Many advancements in the fields of technology, medicine, and art rose in the 20th century. Music has not left behind either; it has advanced with age. For the purpose of this paper, I have opted to discuss two legendary music composers of the 20th century: Bela Bartok a concerto composer and Claude Debussy, a French composer. Using established musical standards over generations, I will attempt to compare the two composers. For Bela Bartok, I picked Violin Concerto No.2 written between 1938 and 1937 while I chose Le Mer for Debussy composed between 1903-1905.
Watching and listening to Bela Bartok’s piece was enjoyable and at the same time captivating, I would have to keep rewinding just to be sure that I wasn’t missing anything. In Violin Concerto No.2, the composer is telling a story, the melody itself gives an impression of a person going through hard times in life. The piece begins with a soft and subtle mood but later several fast and frantic mixtures all over the piece. The art of combining both foregrounds as well as the background to yield the desired mood harmoniously, was spectacular. Through the entire piece, Bela Bartok succeeded in creating a texture that portrayed the reaction and the desired action of the melody. From the video, the composer was keen to maintain the rhythm soft so that one could hardly hear it. Nonetheless, the rhythm was clearly heard when the loud climatic harmony was engaged. This style employed by Bela Bartok of maintaining the soft rhythm is the reason why several tone variations happen. In a concerto, subtle to frantic changes happen all the time, Bela Bartok is exceptionally skillful in this art. Bela Bartok uses the ABA form; he is slow then goes fast and then slow again. He has outdone himself in this concerto; this is one reason why he is highly regarded as a great composer.
On the other hand, despite creating a lot of controversy around himself, Claude Debussy composed some breathtaking music. I believe Le Mer largely represents Debussy’s main work of his mid-life when he was prime. The euphony in this piece is exceptional, in a harmonious way, it builds and later self-clashes in a harmoniously way. The foreground builds up as the background and later in a unique way clashes in a texture and plays off each other. The song’s rhythm is distinct throughout the music and is easily tracked. In composing his music, Debussy ensures that timbre or tonality was aligned to the fact that build remains nearly equal to loudness as the climax’s build. However, in some sections of the composition, climax of the build is more pronounced. As clearly seen in this piece of work, Debussy largely uses AABB form; slow, slow, fast, and fast. Debussy was highly regarded as a man who made use of fragmented dissonance in composing his music.
In conclusion, these two great composers who made breathtaking music lived in the 20th Century. They presented their works in different ways as seen in this paper. The two utilized various techniques depending on the mood they chose to bring out and incorporated different ideals when composing their music. Future composers have a reason to give credit to these two for their inspiration and giving music a direction.
- Viool7. Violin Concerto No. 2, YouTube, 1 May 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr0Vg24lKQQ&feature=youtu.be.
- IlaryRhineKlange. La Mer, YouTube, 1 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOCucJw7iT8&feature=youtu.be