Western Music History/Contemporary Music

The Contemporary Music period is the period following the Modern Music period. It is generally considered to have lasted from 1945 A.D. to the present.

Contemporary music is (in general) based on originality. Then Contemporary artists use dissonances and tried to disobey "the laws" that music had followed for many years.

After the Romantic period, music began to differentiate into many varying genres, and as a result contemporary music as a term is used to denote the time period, rather than style.

There are many sub-categories of Contemporary music, like minimalism, a style utilising limited music materials that has been explored by many artists including Steve Reich, John Adams, and Philip Glass. Other genres include neoromanticism, serialism, and postmodernism.

The Contemporary Era was formed during the last quarter of the nineteenth century through a painting movement called impressionism. Around 1870 a group of French painters rejected the Romantic Era. Twentieth Century music reflects the influences of art and literature of the mechanistic atomic age. The pleasant sounding impressionistic music, characterised by composers like Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, gave way to experiments with twelve tone music, often associated with the Second Viennese School. Some composers drew inspiration from across the world, like Olivier Messiaen, whose modes of limited transposition did not permit traditional cadences, and as a result his work is sometimes considered to be outside of the Western Classical Music tradition.

Contemporary music also encompasses genres which may not be considered 'classical' by an average person. Many of these are often reliant on the quite recent invention of synthesised sounds or non-traditional scales and chords, such as jazz or electronic music.

As well as these, different people from the romantic era made variations of there songs so they could add Impressionism.Some of these composers include Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Aaron Copland, Dmitri Shostakovich, Samuel Barber, and Henryk Gorecki.

The music also contains non-western melodies and leaves out romanticism.The Contemporary also introduces new scales as bases for melodies (whole-tone, modes, and chromatic) and chord uses. Some common characteristics, which are not always present and are not only specific to this period, include:

  1. Fewer lyrical melodies than other periods.
  2. Dissonant Harmonies
  3. Complex rhythms
  4. Percussiveness
  5. Greater use of percussion,brass,and woodwind.
  6. Uses synthetic and electronic sounds