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Virginia Anderson

Related: experimental music - 1969

Experimental Music Since 1969

Gary Tomlinson, the editor of Nineteenth Century Music and musicologist, states that we are caught in our 'web of culture,'1 a set of beliefs and attitudes which comes from our own background and environment. Hans-Georg Gadamer says further that our view of an historical period or artefact is a mediation between data available to us and our own biases stemming from our particular experience and culture.2 Given these premises, contemporary histories, histories of art of the writer's own lifetime, have the closest correlation between biases of both the writer and the artists of whom he writes. Within a given time, differences in theoretical and historical biases between groups of musical pundits, some national, others variously sectarian, may cause almost polar aesthetic judgements of contemporary works. A classic example is the Hanslick-Wagner controversy of the last century. Even more close to our own time has been the opposition of experimentalists and the avant-garde in the post-war Western world, the premises of which have a vital role in shaping our various aesthetic, historical, and theoretical assumptions today. The historians and theoreticians of the avant-garde have accepted and continued to promote the basic tenets of the mainstream of nineteenth-century music: a reliance on increasing complexity of method and a belief in an evolutionary or organic development with a mainly German national bias. Experimentalists have been more eclectic, finding inspiration in various international, non- chronological, non-organic, and artistic and philosophical sources. -- Virginia Anderson via http://www.users.waitrose.com/~chobbs/hist.html

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