program music

program music Instrumental music of the 19th and 20th cent. that endeavors to arouse mental pictures or ideas in the thoughts of the listener—to tell a story, depict a scene, or impel a mood. Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, intended by the composer as program music, might be contrasted with a symphony of Brahms, which is considered as absolute music. It is so called because it relies on a "program" (an expanatory text or narrative) to explain its extra-musical associations. Examples are the symphonic poems of Liszt, and Sorceror's Apprentice by Dukas.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on program music from Fact Monster:

  • Charles Henri Valentin Alkan - Alkan, Charles Henri Valentin Alkan, Charles Henri Valentin , 1813–88, French pianist and ...
  • absolute music - absolute music absolute music, term used for music dependent on its structure alone for ...
  • Voice of America - Voice of America Voice of America, broadcasting service of the United States Information Agency, ...
  • impressionism, in music - impressionism impressionism, in music, a French movement in the late 19th and early 20th cent. It ...
  • symphonic poem - symphonic poem symphonic poem, type of orchestral composition created by Liszt, also called tone ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Theory, Forms, and Instruments