Thesis: In Stravinsky’s nature inspired “Rite of Spring”, he uses the aspects of fragmentation, disjunction and stratification to express the 20th century aesthetics if modernism.
First Paragraph: talks about the fragmentation in this piece, meaning the breaking up of the music into smaller parts
Second Paragraph: I will transition into the disjunction in the piece, explaining the short gestures and that there is not a lot of connection between the different sections
Third Paragraph: I will transition from disjunction to my final point of stratification, or the different layers of music throughout the piece
Igor Stravinky’s “Rite of Spring” was the most influential piece of music in the 21st century. It made an extensive impact on the way music was played and listened to. At the time, this work was not accepted by the people who came to the ballet, the music even induced a riot to occur at its opening. This is because of the new style of music that broke altogether from the Romantic past, modernism. Modernism was a completely different approach to the world of music, making music sound chaotic or unstable. The music was known to reflect the turmoil in the world going on at its specific time. In Stravinsky’s nature inspired, “Rite of Spring”, (minutes 6:20-7:30) he uses the aspects of fragmentation, disjunction, and stratification to express the 20th century aesthetics of modernism.
Because there is an unclear phrase structure throughout the piece, there was bound to be fragmentation occurring rather often. Fragmentation is the breaking up of music into smaller parts. This can be seen in the piece when the timpani’s played at 6:32, 6:36 and some other parts. It plays two distinct deep notes one after the other, causing the seemingly longer parts to be shortened by the timpani. This puts the measures into fragments, which makes it hard to discover a meter or phrase throughout the piece. The melody, played by the strings, is what the timpani cuts into these non-distinct fragments. One of the major qualities of 20th century modernism, fragmentation, was definitely heard throughout this section of Rite of Spring.
In addition to the fragmentation heard, there are also plenty moments of disjunction, another large aspect of the modernism era. Disjunction is the short gestures heard throughout the piece, making the connection between sections seem non-existent. This can easily be heard in the time slot from 6:44-7:00. When the brass comes in for their short sections, it sounds random and disconnected. This is because the percussion, piccolo and string instruments are all playing a completely different thing at the same time that the brass is coming in. This texture gives the feeling of the oxymoron, an organized chaos. I could not find one distinct melody in this section, but the brass definitely did stick out when it made its musical appearance. The disjunction heard in this particular part was very evident, providing yet another from of 20th century modernism.
The form of modernism that was witnessed most not only in this section of music, but the whole piece, was stratification. Stratification is the different layers of instruments being played at the same time. It is seen frequently but to focus on one section, seconds 7:10-7:30, contains a great deal of this form. You can hear the different layers specifically in the strings, timpani sections, brass instruments, and the woodwinds. They all add various timbers to the piece that give it the structural layers that stratification consists of. The various layers give the piece more texture and it is still unknown to where the melody lies.
Taking aspects from the primitive world of tribal sacrifices and traditional dance music from Russia, it was no surprise that people were astonished when this music was first laid upon their ears. The modernistic style that Stravinsky brought into the world changed the pathway of music forever. People at the time would’ve called it terrible or just “noise” but currently we are able to establish the true art behind Stravinsky’s modern ideals. He brought the qualities of fragmentation, disjunction and stratification to life, giving a brand new meaning to music in the world.