This issue has been raised before. However, this was in a different tonal context, with a different application of terminology, in what may have been entirely dissimilar rhetorical circumstances. The question only appears to be deceptively simple. Many and varied responses, other than the obvious answer, are equally worthy of serious consideration, I believe. I am open to hearing what anyone wants to say about the topic. These three pieces of music might help facilitate thought on the question, in spite of their limitations: Edgard Varèse: Poem Electronique. Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 1 (By way of contrast) Morton Subotnik: The Wild Bull (Part 2)

You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments!

Join Composers' Forum

Email me when people reply –


  • ...

    Why do I feel like the White Knight, being asked by Alice why Father William stands on his head?

    These phrases all have easily comprehensible meanings.

    The words “micro-digital productions” refer to the encoding of microtonal music by digital means.

    This phrase is soon to become much better known. Did you hear about delegates to the UN today, referring to a Grand Struggle against micro-terrorism, micro-digital terrorism and micro-cyber-terrorism?

    No? Neither did I. But I would not be surprised if you had heard of such things. We will probably be hearing a great deal about micro-terrorism in the near future.

    “multiphonic improvisational aerophonisms” … well, the phrase is, multiphonic improvisational aerophonism,” without the “s”. Aerophonism is a musical philosophy.

    The set of Aerophones contains any and all musical instruments that generate sound, not by themselves, but primarily by the intervention of a human being (called “the performer”) who causes a body of air to vibrate inside the instrument, without the use of strings, membranes, stones, rubber bands, vocal chords, combs or pieces of paper.

    Aerophonism is the belief in the use of such instruments as the primary and most important source of music. Iannis Xenakis was an anti-aerophonist, and worked vigorously to ban wind instruments from the stage, but was only partially successful in banishing the flute from one or two performances in France. Since the death of Xenakis, the partial decline of electronic music, and the increasing popularity of the Australian aboriginal didgiridoo, Aerophonism has seen something of a resurgence.

    Multiphonic is the opposite of monophonic, and the meaning of “improvisational” is self-evident to jazz musicians who play aerophones.

    [Beware the use of the word aerophone, however, which is not limited to wind or brass instruments. I am told that the “whip,” when used as a musical instrument (and the siren), can also be called aerophones].

    “eclectic abandon” This phrase refers to the alleged (and much maligned) tendency to combine WILDLY AND WITH NO DISCRETION OR RESTRAINT many apparently unrelated methods of composition at the same time and in the same work, by the same composer.

    [Sorry, I don’t know anything about “provincial abandon,” since I have never lived in Canada, or another country which uses the “province” as a unit of administration].

    “in the presence of strong intervals.” This is standard musicological terminology. For example, consider the phrase:

    “Much like the weak and strong beats, there are weak and strong intervals.”


    “Music Tech Class Assignment 3


    According to this instructor,

    “The strong intervals are: Unison, third, sixth, and octaves

    “The weak intervals are: second, seventh

    “The two intervals that can be strong or weak are: fourth, fifth….”

  • Of course not?

    So what is there to prevent it from happening?

    Is it the "strong intervals" that prevent "eclectic abandon," or do you see something else going on?

This reply was deleted.