form of serialism that is based on a series of twelve different pitches called a tone row. A tone row contains all twelve tones of the octave arranged in such an order that any implication of tonic or key center is avoided. Melody, harmony, and themes are derived from the tone row, which replaces scales as the basis of composition.
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