photo credit: Marcus Rubio
photo credit: Marcus Rubio

…definitions of music often deal with some set of surface characteristics—methods of organization.

…it is still often assumed that the organization is imposed by the composer.

…what is (often) not considered is that the act of listening is the imposition of organization.

…there is nothing objectively musical or non-musical in the sounds themselves. Rather, the sounds are organized by each individual’s conceptual framework and attention—a highly dynamic relationship between subject and object (listener and sound).

…the interpretation of the listener is part of the content of the piece.
This is always already the case, but its consideration is not always part of the composer’s.

This necessitates a degree of openness in structure. While a certain degree of shared understanding is always taken for granted…this understanding inevitably varies—in each individual and from moment to moment.

Shared understanding—I want to understand this at the most basic level.
Take Wittgenstein’s example: a pointed finger is (perhaps) the most obvious example.

My recent work has been most largely concerned with number and attempts to address it in a very basic manner. Most musics have highly developed numerical systems dealing with meter, harmony, and form. These systems are not universal. What does seem inescapably universal and intuitive, though, is our capacity and impulse to count.

Counting is temporal.

Therefore I try to deal with number in this aspect and this aspect alone. Of course whatever sounds I use will have pitch content and other associations, but any attempt to fix that content in the score would dilute and distract from the essential material (numbers in time). By making the selection of pitches/sounds and instruments arbitrary, the listener is given a chance to view the essential material—the numbers themselves—as a consequence of the relationship between the sounds themselves and themselves as listeners.

—from ‘a statement’ 4.28.13

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