A Guide to Classical Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries

240 TUTOR: Wendy Taylor

During this course, you will discover how classical music evolved from Romanticism to Modernism and explore the concepts of nationalism, serialism, experimentalism, impressionism and minimalism. This is very much a beginner's course and you will not need any music reading ability. The tutor will explain everything as she goes along and gently guide your ear from the 19th century into the explosive world of the 20th and 21st centuries. Delving into the 'isms' will provide a feast for the ear. Therefore, if you fancy gorging on modern-classical music then this is the course for you.

4 PM
PM course

Course Notes

This course offers an insight into 20th and 21st century classical music. The course begins with us discussing and understanding the changes from romanticism to modernism. The course is not intended for the music specialist, but is aimed at those with an interest in knowing how, what and why the changes from romanticism took place. It is a beginner course and the ability to read music or understand complex musical terminology is not necessary; all will be explained as we go along.

By the end of session five you would have listened to a range of classical music written in the 20th and 21st centuries by composers from Europe and America. By the end of the five sessions, you would have been taken on a journey of understanding, and have listened and discussed a wide range of different genres of music by numerous composers.

Monday: Session 1


We will begin our understanding of twentieth-century music by looking at the romanticism. From this we will explore the changes in thought and composing techniques. We will listen and discuss a range of different types of music by several composers before moving onto day 2.

Tuesday:Session 2


Today we will discuss the impact of Nationalism. We will listen and discuss the music of various 20th-century composers including Vaughan Williams, Bartok, Ives, Copland and Elgar to name but just a few.

Wednesday Session 3


The focus today is the impressionist school of composition. We will discuss harmonic, texture and tonality. Don't understand? Don't worry all will be explained on day 3. We will listen to the music of Debussy and finish the session by looking at the works of Eric Satie and others.

Thursday: Session 4

Serialism or 12-tone school

Today we will look at the serialism or 12-tone school of composition. We will have the process explained; we will listen and discuss the music. We will listen to the music of composers such as Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and others.

Friday: Session 5
Minimalism and Experimentalism.

We end the week with minimalism and experimentalism. In this session we will listen and discuss music that repeats and repeats and repeats, but does it? We will also look at the impact of the computer and some of the new ways that music composition is created and conceived.

Course Tutor

Wendy Taylor

About Wendy

Dr Wendy Taylor holds degrees in Music, English Literature, Educational Management, and a Ph.D. in 'English Pantomime in London from 1779 to 1786' (Cardiff University). She is a trained music teacher, and worked for many years as a Head of Music in a number of large comprehensive schools in England and Wales. She is now concentrating on writing and lecturing on her subjects. She is a published writer having located a number of unknown 19th-century theatres in South Wales. Her writing covers the full range performing arts including theatre, music and dance histories. Her hobbies are playing the piano, singing in a choir and watercolour painting.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM