Introduction to Modernism: Part I (Music)

Introduction to Modernism: Part I (Music)

Author: Kristy Kruse

To understand the beginnings of Modernism and how it differed from previous movements.

By viewing ballets from the late 1800's and early 1900's, students will begin to learn about the origins of Modernism and what was important to Modernist artists.

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Part I

Watch the following video. I know it's long, I don't expect you to watch the whole two hours, just the first 8-10 minutes.  What do you notice about the music? What about the costumes and dance?  As you watch, please keep track of your answers to these questions as they will be very important for our discussion.

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake - The Kirov Ballet

Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, performed by The Kirov Ballet

Part II

Okay, so you've seen what Tchaikovsky did with his music. Remember, this was composed in 1876.  Next up is a piece by  Stravinsky.  It was first performed in 1913, right at the beginning of the Modernist movement.  Again, watch and listen recording your reactions to the music, dancing and costumes. What do you notice? How does it compare to what you saw in Swan Lake?

Stravinsky- Rite of Spring

Costumes similar to the original from 1913

Radio lab- Musical Language

Listen to this podcast from Radio Lab as they discuss the effect that Stravinsky's Rite of Spring had on the original audience in 1913.  Begin at 31:50 (sorry, I couldn't cut it for you!).  You can stop at 35:07.  (of course, you are more than welcome to listen to as much as you want, but I am just requiring these four minutes. 

Click the link below:


Discussion Assignment

For class discussion tomorrow, please be prepared to share your opinions about the music, costumes, and dance that you've seen today.  Be ready to discuss what you think this means about Modernism.  How might this might translate to literature and the changes in writing or culture?