was a cultural movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the start of the 20th century.
sought to express emotional experience rather than a physical reality. term often associated with amotional angst. (painting: Mumch, The Scream)
In music, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg, the members of the Second Viennese School, wrote pieces described as expressionist (Schoenberg also made expressionist paintings). What distinguished these composers from their contemporaries such as Maurice Ravel, George Gershwin and Igor Stravinsky is that expressionist composers self-consciously used atonality to free their artform from the traditional tonality. They also sought to express the subconscious, the 'inner necessity' and suffering through their highly dissonant musical language. Erwartung and Die Glückliche Hand, by Schoenberg, and Wozzeck, an opera by Alban Berg are examples of expressionist works.