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02 May 2006



Very perceptive article from a while back: The Sound of Philosophy: The musical ideas of Milton Babbitt and John Cage.

Relevant quotes:

“In fact, if Babbitt and Cage are to be believed, it is almost beside the point to talk about whether their music sounds good or sounds bad. For both composers would admit that their music does not "sound good" in the ordinary sense: instead, they would challenge that notion, and replace it with highly philosophical views that are meant to undermine our ordinary aesthetic judgments.”

“The study of music perception, in its infancy when Babbitt first developed his techniques, has flourished in recent decades. Numerous experiments have shed light on the perceptibility of the operations that are at the heart of Babbitt’s syntax. And almost all of the available evidence suggests that Babbitt’s music is well beyond the capacity of even the most expert listeners.”

Lots of other good stuff in there - even a Babbitt score, for the masochists in the audience.

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