Modern - Musical Definition

Modern - Sometime soon somebody will have to come up with a new term for this period which essentially encompasses the 20th Century. Stravinsky and Debussy where among the first 'modernists', but to describe the music these composers wrote upto 100 years ago as modern seems to stretch the term.

As with other art forms, the modern period began as composers began to break down the traditional boundaries that had surrounded their art for several centuries. Debussy challenged the traditional harmonic language of music by introducing new scales such as the whole tone scale and the octatonic, whilst also radically shaking up the formal layout of his music - no Symphonies or 3 movement Concertos for Debussy, but more a flexible and fluid approach. Stravinsky, in ground-breaking Rite of Spring (1913) conducted a similar attack on the tradidional 4-square approach to rhythm. He split up beats into uneven 'additive' chunks, and was highly influential on composers throughout the rest of the Century.
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Musical examples from the Modern Period:

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