In history: ca1900-ca2000


The first quarter of the 20th century demonstrates a renewed interest in extended piano techniques, revisiting clusters, glissandos, the inside of the piano (Langgaard, Grainger), and silently depressed keys (Schoenberg, Ives, Berg, Stravinsky), developing the prepared piano (Satie, Delage, Ravel), and starting the pioneering effort of systematically exploring the potential (Henry Cowell).

From the 1930’s to the 1950’s, The USA shows a specific interest in connecting the extended piano to percussionts entrance to the scene of improper piano playing, with Varèse, Russel, and – of course – John Cage, who goes on to represent the first strive for synthesis in the period 1950’s-1963 (from integration to the extremes, from indeterminacy to the action piano). Other notable developments: Hovhannes (exotism), the “New York School”, Dlugoszewski’s “timbre piano”, popular music, and LaMonte Young’s minimalism and word pieces.

In between the 1940’s and 1961, Europe (especially Boulez, Stockhausen, Kagel) saw a worthwhile link to serialism, musique concrète, and its own ideas on synthesis as well as percussion.

From the 1960’s onwards, there is consolidation and growth, with fluxus, a renewed interest in the organ, Crumb and Michael von Biel, education, the bowed piano, pianist-operated electronics, instrumental musique concrète, more popular music, and a move towards the extended piano as part of a whole world of music.