Are Electro-Acoustics and the Vernacular the Largets Developments in 20th Century Music?

2624 words 11 pages
EAMMON MSETFI Contextual studies (MU314) Convenor: Tim Howle Essay 1

Denis Smalley has suggested that the two most important musical developments in the 20th Century are the domains of the 'electro-acoustic' and the 'vernacular'. To what extent is his assumption correct?

This piece will demonstrate an understanding of the developments in 20th century music, with a detailed view on the path and expansion of electro-acoustic technology and of the vernacular. This will also be highlighting the theoretical ideas that made these large developments possible and the technological innovations that created the foundations for both these areas.

Total serialism

After composers, Wagner and Brahms, who stretched the boundaries of
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Worner 1973).
Stockhausen was a critic of popular music and its dependence on repetition, which he thought, was very predictably, although his work became very influential for popular musicians. His technique was most influential on popular musicians; he was amongst the first to implicate sampling and synthesized sound to compositions, the influence can be seen in Pop, rock and jazz in the 1960s notably on the Beatles Sgt Peppers (1967) album where an extensive use of magnetic tape sampling and tape delays were used. Many popular musicians have credited Stockhausen, his use of sampling and synthesized sound inspired a generation of popular music, where his techniques have developed.

How Post-war recording technologies gave birth to electro-acoustic technology and popular music

During the war, a mass demand for technology was created, Eric Hobsbawm describes this period as a “technological earthquake” (P.41 Timothy D. Taylor, 2001); this necessity for communications technology was vital for the war effort. Throughout this period the Germans created Magnetic tape to send coded messages, as well as to record radio broadcasts (this was later used extensively in early electro-acoustic compositions). After the


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