Considering the importance of New Music.

August 10, 2012

The underlying premise of organizations like the CMC is that New Music is a worthwhile cultural enterprise. One rarely, however, encounters justifications for why New Music ought to be treated differently than contemporary pop music. Indeed, uninitiated audiences may wonder why some people make a fuss about preserving, distributing, collecting and promoting New Music. Admittedly, the genre is often avant-garde and experimental, perhaps even unaccessible. Evidently, our task is in the preservation and creation of access points wherein the larger public can begin to grasp the importance of Contemporary Art Music. This is difficult, however, when New Music is taken to be an end in itself, and those initiated to it's rites and practices view the whole enterprise as a self-justifying creative process. Composers often hold the merits of New Music to be perfectly self-evident, and rarely pause to consider how they might articulate the difference between New Music and pop music. Of course, this is in part due to the fear of demeaning another, perhaps more prominent musical genre, and form of creative expression. None the less, the challenge remains. Having given some consideration to the question of how New Music differs from pop music, I believe one of the most important facets of new music it's the commitment to a thorough understanding of the language of music it entails. Moreover, composers are highly trained, and their commitment to proper musical notation, and the heightened sensitivity to sound formal musical training involves, is commendable. Thus, to me New Music involves a stewardship of the language of music, and a willingness to use one's understanding to test the limits of this language and of one's creative capacities. The language of music undoubtedly is an end in itself.