Notes on Playing with Play on Notes: Babbitt's Music as Recompositional Puzzle

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Abstract

Milton Babbitt's Play on Notes for children's voices and bells (1966) has become a standard piece for analysis in university-level post-tonal theory curricula. This article presents a new recording of the work, along with a new way of approaching it analytically. This analytical approach requires us to recompose the piece itself, by finding nontrivial ways to alter its structure while simultaneously keeping the work's essential character intact. The benefits of such an activity emerge from this article's presentation of seven revisions exploring different aspects of the original piece's unique structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-312
Number of pages16
JournalMusic Theory Spectrum
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Music

Keywords

  • Milton Babbitt
  • combinatoriality
  • post-tonal pedagogy
  • twelve-tone music

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