Music 266B:

Twentieth-Century Music after WW II

Winter, 1999


  • Morgan, Robert P., Twentieth-Century Music, (W.W. Norton & Co.)
    There is an excellent bibliography of 20th-century composer sources at the end of this book.
  • Wollen, Peter, Raiding the Icebox, (Indiana University Press).
  • Simms, Bryan, Music of the Twentieth Century, An Anthology, (Macmillan).

    The course is a seminar in modern music after World War II. It meets on Wednesdays from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM. Anyone registering for this seminar MUST attend all three hours of all classes (no exceptions).

  • January 13: Introduction.
    Reflections on the past influences and major composers active before World War I.
    Suggestions for topics:discography of contemporary works
  • Jan. 20: A formal framework for the recent past.
    Read Morgan, Chap. VII, "The Historical Context: Europe after WW I," PP. 151-158.
    Read Wollen, Chap. One, "Out of the Past, " PP. 1-34.
    Analysis of Cage and Webern works from Simms.
  • Jan. 27: Immediate influences that continue between the wars.
    Read Morgan, Chap, IX, "The Twelve-Tone System," PP> 187-219.
    Read Wollen, Chap. Two, "Modern Times," PP. 35-71.
    Contiue analysis of Webern Op. 31 and Britten "Dirge" (from Serenade.
    Use twelve-tone examples: Schoenberg Op. 33A, Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte, Berg, Violin Concerto.
  • February 3: Towards and International Language.
    Read Morgan, "The Experimental Tradition in American Music," PP. 295.322.
    Read Wollen, Chap. Four, "The Situationist International," PP. 120-157.
  • Feb. 10: Post Webern.
    Read Morgan, Chap. XVI, "Integral Serialism," PP. 333-358.
  • Feb. 17: Post WW II new directions and revolutions.
    Read Morgan Chap XVII, "Indeterminacy," PP. 359-378 and Chap XXII, "Electronic Music," PP.461-480.
    Read Wollen, Chap Three, "The Triumph of American Painting," PP. 72-119.
  • Feb. 24: New Directions II, the rebirth of the avant-garde?
    Read Morgan, Chap XVIII, "Innovations in Form and Texture," PP. 379-406.
    Read Wollen, Chap. Five, "Notes from the Underground," PP. 158-175, and Chap. Six, "Morbid Symptoms," PP. 176-189.
  • March 3: CLearing the Air.
    Read Morgan, Chap. XIX, "The New Pluralism," PP. 407-422, and Chap. XX, "A Return to Simplicity," PP. 423-460.
  • March 10: The Now.
    Read Morgan, Chap. XXIII, " Epilogue: Music Today," PP. 481-489.
    Read Wollen, Chap. Seven, "Into the Future," PP. 190.212.

  • Many musical examples will be drawn from the Simms anthology, but these will be augmented in the process of the delivery of student reports. They can be of three types:

    Analytical (a single work or comparison).
    Aesthetic (bring in the other arts in relation to music.
    Historical (relate in detail a segment of world history which has a deciding impact on an artistic stream.

    Updated: January 26, 1999.