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The abstract staying power of ‘new music'

The abstract staying power of ‘new music'

December 5, 2017

"The term "new music" is a confusing one: It doesn't mean all recent music, but rather something quite narrow and specific. When critics talk about "new music," they are referring to that subset of the art music tradition that is contemporary. We can't call it classical any more, because there's nothing either classic or classical about it. It may use the conventional instruments of the orchestra or it may not (it may use electronics or scissors and fishing line). It tends to be, as with all art after the early 20th century, cerebral and abstract, concerned with breaking formal boundaries and definitions. Its composers are more often than not associated with university music departments. It tends to be resistant to plebeian diversions such as melody or regular rhythm, and for this reason it is a rarefied pleasure that attracts a tiny audience..."


Related Composers: Robert Aitken, Linda Catlin Smith

Related Community Profiles: Eve Egoyan