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Innovation and Tradition in French Music since 1920 Essay Example

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Innovation and Tradition in French Music since 1920

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France created an ideology of identity-based on moving into innovation and modernity, as well as placing this around the pride for the country. The reflection in the music was then based on the ideals of innovation and experimentation that could represent the new French style2.Les Six began to develop in 1917, with the leader of the group, Jean Cocteau. This French composer took the names from the Russian and German movements which were also interested in experimentation and innovation. However, the ideals moved against the other experimentation aspects, such as from Richard Wagner. The individuals who made this group included Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc and Germaine Taillefaire. It was noted that the importance of this group was based not only on the ideal of composition with a rebellion of other types of music. More important, there was a creation of commercial advertising and an understanding that the music made would be French and for those interested in creating a specialized type of music that represented the nation3.The basics of Les Six not only were based on the six individuals who held specific relationships to the music and what was occurring. There was also a direct association with the outside influences, which the group began to accept or reject as a part of their works. The first way in which this was done was through the outside influences and theories that began to enter Paris as it became a world-renowned place for travel. The World fair of 1894, as well as the fluctuation of individuals visiting the region from around the world, began to move those interested in music into new theories. American, Russian and German influences were three of the strongest areas which began to make the new theories and ideals of the group come to life. For instance, there are many passages in the work of the Les Six that is related to the concepts of jazz, specifically because of the chord structure and harmonies that are associated with this.

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References

Berger, Melvin. Guide to Sonatas: Music for One or Two Instruments. (New York: Anchor Books, 1991).

Brody, Elaine. Paris: The Musical Kaleidoscope: 1870-1925. (Minnesota: University of Minnesota, 1987).

Cocteau, Jean, Rollo Myers. A Call to Order. (New York: Haskell House, 1974)

Dutilleux, Henri, Claude Glayman. Henri Dutilleux : Music – Mystery and Memory. (New York: Ashgate Publishing, 2003)

Fulcher, Jane. French Cultural Politics and Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Gottlieb, LM. “Images, Technology, and Music: The Ballets Suedois and Les Maries de la Tour Eiffel.” The Musical Quarterly 52 (5),

Kelly, Barbara. French Music, Culture, and National Identity,1870-1939. (New York: University of Rochester Press, 2008).

Kelly, Barbara. Tradition and Style in the Works of Darius Milhaud. (New York: Ashgate Publishing, 2003).

Nichols, Roger. The Harlequin Years: Music in Paris, 1917-1929. (California: University of California Press, 2002).

Pasler, Jann. “New Music as Confrontation: the Musical Sources of Jean Cocteau’s Identity.” (The Musical Quarterly 75 (3))

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preview essay on Innovation and Tradition in French Music since 1920
  • Pages: 11 (2750 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Music
  • Level: Undergraduate
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