Second Viennese School  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Second Viennese School is the term generally used in English-speaking countries to denote the group of composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils and close associates in early 20th century Vienna, where, with breaks, he lived and taught between 1903 and 1925. Their music was initially characterized by post-Romantic expanded tonality and later, following Schoenberg’s own evolution, a totally-chromatic expressionism without firm tonal centre (often referred to as atonality) and later still Schoenberg’s serial twelve-note technique. Though broadly speaking this common development took place, it was not always at the same pace or in the same way. Nor was it a direct result of Schoenberg's teaching - which (as his various published textbooks demonstrate) was highly traditional and conservative, and did not include discussion of his serial method - but rather due to the influence of his creative example.

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