LANGUAGE AND GAMES OR ON POSTMODERN MUSIC
Languages of publication
The first distinguishing sign of the postmodern idiom is the restoration of faith in traditional subjects. This means a return to melodiousness, rhythmicity, shaping the form on the basis of models tried throughout history - in other words, a return to the past and to musical tradition, which at one time was consciously rejected by modernist '-isms'. However, postmodernism is not a simply a reaction to modernism, nor is it anti-modernism. The return to traditional subjects appears here as a result of a reworking of all musical heritage, in which modernism is also a tradition of a kind. Postmodernism does not give up modernity, but changes the way it is understood. Restraining the meaningless chain of modernist negations, of vetoing each new proposal in turn in the name of progress, postmodernism proposes a modernity which can be described as a simultaneity of the non-simultaneous; it means accepting and probing everything, without fear of looking backwards, but also without withdrawing into history. This attitude gives rise to a new feature, not encountered before, which marks the stylistic framework of postmodern music; this feature is double coding. The postmodern artist is a double agent, who closes the distance between the expert and the layman, who knows how to encode the content of his work in such a way as to make it accessible to different audiences. In analysing selected musical works composed after 1975, the authoress distinguishes four basic variants of postmodernism, each of which emphasises slightly different aspects of pluralism and double musical coding: (1) historical postmodernism, which employs familiar elements of styles of the past in order to find new meanings and contexts for them, or simply to play with them; (2)dialectical postmodernism, where various musical dialects encounter each other in order to create a new, multi-level language; (3) anarchic postmodernism, or radical eclecticism, where everything can be combined with everything else, and the elements of different musical languages are selected and juxtaposed ad hoc, depending on the aesthetic-sound quality requirements of the moment; and, finally (4) syntactic postmodernism, which turns to the syntax and stylistics of past eras in order to create on their basis its own, original musical language.
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier