[PD] Am I alone?

Matt Barber brbrofsvl at gmail.com
Mon Mar 21 14:49:26 CET 2011

>> If you want a shortcut, take the Modernist approach--  you just
>> completely disregard the aesthetic/cultural/social context in which the
>> "art" is made, reimagine the "art" as a self-contained, closed "work",
>> and just assume that every "artist" in the world is either another
>> modernist or some primitive outgrowth of a particular process that can be
>> data mined to add a new layer of complexity to a future modernist
>> project.
> I don't object, but for some people, this is exactly the type of thing
> that could cause disillusion. Like, for the person who started this
> thread, perhaps.
> For me, that would just be one of many approaches. Not something as
> fundamental as an ideology, not that we need to define one.

The "what is music" question is the first thing we discuss in my
undergraduate composition courses. I usually find that kind of
discussion rather crass, but it's important to have it with students
who have little experience with "modern" music beyond Rachmaninov. I
have them read some Wittgenstein -- the famous passages at the
beginning of the philosophical investigations where he talks about
language games and then asks "what is a game?" and talks about "family
resemblances." The idea is to explode the essentialist position, which
amounts to having tons of sufficient criteria but almost no necessary
ones. Then I'm able to refer to the idea throughout the semester when
they're inclined not to think of say, music by Ligeti or Berio as

But really, the whole discussion feels pretty distasteful.


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