Milton Babbitt's Article 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 …show more content…
He starts comparing music to science and research. At this point in the article, Babbitt is expressing his views about the public being kept up-to-date with highly educated research. Yet those who are aware of this research are not aware of his music. He later goes on to further state that the public claim themselves to be experts in the categories of politics and the arts. Babbitt argues that “the time has passed when the normally well-educated man without special preparation could understand the most advanced work.” What I gathered from that statement is that Milton Babbitt himself is not able to comprehend that science and music are not the same, even though they are related. Both science and music communicate forms of information, but that may be the only common connection between the two. Comparatively, the way that the two operate in communication is drastically …show more content…
Hearing the truth often hurts but it is one of the greatest ways to grow. By closing himself off to critics, to the general public, and to performers, it is not allowing contemporary music to progress. However, Babbitt wants the contemporary music field to expand and move forward, but his actions hinder any progress to be made. It is difficult for critics and the normal listener to judge Babbitt’s music for what it is. His music is based off of science and algorithms rather than an artistic approach. Babbitt is like any other artist, wanting his craft to be appreciated and welcomed. This cannot be achieved when the composer cuts off any means of communicating between his audience. Criticism is tough, but music for the composers ears only will not grow. The experiences made in performance would help bring the music from the page to audience in a much greater

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