Monday, April 23, 2012
From a Diary: I:xxiii
We know, more or less, what music is and we know, more or less, how to make more of it. We recognize music as music when we choose or happen to hear it, and we can judge — to some reliable level of agreement — if music is well played or well sung. There are established and known repertoires, some of which steadily add new elements, without much disturbing the identity of the repertoire as a whole. Most music works that way, certainly the kinds of music that sells well in recorded forms, gets radio play, wins prizes and gets commissioned by big institutions. (Yes, our School of Musical Quietude.) But if this is the case, then maybe I'm not actually interested in most music so much as in the musical, or more exactly, in the extent and limits of the musical. And, I'm optimistic enough to insist that the extent and limits of the musical are an unknown, that we're not altogether sure how to make more of it, and the only way to find out is to compose, accepting the risk that one has pushed the boundary of the musical well beyond, well, music.