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Edgard Varèse's Influence
Today's music, from rock to jazz, has many 1 influences. And perhaps none is as unique as the ideas from French composer Edgard Varèse. Called "the father of electronic music," he approached compositions from a different theoretical perspective than classical composers such as Bartók and Debussy. He called his 2 works "organized sound"; they did not 3 endear melodies but waged assaults of percussion, piano, and human voices. He thought of sounds as having intelligence and treated music spatially, as "sound objects floating in space."
His unique vision can be credited to his education in science. Born in 1883 in France, Varèse was raised by a great-uncle and grandfather in the Burgundy region. He was interested in classical music and composed his first opera as a teenager. While the family lived 4 in Italy he studied engineering in Turin, where he learned math and science and was inspired by the work of the artist Leonardo da Vinci.
In 1903, he returned to France to study music at the Paris Conservatory. There, he composed the radical percussion performance piece Ionisation, which featured cymbals, snares, bass drum, xylophone, and sirens wailing. Later compositions were scored for the theremin, a new electronic instrument controlled by 5 the player's hands waving over its antennae, which sense their position. No composer had ever scored any music for the theremin before.
In his thirties, Varèse moved to New York City, where he played piano in a café and conducted other composers' works until his own compositions gained success. His piece Amériques was performed in Philadelphia in 1926. Varèse went on to travel to the western United States, where he recorded, lectured, and collaborated with other musicians. By the 1950s, he was using tape recordings in 6 contention with symphonic performance. His piece Déserts was aired on a radio program amid selections by Mozart and Tchaikovsky but was received by listeners with hostility. 7
Varèse's ideas were more forward-thinking than could be realized. One of his most ambitious scores, called Espace, was a choral symphony with multilingual lyrics, which was to be sung simultaneously by choirs in Paris, Moscow, Peking, and New York. He wanted the timing to be orchestrated by radio, but radio technology did not support worldwide transmission. If only Varèse 8 had had the Internet!
Although many of 9 their written compositions were lost in a fire in 1918, many modern musicians and composers have been influenced by Varèse, including Frank Zappa, John Luther Adams, and John Cage, who wrote that Varèse is "more relevant to present musical necessity than even the Viennese masters."10 His impact is undeniable. 11
7. Which fact, if added to this paragraph, would best support the author's claims?
10. Which choice completes the sentence with accurate data based on the graphic?
11. Which sentence should be added to the end of the paragraph to summarize its central idea?
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