What's New Today is Old Tomorrow

Many things that were surprising when they were first introduced are no longer surprising now that people are used to them. For example: When many American audiences first heard the music from the Broadway musical The Lion King, the unique sounds of traditional African music were new, surprising, and "cool." Over time, as The Lion King became popular and as Americans became more familiar with African music, the rhythms and sounds of African music no longer seemed "new."

Composers express ideas through the music they create. Throughout history, composers often expressed themselves by creating fresh musical sounds that audiences had never heard before. Many composers have surprised and even shocked their audiences with their new musical ideas! But as time passes, people become familiar with new musical sounds, and the music no longer seems extreme. In this section, you will learn about composers who have had an "Xtreme" impact on music—during their lifetimes and now!