Art music

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Art music is a definition of musical styles that should be assigned to a (European) high culture , which, in contrast to other forms of music with certain functions - such as program music or dance music - are viewed as autonomous art . Due to the further development of the concept of art, it is differentiated from folk music and the music of the subcultures . In contrast to the term serious music , which is sometimes used synonymously, which is intended to distinguish itself from entertaining music , the emphasis is on the artistic and cultural claim of a work.


Until about the 19th century , art music can be defined quite clearly as the music of the upper social classes that fulfills courtly or ecclesiastical functions. Dances and song variations in particular introduced lutenists to art music. The claim to autonomy arose with the upheavals of the 18th and 19th centuries, in which the emerging bourgeoisie developed their own art and music institutions, which became the bearers of the relevant art music. In the 20th century the delimitation becomes more difficult with increasing pluralization of society . The clearly closed circles of society that previously carried the concept of art music are dissolving, while the cultural (educational) offerings that are opening up have given broader social classes access to all sides of the music business. In the wake of competing avant- gardes, the concept of art gets caught up in a dispute between a classicist - academic view and a belief in progress that culminates in Adorno's "Canon of the Forbidden". Although the music itself was composed plural at the beginning of the avant-garde, at the beginning of the 1970s the idea finally collapsed that art music was going through a linear movement of progress ( postmodern discussion). At the same time, all western music trends from jazz to heavy metal are represented by their fixation and distribution in sound recordings , so that they are equal to concert music in terms of recording accuracy in another medium. The decisive factor in this argument is the repeatability from another medium, which is guaranteed by a score , as by an audio recording. In analogy to the visual arts and their main currents since the 1970s ( pop art , conceptual art , derivations from the ready-made idea such as "relational art"), it can be assumed that the term can in fact no longer be limited to the successor developments of bourgeois concert music . Creative processes in the field of contemporary art music are the subject of numerous empirical studies (see also composition ).

Art music and new music

The artistic and cultural value of a work has not only been difficult to measure objectively since the end of serialism . Generally binding criteria for art music, such as exact definition in notation (similar to manual criteria in painting), can no longer be established because works that have become the most important, e.g. B. work with aleatoric or improvisation , are commonly counted as art music without showing any uniform formal characteristics. It is increasingly no longer possible to “refer to material properties that define a clearly definable musical sphere.” Styles of art music in the context of New Music , as defined “by clearly definable grammars with material, technology, understanding of time, aesthetics, semantics and performance are " , according to Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf 2007:" Minimalism , postmodernism , complexism , negativism , spectralism , algorithmic composition and neoconservatism . "

Other genres meanwhile also make art claims that can no longer be rejected on the basis of formal-aesthetic criteria. This was first of all the case in jazz and has now reached individual representatives of practically all genres who, independently of new music, create differentiated, innovative and highly individual works based on their respective fields. The already questionable exclusion criterion of functionality (e.g. dance music) no longer applies here. Art music, especially the new, insists on the progress of the material in the sense of a rationalization of the composition process or thematic condensation in order to recognize an artistic achievement .

If, according to Pierre Bourdieu, artistic rank arises from the ability to classify oneself in the existing artistic field, as a result of the delimitation described above, current new music is now primarily defined institutionally. With their orientation towards training paths (studying with composers who are established in professorships), prizes, festivals and commissioned works, their criteria therefore seem to be only academic . Similarly, GEMA classifies works into the categories "E" and "U", primarily according to the place and context of the performance.


Since the genres competing with New Music have developed independent institutions including a music criticism, the dispute over the art monopoly of New Music is almost exclusively conducted with access to subsidy money based on the argumentation of a cultural special position. While a monopoly on subsidies for new music was defended with reference to the existence of a culture industry , the upheavals brought about by digitization have deprived a large part of the genres of a considerable part of the economic basis, so that one can hardly speak of an industry. Under these economic conditions, the term art music comes under pressure again, since representatives of all genres now have to argue either a special position or special social relevance in order to be taken into account in funding measures. Conversely, the organizers of institutional art music festivals are also increasingly taking into account the perception that society's assessment of what art music is has shifted significantly, and they perform prominent musicians with a non-academic background. The demarcation difficulties are shifting from discussions of direction within New Music to direct competition between different genres. The autonomy requirement for art music following Theodor W. Adorno is particularly under fire . Instead, reference is made to an intrinsic logic of musical developments.

Web links

Commons : Art music  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Emil Bernhardt: What does "art music" mean? In: Art MUSIC. Writings on music as art. 10, 2008, ISSN  1612-6173 , pp. 4-8.
  2. ^ Adalbert Quadt : Lute music from the Renaissance. According to tablature ed. by Adalbert Quadt. Volume 1 ff. Deutscher Verlag für Musik, Leipzig 1967 ff .; 4th edition, ibid. 1968, Volume 2, Preface (1967).
  3. Collins, Dave (ed.): The act of musical composition. Studies in the creative process. Farnham, 2012; Donin, Nicolas / Féron, Francois-Xavier: “Tracking the composer's cognition in the course of a creative process: Stefano Gervasoni and the beginning of Gramigna”. In: Musicae Scientiae, 0/2012, 1-24; Tasos Zembylas , Martin Niederauer: Practices of composing: sociological, knowledge-theoretical and musicological perspectives. Wiesbaden, 2016.
  4. Roger Behrens in conversation with Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf about the project of a critical theory of music. You would have to rebuild the entire music system. In: Wolfgang Bock / Sven Kramer / Gerhard Schweppenhäuser - Journal for Critical Theory, 24/25 (2007) [1] at , p. 215
  5. Pierre Bourdieu: “The literary field. Critical preliminary remarks and methodological principles (1984) "In:" Schriften zur Kultursoziologie 4th Volume 12.2 "2011, pp. 334 ff.
  6. ^ Stefan Goldmann: "Everything popular is wrong" (2010) [2] . German translation: "Everything popular is wrong", printed in: TAZ die tageszeitung, August 5, 2011.