Soviet Union Polemicist On Jazz Music:

“The dry knock of an idiotic hammer penetrates the utter stillness. One, two, three, ten, twenty strikes, and afterwards a wild whistling and squeaking as if a ball of mud was falling into clear water; then follows a rattling, howling and screaming like the clamor of a metal pig, the cry of a donkey or […]

This is Your Brain on Music

Now that I’m done with Mr. Sacks, I’ve moved on to Levitin’s This is Your Brain on Music. While Musicophelia was much more focused on anecdotal discussions of evidence, Levitin gets much deeper into details of music theory and research. In a way, this was the book I was hoping to read when I picked […]


I am finally working my way through Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, about four years after I received the book as a gift. While the reading is mostly anecdotal, there are also some general ideas that I find are spot on and others that are wildly inaccurate. I’ll start with the end of the opening chapter […]

A Famous Composer Agrees With My Interpretation of Ego In Aleatoric and Totally Serial Music

Aleatoric, in the ‘rationalists’ usage, means dependent on chance or, in the usage of the advocates of New Music, set free from the ‘subject’.

Here the subject is clearly meant to be the composer’s ‘ego’.

But even if the ‘integral rationalisation’ succeeds and everything is ‘calculated’ in advance down to the last detail, there must […]

Some Notes On Open Hearts

Whatever music might do, it does only when one approaches it with an open heart and shares actively in its being.

~Ernst Krenek

Today I was reading a blog post about Minimal music and boredom by Andrew Lee on and some good points were made.

Last May, I had the wonderful opportunity […]

It’s Easy to Pick on Dead People (v. Krenek No. 234362)

I’m combing my way through Krenek’s set of essays Exploring Music, and it’s providing some great insight into the man and his beliefs. His vignette on Milhaud that I wrote about before was really cool. I’m currently digesting ‘New Humanity and Old Objectivity’ and some of his views on vernacular forms of art (pop music […]

Gender Roles and Krenek

Let me start off this post by noting that Krenek was a very smart man, but lived in a period where in much of Western Democracy, the right for women to vote was limited for much of his youth (In Switzerland for more than half his life!), and that feminist ideas had not wholly penetrated […]

On a Better Discussion of Serialism

While reading more and more of this Krenek Biography, I came across a foot note that spoke a bit about the definitions of serialism and how Krenek used the term:

“Serialism” is often used to designate the twelve-tone technique, in which case the term “total serialism” or “integral serialism” refers to the technique in whichall […]

A Parallel Idea

Because in serial music gestalt is the result of ordering made prior to its creation, the freewheeling inspirational invention of “themes” is virtually impossible, which also eliminates the concept of “development.” Thus the perception of serial music rests upon different premises. The interest it evokes emanates from what it has to offer at any moment […]

Heideggerian Ontology in a Letter to Krenek!

It is not true, and I have never believed, that a contemporary artist must obtain a sociological understanding of the present in order to be able to work. I cannot believe other than that the true artist makes these sociological significances and relationships visible, as it were, in an unconscious way.

Letter from Friedrich Gubler […]