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Re: How To Evaluate-Judge-Quantify

Dick Higgins (dhiggins@mhv.net)
Wed, 4 Jun 1997 07:26:41 -0500

>
>So I thought I'd throw out a question, not coming from any particular
>opinion -- just something I was curious about: there is a school of
>American painting called "primitive" or "naive," which consists largely of
>paintings by artists with no formal training or education, many of them
>from rural areas, and the stuff is (I think) extraordinarily interesting.
>Is there any sort of a movement in contemporary music, or composition in
>particular, that resembles this? Is that even possible, or does the
>mathematical element of composing demand at least some training?

Try William Billings and Justin Morgan in the eighteenth century, Carl
Ruggles and perhaps Henry Cowell in the early twentieth century, etc. As
you noted, many composers of "art" music have required "at least some
training." Cowell was self-taught for the most part, studied privately
witrh a few friends working on specific problems, and so on-but evidently
never went past sixth grade on the formal level.

Dick Higgins

Curious about what I do? You can view some paintings at the Left Hand Books
site, <http://www.lefthandbooks.com/lhb> (these are for sale) and other
things at the Ubuweb one, Ubuweb- <http://www.ubuweb.com/vp/index3.html>
(these aren't) among others. My next book that is coming out will be:
MODERNISM SINCE POSTMODERNISM (San Diego: San Diego State University Press,
June 1997). You can get it through Amazon Books, <http://www.amazon.com>.