7.4- Mid Modern Music

Musical Theatre

The music of musical theatre was much lighter and uplifting than many of the more anxious sound of other compositions of the early and mid 20th century.

Broadway had become the center of popular theatrical music in America

Rodgers and Hammerstein 1902-1979 and 1895-1960 [audio:rodgersandhammerstein.mp3]
Carousel (optional video):

Carousel – 1956   If I Loved You Duet

Oklahoma (optional video):


Sound of Music – trailer (optional video):


Leonard Bernstein (American) 1918- 1990 [audio:bernstein.mp3]

  • Conductor of the New York Philharmonic
  • Tireless educator, introducing children to classical music
  • Young People’s Guide to the Orchestra — a weekly TV show on CBS
  • West Side Story
  • Lyrics by Steven Sondheim
  • Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
  • Rival gangs the Jets and the Hispanic Sharks
  • Presenting on stage the intercultural tensions from New York City’s West Side

Optional video – West Side Story Prologue


Andrew Lloyd Weber (British) 1948 – ? [audio:webber.mp3]

Optional video links to excerpts from each show Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:

Jesus Christ Super Star



Phantom of the Opera

Music Concrete — Electronic Music


Going beyond the popular sounds of electronic instruments utilized in Rock and Roll, pioneers in electronic sounds strove to create a new soundscape.

Edgar Varese (French) 1883-1965 [audio:varese.mp3]

  • Career in America
  • Credited as the “Father of Electronic Music’
  • Influential to cutting edge Rock and Roll performers i.e. Frank Zappa
  • Popular work — Poem Electronique a collaboration with Le Corbusier and Xenakis

Optional video:

Karlheinz Stockhausen (German) 1928 — 2007 [audio:stockhausen.mp3]

  • An extremely influential composer, whose ideas were transformed by other composers and musicians
  • Cited by the Beattle as a major influence, and included on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band Album

Example of work — Kontakte

Chance Music — Aleatory Music

John Cage 1912 -1992 [audio:cage.mp3]

  • The Marcel Duchamp of music
  • Worked at the Black Mountain College and collaborated with Merce Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg
  • A composer that worked with “found sounds’ noise and experimental instruments
  • Altered traditional instruments to create new sounds
  • 1952 — his groundbreaking, controversial work 4’33’ composed of silence. [audio:groundbreakingmusic.mp3]



4 Responses to “7.4- Mid Modern Music”

  1. Nicole Wade writes:

    Yay! I grew up watching and love most of the musicals that you have listed here!

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