But Can You Hear It?
Other analysts were quick to note, however, that an irreducibly arbitrary (or “notional”) element remained at the heart of Babbitt's procedure, namely the deceptively simple notated meter. Conceived solely as a container for the time points, and never articulated in terms of recurrent rhythmic or accentual patterns, Babbitt's or measure was not in fact “a measure in the usual musical metrical sense,” but (like the bars in a transcription of a “medieval” or “Renaissance” motet) just a notational convenience. Rebar the music in or , or just shift the bars an eighth note to the right or left, and everything will change for the analyst, although nothing has changed for the listener. What is analyzed, then, are the relationships that are demonstrable in the music as seen on the page, not the music as heard. Is Babbittian (Princetonian? American?) postwar serialism, then, just an enormous flowering of Augenmusik? And if it is, does that invalidate its musical quality, or its crucial truth-claims? If it does, then in what way: esthetically? scientifically? Are the two distinguishable? If so, how?
- Citation (MLA):
- Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 3 The Apex." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2015. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume5/actrade-9780195384857-div1-003014.xml>.
- Citation (APA):
- Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 3 The Apex. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Late Twentieth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 5 Aug. 2015, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume5/actrade-9780195384857-div1-003014.xml
- Citation (Chicago):
- Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 3 The Apex." In Music in the Late Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 5 Aug. 2015, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume5/actrade-9780195384857-div1-003014.xml