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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In this article and throughout his writings, Babbitt’s subject is “American culture, which he finds threatened by populism. Love him or more likely hate him, Babbitt presided over a contentious debate that is as important now as it was in the 50s.

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

These tactics contrast with those of composers like Janacek, Bartok and Debussy, who never advocated antagonistic battles or felt that alternative visions needed to be suppressed in babgitt name of progress” Beckerman Here again greater and new demands are made upon the perceptual and conceptual abilities of the listener. Video Games December 17, I do question whether these differences, by their nature, justify the denial to music’s development of assistance granted these other fields.

From my point of view, the composer would do well to consider means of realizing, consolidating, and extending the advantages. In politics, the protest movements of the s, the conservative ascendancy of the Reagan era, and the growth in popularity of large events like the presidential election cycle has both brought many more people into discussions of policy but has dumbed down the level of discussion.

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 lisren the public should have in artistic criticism. Faber and Faber, How did this music become relegated to such a marginal, insubstantial position in society in the first place?

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Da Capo Press, The scene was even worse at an Ionian Singers concert in Brighton this past June, dares, after sinking a substantial amount of money into advertising and promotion, a whole crowd of seventeen people showed up.

By so doing, the separation between the domains would be defined beyond any possibility of hwo of categories, and the composer would be free to pursue a private life of professional achievement, as opposed to a public life of unprofessional compromise and exhibitionism But listeb, it may be asked, will this serve to secure the means of survival or the composer and his music?

Whatever the yoh, such matters are left to professional journals. I recently attended the Second Annual Festival of American Music in London, put on by the chamber ensemble Lontano, and was sadly unsurprised that a concert full of world premiere performances managed to draw an audience of only thirty.

After all, the public does have its own music, its ubiquitous music: Granting to music the position accorded other arts and sciences promises the sole substantial means of survival for the music I have been describing. Silent Hill Shattered Memories: Eliminate all expectations about musical form and genre. Here, then, are some of the liaten determining the climate of the public world of music.

Most recently, the rise of social media has given the individual a small microphone with which to blast opinions into their small corners of the public sphere in a way that has never existed babbift. Home Shopping Cart My Requests. In short, more concerts equates to higher visibility for this music. Thankfully, this is not always the case.

Who Cares if They Listen: Milton Babbitt’s Legacy

wgo 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. This is not necessarily a virtue in itself, but it does make possible a greatly increased number or pitch simultaneities, successions, and relationships.


There is a visual aspect to musical engagement that must also be taken into account, even if it is solely in the form of marketing and does not actually add any value to the musical experience.

After all, scientific writing is complicated and it is often dumbed down for the public of understand, at which point they can express an opinion, but the same practice cannot be applied to the arts as it would change the very meaning as Babbitt suggests in priority two, not paying attention to all the markings in the score changes the music to something completely different.

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High quality home recording has become affordable for even the most dismal of budgets. But to this, a double cared is invoked, with the words music is music,” implying also that “music is just music.

One answer is that after all such a private life is what the university provides the scholar and the scientist. A Conversational Review August 7, Among them babbott the idea that music had reached an advanced level on par with other fields, like theoretical physics, in which only an elite academic class could understand and contribute to its latest developments.

Consequently, the music is little performed, and then primarily at poorly attended concerts before an audience consisting in the main of fellow professionals. Biography of a Place August 3, Open Court,—

Last modified: April 29, 2020