Musical style

Find out more about approaches to tonality, form and genre in classical music composed since 1900

Second Viennese School

The Second Viennese School: Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern

Article by:
Mark Berry

Mark Berry introduces the three composers labelled as key members of the ‘Second Viennese School’, each influential in his own way on musical modernism throughout the remainder of the 20th century.

Read more
Tonality in crisis

Tonality in crisis? How harmony changed in the 20th century

Article by:
Arnold Whittall

Arnold Whittall explores changing approaches to harmony and the concept of tonality in early 20th-century music.

Read more
Stravinsky and Neoclassicism

Stravinsky and Neoclassicism

Article by:
Stephen Walsh

Stephen Walsh discusses Neoclassicism as a concept focussing on the music of Stravinsky who extensively used this compositional ‘attitude’ in his music, becoming the most famous Neoclassicist in 20th-century music history.

Read more
Sketch of Frederick Delius' Late Swallows

Delius in performance

Article by:
Joanna Bullivant

Joanna Bullivant explores how Delius’s compositions were brought to life by various interpreters. Did he give his performers enough information and how important are the contributions made by the famous musicians with whom he worked?

Read more
Frederick Delius, Brigg Fair

Delius's workshop

Article by:
Daniel M. Grimley

Daniel M. Grimley examines Frederick Delius's compositional routine and looks at the processes involved in assembling a large-scale musical work

Read more
Enigma variations

Exploring Elgar's 'Enigma' Variations

Article by:
Julian Rushton

Julian Rushton discusses the early history of Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations.

Read more
Vaughan Williams and The English Hymnal

Vaughan Williams and The English Hymnal

Article by:
Simon Wright

Simon Wright explores the role of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams in selecting and arranging the music for The English Hymnal

Read more
Jacksonville Harbour, Florida (1894)

Delius and America

Article by:
Daniel M. Grimley

Daniel M. Grimley considers how African American music influenced the works of Fredrick Delius.

Read more
Delius in his garden

Delius, Paris, Grez

Article by:
Lionel Carley

Lionel Carley explores composer Frederick Delius’s long association with France, and how the distinctive landscapes of Paris and Grez-sur-Loing inspired some of his most famous scores.

Read more
Instruments of the orchestra

The use of the instruments of the orchestra

Article by:
Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker surveys three orchestral masterpieces of the early 20th century.

Read more
Folksong revival in the early 20th century

Folksong revival in the early 20th century

Article by:
Eric Saylor

Eric Saylor surveys the social contexts and musical impact of the folksong revival in the early 20th century.

Read more
Music and the Russian Revolution

Music and the Russian Revolution

Article by:
Pauline Fairclough

Pauline Fairclough discusses the impact of the Russian Revolution on Russian composers’ lives and careers.

Read more

Further themes

Creative process

Find out how sketches, drafts, proofs and annotations can reveal the inner workings of a composer's mind

Music and modernism

Explore how composers after 1900 challenged and reinterpreted musical traditions

Music and place

Learn more about the impact of nationalism, folksong and a sense of place on classical music since 1900

Music and words

Discover the relationship between music and words in classical music written since 1900

Music for stage and screen

Learn more about the collaboration between composers and other artists in the creation of works for stage and screen

Music, politics and society

Discover the impact of war, political unrest and social structures on music composed since 1900

Musical style

Explore approaches to musical style in classical music composed since 1900

Performance and reception

Learn more about the performance of twentieth-century classical music and how it was received