Avant Garde– How Music Evloves

Posted on June 2, 2010 in Media and Culture

Kishore CS:

Music has been rediscovered a million times by artists. Different genres that exist now are merely a tangible proof of this constant rediscovery. The usual trend we’ve seen is that one artist starts off with a musical identity of its own, a very unique sound, which further sparks off as an inspiration to thousands of offspring bands and individual artists. All of them together, put in their talent and ideas to make the genre. The band that started it all is considered as the pioneer of that musical style.

After the music catches on it undergoes tweaks and remixes to adapt to the needs of the listeners. This is a continuous cycle.

Over the years, the main genres of music have been Pop, Rock, Jazz, Classical, Reggae, Blues, Metal, Hip-Hop, Trance, House, Electronic, etc. Current artists have combined their influences from these genres and formed new sounds. This has given rise to categories such as world music, Psychedelic trance, Electronic jazz, Blues Rock, Rap Metal and so on. Lately we have seen some artists who dare to step out of the usual musical box and come up with a truly original, experimental sound that rests on its own pillars. This kind of music has been referred to as Avant Garde music.

Avant-garde music consists of any form of music working within traditional structures while seeking to breach boundaries in some manner or to describe the work of any musicians who radically depart from tradition altogether. [more on the meaning of Avante Garde]

A number of early twentieth-century American composers, are considered as the pioneers of this genre of music. These include Charles Ives, Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger, Henry Cowell, Carl Ruggles, and John Becker. These artists have given rise to many experimental bands.

Experimental music has its own concepts. It is interesting to see the way these artists work. This music is written in the form of diagrams or drawings rather than using conventional notation. Conventional methods would include clefs, notes, and so on. These are not used by these artists, and they explain their melodies in the form of graphical diagrams. Another feature of this genre of music is the use of ‘Micro-tones’. Now, these are pitch intervals that are smaller than the tones in your ‘run of the mill’ song. Composers have divided basic musical octaves in their own way, equally or unequally. They then make their own scales and use them as a basis for composition. The main goal here is to create a new, unique sound. A musical identity, you might say. The musical instruments are tuned based on their own scales. Vocalists go out of the ordinary to make their voice sound unconventional. Daily used material is also played on, to add to the music, for instance, trash cans, telephone ringers, doors, or even water flowing from taps.

If you want a flavour of this kind of music, definitely check out Christian Wolff, from France, Walter Benjamin, Robert Musil, Henry Cowell and the other artists mentioned a while ago.

The Avant Garde movement has, is, and always will open new doors to music, and it is interesting to see how music keeps evolving out of different minds. This genre of music is surely one to add to your play-list.

Do let us know what you think about this music, and suggestions are invited. Drop in a comment below or mail us at [email protected]

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