In the last blog for 20th century music class, I’m going to discuss my selections of chamber music composed in 20th century. I chose the repertoires from the 20th century classical music genres as various as possible. Let’s look at them.

Olivier Messiaen — Quartet for the End of Time…


Chance music is one of the new 20th century’s music genres which is composed by undetermined method. That means that composers intentionally compose music without any determined method. The composers probably want to create the pure and natural sound or to find the beauty of randomness.

John Cage devised a…


Do you think silence can be music? John Cage composed 4'33, which is three movements of silent music performed for 4:33 minutes. As you can also notice from the video below, the performer really does nothing but count the time. Even though the audiences listened nothing, they gave a big…


I was introduced to a very special electronic music composer in my 20th century music class last week. It was Pauline Oliveros. Her “Bye bye butterfly” and “Alien Bug” were extremely bizarre and I’m sure majority of people would feel as I did. Like other composers, she has her own…


From my personal experience, whenever I asked my American friends about their favorite American food, they answered “I don’t know what should I call “American” food. Is there an American food?” This might be natural reaction because America has had various immigrants and the mixed culture from various countries such…


William Grant Still (1895–1978) is a American composer who is a successful pioneer of black classical music. He studied composition with Edward Varèse and dedicated to the development of African American music significantly. He was the first African American composer whose symphony performed by major orchestra (Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra), who…


Twelve-tone music is undoubtedly one of the most difficult genres to analyze and appreciate. I, as a music student, have listened a few of them recently, but still be confused how to react, appreciate, or analyze. I’m sure it would be same with a lot of audiences. However, sometimes the…


Recently I got a topic suggestion from my classmate. She has a passionate interest in learning other countries’ culture, and wants me to introduce one of the 20th century composers from my country. Fortunately one best composer came in my mind: Unsuk Chin.

For a very brief introduce about her…


In the article by Bright Sheng which I read for one of the reading assignments in 20th century music literature, some of the composers said Bartók was doing not creative work at all because his composition is based on the Hungarian folk tune even though they already had Liszt. When…


According to the article by Bela Bartok, rearranging a folk tune is not a simple work and not a plagiarism. This argument brought a question in my mind about John Cage, who got a controversial praise for instant music or chance music. Frankly, I wanted to find various reviews of…

Rachael H

Collaborative Pianist

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