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View Poll Results: Who had the greatest impact on Western Music during the 20th century?
Louis Armstrong 17 54.84%
The Beatles 14 45.16%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 12-15-2008, 10:49 PM   #1
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Who had the greatest impact on Western Music during the 20th century?



vs



For me, it comes down to one of these two. Louis Armstrong's ensembles were the first to feature just one person at a time improvising, which was essentially one of the first time solos were used in popular music in America. The Beatles, however, were one of the first groups to have a consistent line-up, making them one of, if not the first "band", along with their exploration of recording techniques.

For me, it's Louis Armstrong. Without him, you don't have people such as Miles Davis, Coltrane, and hundreds who came after Armstrong who built on his ideas about improvisation and soloing.
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Unread 12-15-2008, 11:19 PM   #2
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Most of The Beatles' legacy is only tangentially related to music, so I'd have to say Louis Armstrong. Him or Phil "Phil Collins" Collins.
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Unread 12-15-2008, 11:24 PM   #3
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Corpsegrinder > those two

I don't know I guess I'd say Louis Armstrong. I really feel like metal is more derived from classical music than any blues/jazz/rock/etc.

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Unread 12-16-2008, 01:05 AM   #4
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Louis Armstrong. I always found his improvs entertaining, and he put a whole lot of soul into his music, which, to me is one of the most important things. The beatles music sounds bland to me...
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Unread 12-16-2008, 01:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbloth View Post
Corpsegrinder > those two

I don't know I guess I'd say Louis Armstrong. I really feel like metal is more derived from classical music than any blues/jazz/rock/etc.
Death metal vocalists sound like little girls compared to Louis Armstrong.



The Beatles were ridiculously successful, but I'm going with Louis, since jazz and blues are the foundation of rock, which is a huge part of current Western popular music, which has taken over the world.

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Unread 12-16-2008, 01:09 AM   #6
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Igor Stravinsky.

One of the seminal works of 20th century music:



I'm not sure where you're going with the idea of groups with consistent lineups...that idea has been around since the beginning of ensemble music. Likewise, improvisation's been around since before that. An ensemble where more than one person gets a solo has been around for quite a long time as well...though the formula is usually only one person per piece, this is not always the case.

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Unread 12-16-2008, 01:15 AM   #7
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^ Personally I would put Prokofiev before Stravinski. Even Stravinsky once said that Prokofiev (his pupil at the time i believe) was "the worlds greatest composer" (after himself, obviously )

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Death metal vocalists sound like little girls compared to Louis Armstrong.
So so very true.

Last edited by Daemoniac; 12-16-2008 at 01:16 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Unread 12-16-2008, 01:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ghoti View Post
Igor Stravinsky.

One of the seminal works of 20th century music:
False.

If we're going classical, then most 20th-century music was extended from pre-existing Romantic concepts, so in that regard, the 'extreme' Romanticists like Berlioz, Liszt, and Chopin would be.

Other than that, Debussy and the Nationalism and Exoticism movement produced the ground for a lot of what would become film score music.

In terms of atonality, the works of Webern were the most influential. (Schoenberg was rejected for being too Romantic)

Stravinsky composed in many forms, but he had some Neo-classicist tendencies in some regards, but Primitivism-- what one hears in the Rite of Spring-- didn't go very far.

Edit: Mischa, you post-whore. Got there first. . . .

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Unread 12-16-2008, 01:19 AM   #9
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Of the two, I'd say Louis Armstrong.
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Unread 12-16-2008, 01:22 AM   #10
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Edit: Mischa, you post-whore. Got there first. . . .
What can i say, im ....ing fantastic
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Unread 12-16-2008, 01:33 AM   #11
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That's actually not true. Webern was known for serialism (the 12-tone row), but the person to actually codify it was Schoenberg. And serialism was just one of MANY techniques of 20th century composition. For the so-called "second Viennese school" of composition, Webern was 3rd out of 3 by most critics' measure...he was acknowledged as a master of the form, but Berg was generally regarded as more talented and Schoenberg was quite a bit more popular. The point of serialism was to build a system not based on traditional chords...and it is generally distinct from atonalism in that a piece can be atonal without adhering to serialism (compare Wozzeck by Berg to almost anything Webern does).

If you're going for "impact" you need to look at what 20th century music looked like and who copied whom. One can argue who had the biggest impact on music itself, but Le Sacre du Printemps was one of the biggest influences on EVERYBODY, and Stravinsky also composed in every major style of the 20th century. One might say that he was influenced by everyone, but he also was an influence to everyone else...widely regarded by his contemporaries (and musicologists to this day) as the greatest composer of the 20th century. Prokofieff was great, Bartok was great, Britten, Debussy, Messaien and lots and lots of others were great as well...but Stravinsky is generally regarded as better.

And if you're talking about popular classical or late-romantic music influencing 20th century more, then you're basically talking about Wagner first and then everyone else (anybody who knows both Wagner and John Williams will understand where I'm going with this, not to mention any other film composer you can think of...finding one NOT influenced by Wagner is impossible, finding one not strongly influenced by him is simply difficult).

Among those two, my pick is Lois Armstrong. The Beatles definitely helped make rock more popular than it was, and did innovate, but not as much as Lois Armstrong. Of course, something like that is still almost like comparing two different-tasting fruits...

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Unread 12-16-2008, 02:25 AM   #12
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Well, true, Rite of Spring was influential, but I was thinking more in terms of creating a new "-ism," of which there's tons in the 20th-century.

I over-reacted a bit by saying it wasn't that influential, but I meant that although it had a great effect on composition, it didn't necessarily create a new paradigm. I blame other illogic on the late hour (I really need to go to bed now).

I suppose we could include bi-tonality in there, but it's primitivism didn't go far.

But yeah, Stravinsky lived for-damn-ever and composed in almost every style.

I didn't say Webern innovated Twelve-tone technique. He did give Serialism a push (twelve-tone principles applied to other stuff, like rhythm).

He, along with Berg, were Schoenberg's students, if I recall correctly.

Webern was not celebrated during his life, but later he exerted quite some influence, especially considering how little music he left.

About Wagner, yes, very influential, but this is a bit of a tail-chasing thing. Wagner weakened tonality, but it was already being quite poked by Liszt and Chopin. He was a master orchestrator, but so was Berlioz.

Anyway, I'm really tired, and my point is this:

Narrowing it down to one person as the most influential is going to be pretty futile. Schoenberg made Twelve-tone but after working in free atonality, which was established in pieces, over time, by many other composers (Liszt, Wagner, Debussy, for example). But those composers didn't come out of nowhere and create Romanticism, Beethoven opened that door from the Classic era.

Kinda like the Newton quote "I can see farther by standing on the shoulders of giants." Or something.

Most everything has precedent.

Anyway, I don't know why we're arguing this when, by the choices in the original post, this thread is focused on popular music.

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Unread 12-16-2008, 02:30 AM   #13
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Wow, apparently i have some reading to do on Classical music. I remember bits and pieces, but holy shit my knowledge is nothing lol!!
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Unread 12-16-2008, 05:28 AM   #14
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prokifiev or devin towsend.
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Unread 12-16-2008, 07:02 AM   #15
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Louis Armstrong, because I hate the Beatles.
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Unread 12-16-2008, 07:07 AM   #16
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Why isn't Slayer on this list?

(I'd vote for Mr Armstrong. I hate the Beatles too.)

I honestly just don't see the influence of the Beatles.
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Unread 12-16-2008, 11:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
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prokifiev or devin towsend.
Devin's work is excellent, but I'm not sure how influential it is. It could be my great relative ignorance of most extreme music, but I think that he's really widely respected, but not so influential.

I dislike that how influential or innovative an artist is seems to determine his/her greatness. In my Music Appreciation class (it's nowhere near as half-assed as you think) the professor said this statement twice, "There are only a small handful of absolutely undisputed musical geniuses."

He used this to preface two composers: Montreverdi and Beethoven.

But a common thread ran between them: each created or bridged epochs in music.

Montreverdi took Monody (the earliest beginnings of Opera) and the Venetian Polychoral Style (sounds scary, but it was multiple choirs and such in the lofts of a church who would play music back and forth) and created the Baroque style and pretty much singled-handedly saved opera.

Beethoven, through his sheer willpower and artistic desire, created the beginnings of the Romantic era, bridging it and the Classic.

But this kind of thinking leaves out composers such as Bach.

Bach wasn't forward-looking, nor did he create a new style. He looked 'backward' and was considered old-fashioned in his day, since he worked during the decline of the Baroque, but was sort of the Baroque super-condesensed and highly polished.

My point is that I dislike how the "pioneer aspect" is taken to be such a great determinant of artistic worth.

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Unread 12-16-2008, 05:15 PM   #18
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^ I think you can only say how influential anyone was in hindsight, and there is more than one way of being a 'great composer'. I think one should be innovation, but i also think that doing something incredible with what is already there is just as impressive
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Unread 12-17-2008, 12:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonalArchitect View Post
I dislike that how influential or innovative an artist is seems to determine his/her greatness. In my Music Appreciation class (it's nowhere near as half-assed as you think) the professor said this statement twice, "There are only a small handful of absolutely undisputed musical geniuses."

He used this to preface two composers: Montreverdi and Beethoven.

But a common thread ran between them: each created or bridged epochs in music.

Montreverdi took Monody (the earliest beginnings of Opera) and the Venetian Polychoral Style (sounds scary, but it was multiple choirs and such in the lofts of a church who would play music back and forth) and created the Baroque style and pretty much singled-handedly saved opera.

Beethoven, through his sheer willpower and artistic desire, created the beginnings of the Romantic era, bridging it and the Classic.

But this kind of thinking leaves out composers such as Bach.

Bach wasn't forward-looking, nor did he create a new style. He looked 'backward' and was considered old-fashioned in his day, since he worked during the decline of the Baroque, but was sort of the Baroque super-condesensed and highly polished.

My point is that I dislike how the "pioneer aspect" is taken to be such a great determinant of artistic worth.
I simply have to butt in here...

Opera wasn't an established art form when Monteverdi got a hold of it. It was an experiment by a group of composers in the late Renaissance/early Baroque era to re-create Greek theatre (much like the sculpture and art of the Renaissance was about re-creating/re-imagining that of Greece and Rome). Monteverdi didn't so much "save" opera as redefine and re-imagine the art form itself. He was universally reknowned as the best composer of his day, and only a musicologist (or decent student) will be able to tell you the first opera ever composed (Caccini's Orfeo, in case you need to know). Monteverdi's Orfeo and L'incoronazione di Poppea are still done to this day, unlike pretty much all of his contemporaries'.

Bach codified the whole art of counterpoint, and no one ever was better at counterpoint and fugue than he was. He is credited for espousing "equal temperment" (unjustly in the opinion of most knowledgeable musicologists). In a sense, he defined the whole major-minor "tonal" composition...this contribution was not small and was very innovative -- even though many people were doing similar things, nobody laid it out like Bach did. Not to mention the impact his music had during the Romantic period when it was "rediscovered" by Mendelssohn and others.

Beethoven bridged Classical and Romantic, but if you listen to late Mozart or Haydn, you'll hear a whole lot of Romantic-sounding stuff from them. Beethoven was revered by his contemporaries as the greatest composer of his day and influenced the course of music history...but so did people like Mozart...

I'm with you on the "pioneer aspect" thing for the most part. Though we need to honor people who do new things, sometimes new != good and sometimes a composer honored for being a pioneer is simply keeping with the growth of his tradition.

What is kind of interesting is you can make a list of Western composers from the Renaissance to Modern and those most popular are usually those regarded as the best. Exceptions abound, the example of Bach being the most famous -- Handel was more successful and regarded in their time but nowadays he's generally considered #2...Telemann, Lully, Rameau, Vivaldi, and others are all also-rans in comparison but most were more popular than Bach in that period as well.

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Unread 12-17-2008, 01:36 AM   #20
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Opera wasn't an established art form when Monteverdi got a hold of it. It was an experiment by a group of composers in the late Renaissance/early Baroque era to re-create Greek theatre (much like the sculpture and art of the Renaissance was about re-creating/re-imagining that of Greece and Rome). Monteverdi didn't so much "save" opera as redefine and re-imagine the art form itself.


Not what I meant, dude.

I don't need a ....ing lecture on what Monody is.

Here, for clarity:

Monody = going nowhere. Yes, in my argument I considered it the early protoplasmic goo that would become multicellular, gain tissue specialization and organs, and craw from the ocean to eventually become Opera.

Montreverdi took that, mixed with other stuff, and created opera.

If he didn't, maybe opera wouldn't exist. (I say maybe not because I'm doubting what Montreverdi did and require a lecture on his accomplishments, but because someone might have made something similar at a later time.)

That's what I meant by 'saved' opera.

Whatever, he created its modern form (yes, I know Wagner ....ed with the aria/recitative thing, it was a continuous glob of music, I don't ....ing care.)

And I don't know why the hell you're telling me what Bach did. He didn't create the next era in music, he fiddled with the Baroque and everything he touched turned to awesome. You say he codified counterpoint. Well, okay, so what? He wasn't the first, nor the last to practice it. Palestrina was also a master of polyphony (yes, Renaissance -style, I know, I don't need a lecture on polyphony during this time or on what the Renaissance was, or if the Pope Marcellus Mass had any impact or not).

But he didn't create the Classic style, or the Romantic style, or whatever else. I'm not here to debate what caused the acceptance of the major and minor scales over modal thinking, nor who was the greatest proponent of equal temperament tuning, or to talk about Bach's piece "Art of Fugue."

But Bach didn't pull a Beethoven and create/help bridge/seriously mess with a new art style or period in music.

Note: this post probably sounds a lot more pissed off than I am.

Edit: I have a feeling that this post will be pointless, and that I'll end up being told something about Wagner's orchestration, but I like my protoplasmic goo bit too much to delete it.

I'll just pull my santa hat down over my eyes and think about Batman fighting a bear. -TomAwesome
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Unread 12-17-2008, 03:48 AM   #21
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Wagner
Yeah i hear he was supposed to be pretty crazy

Regardless of who did what to which genres/styles of music, i think we can all at least agree that Louis Armstrong is incredible
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Unread 12-17-2008, 10:52 AM   #22
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nah, definately the beatles for influence.

Eat Shit. Billions of flies can't be wrong.
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Unread 12-17-2008, 11:10 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Demoniac View Post
Regardless of who did what to which genres/styles of music, i think we can all at least agree that Louis Armstrong is incredible


I remember first hearing him on Fallout 2. "Kiss to Build a Dream On." He has the most badass voice, and his embellished melody on the final chorus is sweet.

I'll just pull my santa hat down over my eyes and think about Batman fighting a bear. -TomAwesome
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Unread 12-17-2008, 11:12 AM   #24
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Definitely Hannah Montana, hands down, no question.
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Unread 12-17-2008, 02:17 PM   #25
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Considering the level of quality information being posted here regarding composers and the "high brow intellectualism" of the thread I really am ashamed to post the following.

1. I really, really do not like the Beatles, they are imho the most over-rated band in the history of music.
2. while I can appreciate that he most likely did influence the jazz (and other genres) musicians I like listening to I find Louis Armstrongs music too "comfortable" and "nice" to enjoy
3. where is the Slayer?
4. Devin Townsend is the my vote for the second most over-rated "performer" in the history music.

So, in summary, Armstrong.
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