Twentieth Century and Contemporary Classical Music

Ref: C3847034

This course will explore new forms of classical music since the start of the C20th to understand some of the motivations, ideas and techniques that more recent composers have turned to in order to try to define contemporary classical music. Through listening to mainstream and avant-garde music we will consider various forms of C20th and contemporary classical music in how it relates to earlier eras, those ways in which composers 'inscribe themselves into history' as the Cambridge History of C20th Music states, whether this is through acceptance or rejection. We will appraise what this music sounds like, why it sounds like that, its sonic and artistic qualities, and the historical and biographical contexts behind its creation. Our listening will be framed around critical debate of contemporary music to assess the reason for its making, to better determine its function, its meaning and how to interpret it. Topics will include neoclassicism, jazz, modernism and atonalism, amongst others.

Course aim

This course will introduce and explore classical and other music of different forms that has been composed since the start of the C20th to the present day. Emphasis will be placed on newer works, diversity, 'non-traditional' approaches and identity.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recognise some of the important artistic, social and cultural forces that have shaped classical music and other genres since the start of the C20th
  • Critically engage with newer forms of music and contemporary composers, broadly and specifically, from the beginning of the C20th onwards
  • Actively explore music through identity, diversity and genre, and understand these issues within C20th/contemporary classical and other music
  • Use a range of skills relating to researching, thinking and writing about music and its artistic, cultural and social contexts from the C20th to today
  • Demonstrate confidence to progress to further study in both music appreciation and the fields of musicology and history of music

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

This course will be taught online using a combination of Zoom and the WEA's online digital learning platform Canvas, both of which you will need to be able to access through the internet and email. A selection of learning resources will be provided including playlists and listening for each session.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Twentieth Century and Contemporary Classical Music

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is only available as part of this programme.

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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