Recent developments in contemporary music in France

Contemporary music has not ceased to evolve from 1945 to the present day, as each composer and musician seeks authenticity in his creations. Here is a synthesis of recent developments in contemporary music in France.

The trend of modernity

Between 1950 and 1970, there was a trend towards modernity in relation to musical creations. In fact, four trends were noted: the first concerns the evolution of sound composition towards composition with sounds. Indeed, Edgar Varèse (1883 – 1965) began to create in this way, following the initiative of Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918). Then, the composition of sound in parameters was born by the initiative of René Leibowitz (1913 – 1972). This second trend was not as powerful as the first, but it is considered the “main stream” of contemporary French music. The third trend is associated with the love of musical theatre and improvisation. Then, the fourth trend is the willingness of composers and musicians to reconcile tradition and modernity. The works of Maurice Ohana, Olivier Messiaen and Claude Ballif bear witness to this.

Leaning towards spectral music

The spectral current was born in January 1973 when young composers joined forces to create music based on the instrumental. The roots of this new music are multiple because of the different artists who came together to create it : Varèse, Tristan Murail, Roger Tessier, Xenakis and so on. The spectral music even has a part of electroacoustic. This type of music is based on three points: the sound model used, the process and a writing style that works on the thresholds of perception. The model of sound used for the composition is of paramount importance according to the notion of spectral music, because it will be studied in different ways in order to have an authentic creation.

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