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Only in the twentieth century have musicologists and other researchers successfully begun to construct a complete musical picture of such sources as the Medieval period, non-Western cultures, and the political and philosophical zeitgeists of all of the many times and cultures.
Music in the twentieth century, then, does not draw on one central and contemporary tradition to the exclusion of foreign influence, but, rather, makes use of many much more individualistic origins and inspirations as its "tradition".
In the eyes of the first kind they will probably appear as 'blacklegs', who have, by compromising with tradition, forfeited any right to he called 'progressive' at all.
And yet the self-styled revolutionaries, of whom several adorn the history of music - much as heretics adorn the history of the Christian Church - rarely reach beyond the ephemeral stage.
to explore previously uncharted territory, Messiaen himself never pursued the idea beyond that study."In his article about the British composer Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986), Francis Routh considers different kinds of 'progressive'." There are two main kinds of progressive, whether in music or in other fields of human activity.
The first kind, who may be described as the ideological iconoclasts, are far more readily noticeable than the second.
It is indeed one of the prime requisites, if you are going to put forward new methods and fresh styles, that your gestures should be both strikingly novel, if possible outrageous, and immediately recognisable. But the severe risk run by those who subscribe to it is twofold; partly that means may be mistaken for ends - the striking of a fresh posture, the adoption of an untried process, may be mistaken in itself for an art-work, which it is not; and partly that, by thus shifting the scale of values, the concept of permanent validity in the finished work becomes relative.
"This is well illustrated in the case, reported by Michael Ball, of the French composer and teacher Olivier Messiaen."In the forties and fifties Messiaen was shunned on the one hand by the new 'avant-garde' as too sweet and sentimental and on the other hand by the more conventional musical public as too austere and discordant.
Boulez in particular could not come to terms with and reacted against works like Turangalila with its rich mix of tonal and atonal language saying that he prefers the ones that remain true to one style or the other.