The most interesting thing about this historical period is the large number of changes it brought to the field of music. Within the 20th-century historical period, major shifts occurred such as American composers straying away from the widely used Romantic European conventions to creating their own distinctive styles. Charles Ives for example was one composer who sought to develop his own by employing dissonance, atonality, complex rhythms, and nonlinear structures. It states how, “Charles Ives, writing in the first two decades of the century, was the first American to move away from the Romantic European conventions of form and style by employing dissonance, atonality, complex rhythms, and nonlinear structures”(Page 33). Within this period the biggest change could be considered to be the changes artist were willing to make to develop music. As time went on more artists sought their own music and as a result, began making music with their own take or beliefs. Like Charles Ives, John Cage was another composer who experimented with developing music. It states how “John Cage would challenge listeners to completely rethink what constituted music and art through his radically experimental works…Cage paved the way for the so-called “downtown” New York experimental scene that broke down barriers between music, visual art, performance, and so forth”(page 34). It is clear that the 20th century period of music was different from what people were used to and sought to incorporate more of the composer’s personality.
Although I do not know much about the music from this period based on the textbook I can see that it was a very experimental and changing time for music. From the way it was described in the textbook, we can see how musicians and composers sought to create a different type of music that did not exist, and as a result, more composers put their own unique personalities into their pieces. The “Major Figures in Music” I decided to choose was Michael Jackson. Based on listening to several of his songs I noticed how some of his songs contained synthesized or digitally altered sounds as the reading stated. It states in the article how, “Synthesized, sampled, and digitally altered sounds are commonly used for special effects in popular music, movie scores, and works for the concert hall”(page 34). It was common practice for musicians to use these newly developed sounds in their music and Michael Jackson can be seen using them. It made his songs seem fresher and more uplifting to listen to, it was different from other songs that were more calm and smooth.