We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Contents

Music in the Late Twentieth Century

“REAL” VS. “PURE”

Chapter:
CHAPTER 4 The Third Revolution
Source:
MUSIC IN THE LATE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

It was the advent of the tape recorder, the development described at the beginning of this chapter, that rescued Varèse from his creative hiatus and brought about something of a futurist resurgence, coinciding with the emergence of the postwar avant-garde. That made it possible to look upon Varèse's compositions of the 1920s and 1930s not only as quaintly heroic echoes of an exhausted past but, just as plausibly, as harbingers of an abundant future. He found himself cast as a mentor to a new generation of composers, and became the only member of his generation to apply himself to the new technology of “organized sound,”25 to use the term Varèse offered (in an article published in 1940) as a means of evading “the monotonous question: ‘But is it music?’ ” The question was inevitable, since the new medium of electronic music was able at last to fulfill John Cage's prediction of 1940 and “MAKE AVAILABLE FOR MUSICAL PURPOSES ANY AND ALL SOUNDS THAT CAN BE HEARD,” and do it in a way that was entirely practicable. (Cage, too, had offered, “if the word ‘music’ is sacred,” to call the activity he foresaw “organization of sound” and the composer an “organizer of sound.”) That meant all at once admitting to the domain of music a wide variety of sounds for which no musical notation existed and to which no existing rules of composition were applicable. But as Varèse somewhat gloomily predicted in “The Liberation of Sound,” “I am afraid it will not be long before some musical mortician begins embalming electronic music in rules.”26

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 4 The Third Revolution." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2014. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume5/actrade-9780195384857-div1-004006.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 4 The Third Revolution. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Late Twentieth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 24 Oct. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume5/actrade-9780195384857-div1-004006.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 4 The Third Revolution." In Music in the Late Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 24 Oct. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume5/actrade-9780195384857-div1-004006.xml
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.