Essay on Milton Babbitt 's ' Who Cares If You Listen? '

1520 Words 7 Pages
Milton Babbitt has been both a controversial composer, as well as author. In his article, “Who Cares if You Listen?”, Babbitt is quite harsh on his thoughts of contemporary music and performance as a whole. Babbitt discusses why contemporary composers, who produce “serious” and “advanced” pieces, should stop allowing their music to become accessible to the public. Instead, Babbitt calls for a restriction on their compositions and performances. He believes that the general public is uninterested and largely unable to appreciate the composer’s works. To combat that belief, Babbitt moves towards areas of the private sector and electronic media. To me, many of Mr. Babbitt’s arguments stated in his article are results of the negative experiences in his life and that of a poor interpretation of the relationship between the performer and their audience. Babbitt starts the article by identifying specific characteristics that make up contemporary music. He describes these characteristics as “priorities”, making them the fundamental basics to contemporary music as a whole. These characteristics can be summed up into four parts: a more advanced tonal language than music of the past, more advanced “functions” of the pitches involved, a higher degree of contextuality and autonomy, and an extension and advanced technique found in other musics. These qualities are true of contemporary music and Babbitt is quite accurate in his statements of so.
Yes, contemporary music does indeed have a…

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