Lecture 27

Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg 


                        The entire history of modern music may be said to be a history of the gradual pull-away from the German musical tradition of the past [19th] century.              —Aaron Copland


Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) and Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) are considered the two most influential composers of the 20th century, diametrically opposed in philosophy and method. 

we will look at both composers, in turn. as each composer had his respective phases, we'll, also in turn, hear music from each style, as well.

Topics covered:


Igor Stravinsky

  • Igor Stravinsky
  • The Rite of Spring
  • Stravinsky's neo-classic style
  • Symphony of Psalms
  • Schoenberg's 12-tone technique
  • Schoenberg's 2 disciples, Webern and Berg
  • Webern's 5 Orchestral Pieces


  • hear polytonality and polyrhythm in Rite of Spring
  • understand the compositional procedure in Schoenberg's 12-tone technique
  • hear the lean intensity of Webern in his 5 Orchestral Pieces 
  • distinguish between the styles of these expressionists and the style of Stravinsky


  • watch lecture 27 (in multiple parts for quicker download)
  • review previous chapters, as necessary
  • read textbook:
  • Chapters 25 (section on Stravinsky)
  • Chapter 26 (sections on Schoenberg and Webern) 
  • As you are reading your textbook, go through the Listening Exercises in textbook sequence, listening to the examples provided.
  • regarding developing listening skills: you should be in the habit of developing your listening skills early in the game - the assignments will get more complex through the semester and you may find yourself unable to keep up. As simple as these early assignments may seem to some of you, they will help to keep you on the right track, and help you develop the skills required for a greater appreciation in listening to music, including the music that you listen to for your own enjoyment. Of course, those objectives are in total sync with the success you hope to have in this class. Remember that your ability to recognize the music on your CDs will be tested and will, of course, impact your grade. 

Audio / Video lecture

  • click lecture segments below in sequence
  • presented in several segments to reduce download time
  • total lecture time: approx. one hour 15 minutes (all segments included)
  • can be downloaded for portable media players by right clicking each segment link and choosing save option. (note: older Macs and Mac notebooks with single-button mice: control-click) 

Video Timeline for 20th Century Music (very short) 

  • some important dates and events, accompanied by music generally applicable to the period
  • To give you a better perspective on the period and its composers, 
  • I might suggest that you watch this at least twice— 
  • —once before the first lecture covering the period 
  • —once more after the last lecture covering the period. 

Lecture 27.1

Igor Stravinsky

Lecture 27.2 
The Rite of Spring
Lecture 27.3 
Schoenberg, Berg and Webern


Piet Mondrian : Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow

Edvard Munch : The Scream