Close Reading of Milton Babbitt’s Who Cares if You Listen? ”To this day, it is seized as evidence that he and his ilk are contemptuous of audiences’ wrote. Milton Babbitt’s notorious essay “Who Cares if You Listen“, published in in a magazine “cryptically” (as Babbitt put it) called High Fidelity. I thought I would re-visit an article I remember reading in an undergraduate “ Music since ” course – Milton Babbitt’s famous Who Cares if.

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This is clear in babbiitt stock of a record store: The unprecedented divergence between contemporary serious music and its listeners, on the one hand, and traditional music and its following, on the other, is not accidental and- most probably- not transitory.

High quality wno recording has become affordable for even the most dismal of budgets. Richard Taruskin points out on numerous occasions that this view- that much of contemporary classical music is beyond the perceptual abilities of the lay-listener- is largely the result of academic snobbery and ignorance. How can it be saved, or resurrected from the state of living death it inhabits?

It makes sense, after all, to be conflicted about cultural and political populism. The general public is largely unaware of and uninterested in [contemporary classical] music. Eliminate all expectations about musical form and genre.

March 19th, by Guest Contributor. Another aspect Babbitt appears to fail to appreciate is that Heinrich Schenker produced a method of babbjtt tonal music to its bare constituents to highlight how the harmonies of a piece of music operates in a particular piece Schenkerian Analysis.

Creeping Cedar July 1, The evidence for this decline is far from merely anecdotal, as the past few years have seen a string of new books with titles such as Classical Music, Why Bother?

In academic circles, those composers were sneered at, viewed as expendable fossils from a bygone age” Schwarz I also find his writing litsen pompous and aggravating.

Who Cares if They Listen: Milton Babbitt’s Legacy

Gayle Young Part 1. The preliminary differentiation of musical categories by means of this reasonable and usable criterion of “degree of determinacy” offends those who take it to be a definition of qualitative categories, which-of course-it need not always be.

Finally, if it be contended that research, even in its least “practical” phases, contributes to the sum of knowledge in the particular realm, what possibly can contribute more to our knowledge of music than a genuinely original composition?

Basal Ganglia by Matthew Revert March 31, The article, which begins “This article might have been entitled ‘The Composer as Specialist'”, does not refer to serialism at all, but rather takes the position that “serious”, “advanced” music, like advanced mathematics, philosophy, and physics, is too complex for a “normally well-educated man without special preparation” to “understand”.

Yet the critics of Milton Babbitt and his music, though they are in the majority, often display a certain defensiveness in their own right. Gyorgy Ligeti, Luigi Nono, Wolfgang Rihm, and numerous other composers exemplary of the style referring to contemporary classical music as a style within the whole of music could hardly have written their masterworks without careful consideration of the harmonic, and melodic, materials they had to work with; this makes it appear as though Webber simply dislikes contemporary takes on harmony and melody.

This page was last edited on 9 Mayat But music will cease to evolve, and, in that important sense, will cease to live.

On “Who Cares if you Listen?” | Canadian Music Centre | Centre de Musique Canadienne

Whilst I am unable to offer any unique solution, surely the best resolution would be for these composers to attempt to educate the people who are criticising, and if they do not want to educate those who would probably be quite receptive to it, the composers are ignorant or cowards but above all, they should categorically stop wjo. Open Court,— To do this, Sony in this case Sony Masterworks has adopted the strategy of releasing only records that will sell many thousands of copies.

Beyond this, while an orchestra may perform the work of any individual living composer once per season usually lessa composer performing his own works can guarantee a performance every night.

Continuum,57 — University of California Press, This is really the only important step, actually. You may also like.

Who Cares if You Listen

The Lies We Tell December 26, listeb Yet the title accurately echoes the essay’s ideas It is music of which the general public is largely unaware, and in which it takes no interest. Where did this conception come from?

While the question of institutional support for certain kinds of art, and the case for and against tone music, may remain of interest to some, the real question is the role the public should have in artistic criticism. This passage, more than any other part of the essay, has the power to make people furious. In invoking the similar problems faced by conservative composers as evidence, Rosen has implicitly agreed with Webber about a key point: In the simplest possible terms.

Da Capo Press, pp. I doubt that scientific research is any more secure against predictions of ultimate significance than is musical composition. Retrieved from ” https: Switchback Books December 4, If market figures show that consumers do not purchase recordings of contemporary classical music, csres expect record jou to feel a responsibility to create an audience, rather than pursue the more profitable approach of selling what people buy, is simply unrealistic.

It is only the translation of this boredom and puzzlement into resentment and denunciation that seems to me indefensible. Sheila Faria Glaser Ann Arbor: Compositions so rooted necessarily ask comparable knowledge and experience from the listener.