Serial Music, Serial Aesthetics: Compositional Theory in Post-War Europe

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Serial music was one of the most important aesthetic movements to emerge in post-war Europe, but its uncompromising music and modernist aesthetic has often been misunderstood. This book focuses on the controversial journal die Reihe, whose major contributors included Stockhausen, Eimert, Pousseur, Dieter Schnebel and G. M. Koenig, and discusses it in connection with many lesser-known sources in German musicology. It traces serialism's debt to the theories of Klee and Mondrian, and its relationship to developments in concrete art, modern poetry and the information aesthetics and semiotics of Max Bense and Umberto Eco. M. J. Grant sketches an aesthetic theory of serialism as experimental music, arguing that serial theory's embrace of both rigorous intellectualism and aleatoric processes is not, as many have suggested, a paradox, but the key to serial thought and to its relevance for contemporary theory.