Music written since 1900 is called twentieth century music. There have been more types and styles of music written in the twentieth century then ever before. In the twentieth century, the only limit is the composer's imagination. This great variety of musical styles reflected the diversity of life during the early twentieth century. More people were free to choose where to live, how to earn a living, and how to spend their time. The car, airplane, telephone, phonograph, movies, and radio all made the world more accessible and expanded the range of experiences.

Technological developments have also had an influence on the twentieth century music, especially electronic music. Like all people, musicians have been affected by the political, economic, and social problems of twentieth century. Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933 had an especially dramatic impact on the lives and careers of musicians. Many composers left Europe for the United States. These refugees made huge contributions to musical culture. One of the most significant changes in components of music that formed twentieth century music is rhythm.

The modern music is full of complex rhythms and time signatures. The major reason for the increase of rhythms in twentieth century music is the development of the ballet. The second component of twentieth century music is melody. This new music moves away from the traditional melodic line that previous musical styles had developed.

Modern composers have also rejected the traditional harmony structure by developing two new forms of harmony. The melody of twentieth century music is a constant or scattered line of notes with no direct tune or phrasing. This type of melody contains large intervals and very dissonant sounds. One reason for rejecting the traditional melody is the goals of the composer. Twentieth century composers no longer have the musical goal of giving the listener a melodic line to hear and envision, but rather, a desire to create new sounds and ideas through their music.

The use of multiple time signatures is another significant component of twentieth century music. Achille-Claude Debussy is one of the most influential composers in the twentieth century. His works break away from the concepts of traditional form and harmony. He is also considered the most important composer of the piano.

Debussy began piano lessons at a very young age. Debussy's progress was so remarkable that he was able to enter the Paris Conservatory at the age of eleven. He remained at the Conservatory for over ten years. He won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1884, and by 1887 had begun attending the meetings of the Symbolist poets in Montmartre. Debussy's earliest works are mostly pieces for voice or piano solo, including the very popular piano piece Clair de lune. In 1894 he composed the orchestral tone poem, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

Starting from the year 1907 Debussy started to travel to England, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Russia to play the piano and conduct all of his works. His last work, the Violin Sonata, was performed in May 1917 with Debussy at the piano. It was the last music that he played in public, at St. Jean-de-Luz in September.

Debussy died of rectal cancer on 25 March 1918. Igor Stravinsky is also considered one of the major influences in the twentieth century. Igor Stravinsky's father, an opera singer, wanted him to become a lawyer, so when he went to college he studied law and music at the same time. The music for the ballet The Firebird made him famous as a composer, and he gave up law. When his piece The Rite of Spring was first played in public, it caused a riot. The audience made so much noise arguing about the music that the orchestra was drowned out.

The dancing and music were nothing like the audience was used to hearing, so they caused a riot at its first performance to protest this strange new work. The Rite of Spring was the beginning of modern music. Today it is considered one of the greatest musical works of the 20 th century. During the 1920's and 30's Stravinsky toured Europe and the United States, conducting and playing the piano. In 1925 Stravinsky first visited the United States. He finally moved here in 1939 and later became an American citizen.

Stravinsky's music contains some of the most original ideas of the last 100 years. He was always searching for new styles and techniques of musical expression. His works reflected and influenced important musical trends of the 20 th century. He died in New York City in 1971. In the 20 th century, the only limit is the composer's imagination. This great variety of musical styles reflected the diversity of life during the early twentieth century.

More people were free to choose where to live, how to earn a living, and how to spend their time. There have been more types and styles of music written in the 20 th century then ever before. The twentieth century is full of expression and style.