The Serial Wars
American composers were profoundly affected by World War II and the events leading to it. In the 1930s, many European musicians came to the United States because of events in Europe, the most well known of whom were Arnold Schoenberg and Béla Bartók. After the war, the Western musical world became one as composers crisscrossed, doing, learning, interacting. Around 1950, serious composers suddenly diverged in two entirely different but radical paths. Some of them extended the ideas of Schoenberg and Anton Webern, relying on mathematical calculations to totally determine every nuance of a piece. Others sought to eliminate the will and emotion of the composer. Musical developments took three very different directions after the war: serialism, aleatoric experimentalism, and minimalism. The serialists, led by Pierre Boulez, adopted and extended Schoenberg's concept of the tone row to every musical parameter. However, total serialism was discovered even earlier by Milton Babbitt.
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