PERFORMING MEDIUM: Performing groups during this era include chamber orchestras; instrumental ensembles; orchestras; choral groups; computer generated instruments (including synthesizers); and mixed media (taped sounds with traditional instruments).
RHYTHM: Complex, individual rhythms are used, and new rhythms and meters are common such as polyrhythms and polymeters.
MELODY: Melodies are often fragmented, dissonant and experimental. Depending on the form or style used, melodies could be based on scales from non-Western countries, chromatic scales, twelve-tone rows, or microtonal scales.
HARMONY: Harmony is often experimental and dissonant. Instead of all harmony being based on the interval of a third (tertian harmony, used in much of Western tonal music), harmony is sometimes based on seconds, fourths and fifths (respectively, secondal, quartal, and quintal harmony). Atonality, meaning an absence of tonality, is present in music such as twelve-tone compositions.
TEXTURE: Polyphonic textures are often used (twelve-tone music often uses homophonic texture), and music such as impressionism or aleatory music experiment with new textures using layers of different sounds.
FORM: Musical forms from previous musical periods are used, often in experimental ways.