The Legacy of the Avant-Garde




Roger W. H. Savage



                    In the ninth of his theses on the Philosophy of History, Walter Benjamin refers to Klee's painting Angelus Novus allegorically as "how one pictures the angel of history."[1] The angel's face, writes Benjamin, "is turned toward the past.  Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet.  The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.  But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them.  This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward."[2]  This storm, concludes Benjamin, "is what we call progress."[3]


                    Written under the darkening tide of German National Socialism, Benjamin's interpretation proved to be bleakly prophetic.  But has this apocalyptic vision of history been exhausted?  If history is the counterpart of progress and progress qua technological modernization is the chief instrument of history, the anticipation of a future horizon as a dimension of history is conspicuously absent.[4]  And yet are new compositional practices, new forms and new meanings not anticipated in a critical interpretation of past innovations?  Whereas Benjamin's angel, blown blindly into the future can only observe the unheeded catastrophe of history that marks his progress, can we not appropriate the forces at work?  Questions of modernity and its interweaving of progress and history, and of the postmodern emptying of traditional historical categories, opens up the possibility for reflecting upon developments in the style and language of twentieth-century music since the Second World War.  Boulez's serial music and Cage's indeterminate works, in particular, involve problematics closely related to questions of modernity and postmodernity.  My interest in these questions stems as much from my own attempt to understand contemporary compositional developments as it does from the need to come to terms with the aporias that orient works today.


                    From a contemporary standpoint, the cultural renaissance following the Second World War marked a new beginning for music in Europe.  This was already evident in the early Darmstadt years, when composers such as Boulez and Stockhausen introduced and refined new serial techniques.  As the aesthetics of this rediscovered realm of musical discourse increasingly came to dominate the language of modern works, counter developments emerged.  Some, such as those in Boulez's Third Piano Sonata and Stockhausen's Klaviersthck XI, grew out of contradictions within the language itself.  Others, such as Ligeti's Apparitions, exploited these contradictions to transform crystalline structures into the spectre of a logical, formal process.[5]  Cage's innovative use of indeterminacy in America represents yet another counter development with its own sphere of influence.  But for all that distinguishes stylistic practices as divergent as these, and as much as their different aesthetics seem to be irreconcilable, they are a part of the history that is the legacy of the avant-garde.


                    In doing justice to this legacy, the emancipation of the dissonance serves as an interpretive relay.  Adorno, in his Aesthetic Theory, sees dissonance as the trademark of modernism.  Dissonance, he writes, "has almost become a kind of constant in modernism."[6]  Peter Bhrger, in his book Theory of the Avant-Garde, by and large agrees with Adorno's understanding of the role of dissonance in the modern work of art, in that such a work negates a "specific kind of unity, the relationship between part and whole that characterizes the organic work of art."[7]  This difference between an organic and a specifically modern work of art thematizes dissonance in works where autonomy and social mediation collide.  Dissonance becomes symptomatic of the modernity of the avant-garde by marking out the convergence of what Adorno sees as "the immanent dynamic of autonomous works of art and the growing power of external reality over the subject".[8]  More importantly, the dissonance of this dynamic, worked out stylistically by means of the fragment, contributed as much to the marginalization of modern music as it did to its immanent self-destruction.[9]

                    The difficulties within Adorno's Aesthetic Theory and his understanding of the normative value of the avant-garde parallel this self-destruction in the marginalization of praxis within his critical theory.   Within this context, his reflections on the social and artistic dimensions of dissonance provide another important interpretive relay for understanding developments in music in the latter half of this century.  His philosophical writings interweave with those on art and music, and Schoenberg's treatment of dissonance held a particular significance for his thinking.  Schoenberg's innovations have in fact played a pivotal role in twentieth century music.  His twelve-tone method bridges the hiatus separating the fragmentation of musical language in the atonality of expressionism from its reconstitution by the new rhetoric of serialism.  But at the same time this bridge, for which Schoenberg's method is the foundation, represents only a partial, negative resolution to the problematics that originate with the emancipation of the dissonance.  We need only recall Boulez's critical remarks concerning Schoenberg's misunderstanding of his own discovery, or Cage's rejection of its implied social ethic.  Boulez's aesthetic stance opposes what he identifies as the essential cause of Schoenberg's failure, that is, Schoenberg's "profound misunderstanding of serial functions as such, functions engendered by the very principles of series."[10]  Cage, whose use of indeterminacy represents a categorical rejection of those same principles, developed processes that carry opposition to Schoenberg's method, and its representation of "a society in which the emphasis is on the group and the integration of the individual in the group"[11] in another direction.  Both Boulez and Cage each interpret Schoenberg's project in terms of its failure.  But its interpreted failure has a two-fold orientation.  On the one hand, Schoenberg's refusal to fully implement the potential of his discovery can be interpreted as a failure on the technical level.  On the other hand, this failure corresponds to the unfulfilled project of the avant-garde to develop a form of praxis that impacted upon social reality.  Whereas Boulez takes a positive view of the potential of Schoenberg's twelve-tone system without taking into account the value of dissonance as a negative determinant, Cage rejects that potentiality out-of-hand.  In the final analysis, the respective positions they adopt reflect their different understandings of the precedent set by Schoenberg and his twelve-tone method, and determine the orientation of their particular compositional styles.


                    The interpretive solutions that Boulez and Cage develop are codified in the particular compositional practices that form stylistic features of serial composition and indeterminacy.  Many impulses have contributed to the dichotomous nature of these developments, not the least of which is the bifurcation of instrumental rationality and the subject-object split.  Adorno and Horkheimer have made us aware of the seemingly irremedial aporias of irrationality within the field of rational determinacy.  The modernist critique of the Enlightenment project has as its postmodern counterpart the deconstruction of rational utopianisms.  These modern and postmodern images echo in the works of Boulez and Cage, in the specific innovations that respond to particular, historically situated problematics.  In fact, the critical potential of modern music is bound up with the way that works of a monumental status reflect contemporary developments all the more clearly because of the distance that sets them apart.


                    Of the works that contribute to the repertory of post-war music, Boulez's oeuvre stands out for its radically innovative style and its refusal to compromise.  The polemical tone Boulez adopts in his theoretical writings is indicative of his aesthetic commitment to the new rhetoric of the serial language.  In fact, the specifically serial universe he identifies with the birth of serial thought in Webern's Concerto has its ethical complement in the "purity and rigor"[12] of a musical discourse reduced to the articulation of serial functions.[13]  In Structures 1a, this discourse aligns the serial language with its systematic reduction to its zero point.  Ironically, works composed strictly in accordance with these tenets tend to dissolve into aurally undifferentiated pointillistic arrays, calling into question basic premises of a serial theory of composition.


                    Two of Boulez's compositions stand out as significant transitional works that further codify the stylistic impetus of his serial initiative.  Le marteau sans maTtre forms a musical polemic directed against the form of discourse adopted in Structures 1a; the aleatoric dimension of the Third Piano Sonata codifies on a formal level principles of the new rhetoric instantiated in Le marteau. 


                    In Le marteau sans maTtre, processes of structural differentiation supersede the systemic homogeneity of serial functions applied to Structures 1a.  The generation of second order pitch fields by multiplication techniques, techniques which Boulez discusses in Boulez on Music Today, and the imbricated functions that Siegele identifies as stylistically significant in his analysis, produce the serial deformations that in turn give to the work its "highly differentiated structure".[14]  By expanding upon the operative processes constitutive of the work's semantic universe, the new rhetoric of Le marteau, polemically related to the uni-dimensionality of Structures 1a, supersedes the reduction to its zero point of Boulez's preferred musical language.


                    The stylistic shift toward structural differentiation in Le marteau represents a strategic enfolding of indeterminacy within the new rhetoric.  Paul Ricoeur characterizes the semiological orientation of the new rhetoric as proceeding from a "revolution within a revolution, which confers a sort of crystalline purity on the postulates of Saussurism."[15]  In Le marteau, differentiated structures that are only "irregularly reducible"[16] to the original series retain a certain relation with the zero degree of the musical language while deviating from it.  At the same time that the identity of form and content remains paradigmatic, these new structural figurations replace the stasis that marked the convergence of automatistic processes and indeterminacy in Structures 1a.  On the one hand, the work's inferred unity and structural coherence derives from the correspondence between formal determinations and compositional matrices.  On the other hand, however, the inclusion of an element of spontaneity at the syntagmatic level marks a slippage that is both already accounted for and anticipated at the formal level.[17]  While I recognize that Le marteau sans maître is a serial masterpiece, I also believe that the advance it represents is in large part due to the more sophisticated language of the techniques in which the matrix doubles as a means of integrating serial components by assigning to them a uniquely differentiated value.[18]  As a formal precompositional category, the matrix governs the possible configurations of materials by coordinating the various parts.  The spontaneous character of the work is not as strangely at odds with its so-called mathematical determinations as H.H. Stuckenschmidt finds it to be.[19]  Enclosed within the matrices from which they are derived, figures unfold in a way that is constitutive of the work's aura, marking a point of convergence with Cage's indeterminate practices.  The kaleidoscopic reconstruction intended in the aleatoricism of the Third Piano Sonata is as much an extension on the level of form of the new rhetorical devices instantiated in Le marteau as it is a way of bridging the bifurcation of two compositional streams.[20]  The conflation in Le marteau of rhetorical figures and serial processes in the Third Piano Sonata corresponds to the stylistic incorporation of an element of indeterminacy at the level of form in which the `vector-matrix' of fragmented and reconstituted structures has an invariant function; in Daniel Charles words, it "remains a token of unity-uniqueness".[21]


                    John Cage's use of indeterminacy as a compositional technique seems diametrically opposed to the practices of Boulez and other serial composers.  For him, the experience of sound called into question precepts and tenets of traditional Western music, including its historical continuation in the works of the avant-garde.  His interest in liberating sound from the prejudices of composition converges with the acceptance by Varèse "of all audible phenomena as material proper to music".[22] By radicalizing his acceptance of all sound, and in reaction to the socio-ethical model he felt Schoenberg's work represented, Cage deconstructs structurally oriented practices through his use of chance.  Transforming the identity between structure and material into an open dichotomy, he introduces an aporia between conceptual schemata and experimental actions that gives indeterminacy its poetic inflection.  In the Music of Changes, for example, the I-Ching functions as something of an anti-technique.  By systematically thwarting any predictive value that the original representation of structural spans might have had, the action of tossing coins and relating the results to the hexagrams of the I-Ching brings indeterminacy into play over against structural representations.  4'33" enriches this poetics by instantiating a play between sound and silence that at the same time radically questions the nature of the work of art.  Within the field delimited by this poetics, sounds that are "not just sounds"[23] double the silence out of which they arise as an "echo of nothing."[24]  "[E]quivalent to the denial of the will",[25] inherent silence corresponds to a form of activity "having no dominance of will in it."[26]  Thus linked by their poetic equivalence to the metaphorical tropology of indeterminacy, silence and chance coincide, giving rise to processes that Cage identifies as "analogous to the sum of nature".[27]

                    By displacing the central representative function of structure along with principles of order and control, indeterminacy deconstructs aesthetic practices in which expressivity is paramount.  Its postmodernity is as much attributable to this decentering as it is to the dissimulation by chance of potentially structurally significant events.  But does the power indeterminacy has to produce an effect that transforms the chance occurrence into the simulacrum of a naturally occurring phenomenon not also conceal contradictions within indeterminacy's deconstructive practices?  Displaced from its paradigmatic position in Schoenberg's twelve-tone revolution, structure becomes a means to experimental actions.  Yet as antithesis, are the processes structuring the field of chance not delimited over against traditional categories of form and content to which they continue to refer?  When Wim Mertens suggests that because Cage's use of indeterminacy takes his work beyond any opposition of these categories, his work surpasses the limit conditions of their dialectical unity, he overlooks the operative conditions for radicalizing indeterminacy.[28]  The conditions under which chance determinations can themselves be determined already point toward the construction of a poetics.  Lyotard, who in his book The Postmodern Condition, understands postmodern art as "that which, in the modern, puts forward the unpresentable in presentation itself"[29] sees in the paradoxical relation of the post to the modern ["future (post) anterior (modo)"[30]] the work as event.[31]  Substituting for the work, indeterminacy is the aporia for which experimental actions and unforeseeable results offer a radical, postmodern solution to the rational denegration of experience within modern society, but a solution that is circumscribed by indeterminacy's poetic field.


                    It is important to note that in taking the place of intentionality, silence is still a part of a configuration that includes the categories of work, event and meaning.  Cage's radicalization of contingency conceals the reversal of intentionality in its play upon purposeful purposelessness.  Sometimes interpreted as nihilistic, an interpretation that Cage has rejected, this radicalization has been better understood as a form of terror.  Ricoeur speaks of readers terrorized by "discovering the place prescribed for them in the text"[32] when, abandoning their own expectations, they are seduced by those developed by it.  Adorno argues more forcefully that by "imposing the strictest contingency on itself"[33] Cage's work "gains a kind of meaning in the process, meaning in the form of the expression of terror."[34]  From Adorno's perspective, the abandonment of the self to the contingencies of history and the domination of all spheres of life by the instrumentality of rational systems repeat at the level of socio-political progress the return of myth in the dialectic of Enlightenment.  Aesthetic practices that radicalize contingency recapitulate this dialectic.  Yet it is also through this recapitulation that indeterminacy's deconstructions of traditional musical norms and ethnocentric values opens them up to a radical questioning by taking the hermeneutical turn that, on a fictive aesthetic level, leads to the recovery of meaning.



                    In view of this hermeneutical orientation of aesthetic critique, the question of significance is particularly relevant to the interpretation of stylistic innovations and their relation to reality.  Music is a first order discourse whose significance is interpreted philosophically in nexus with past traditions, present contingencies, and the bearing that individual works have on the future.  The significance of each work derives in part from the orientation it gives to a wider horizon of possible socio-historical and ontological perspectives.  I understand aesthetic critique to mean interpreting a work in order to open this horizon up to philosophical reflection; in other words, to disclose the constellation of techniques, aesthetic illusions and meanings that corresponds to the aporias, or problematics, to which a particular work offers a response.  The new rhetoric of Boulez's serial language offers one possible resolution to the problematic of fragmentation which even in Schoenberg's twelve-tone works remains unresolved; Cage's indeterminate practices offer another.  Even more, these developments in part have set the conditions for new innovations by opening the space for new possibilities and by altering the problematics to which new works respond.


                    The postmodern rejection of modernity's claim to be self-grounding has shifted the question of art's autonomy away from its alignment with the avant-garde's critically dissonant orientation toward society.  Bhrger feels that "[s]ince now the protest of the historical avant-garde against art as institution is accepted as art, the gesture of protest of the neo-avant-garde becomes inauthentic."[35]  Raising the question of authenticity is certainly legitimate, but it has its own hermeneutical inflection.  Protest is not the only criterion for determining the authenticity of the new in art.  Authenticity, in my opinion, has to do more with the unique configuration that a work gives to the aporias which challenge previous assumptions.  John Cage's indeterminate practices by no means represent a point of finality by deconstructing normative principles through the use of chance.  Yet because the deferrals that Derrida sees in the logocentric practices of Western metaphysics in Cage's work are incorporated into the fabric of indeterminacy, his poetic practices have a telos defined in terms of the not, a telos that is formalized in the dissimulitude of techniques and events and in the endless play of difference.[36]  Steve Reich points out that "John Cage has used processes...that could not be heard when the piece was performed",[37] comparable to a compositional situation in which the series is generally inaudible.  In his minimalist works, musical processes "determine all the note-to-note details and the overall form simultaneously",[38] so that dissimulation gives way to the transparency of surface structures.  The central aporia of indeterminacy, corresponding in its own way to the one Schoenberg delimited in his treatment of dissonance, dissolves in the stylistic shift towards sempiternal repetition as a structural technique.  Lyotard claims that repetitive music tries to recapture, or at least approximate, a narrative form of knowledge that "is the synthesis of a meter beating time in regular periods and of accent modifying the length or amplitude of certain of those periods."[39]  He goes on to say that the surprising feature of this music is that "as meter takes precedence over accent in the production of sound (spoken or not), time ceases to be a support for memory to become an immemorial beating that, in the absence of a noticeable separation between periods, prevents their being numbered and consigns them to oblivion."[40]  Repetition here belongs to that "strange temporalization"[41] of figures which both create and belong to the ephemeral present of their sempiternal return, an ephemeral present in which difference, whose accent in works such as Piano Music, Drumming, and Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ derives from the phase shifting and rhythmic constructions Reich employs, is internal to the process that generates it.


                    The sense of temporality in music that, in Philip Glass's words, "generates itself at each moment"[42] brings us back to the question of history and the image of Benjamin's angel, blown helplessly into the future, that looms over it.  The debris that piles up is like the unresolvable dissonance in the modernist work of art, blindly determining its own destruction.  Progress, overlapping with the forces at work in history, configures the inscrutability of time without resolving it.  Internalizing historical contradictions, the modernist work of art's pathos and its expression of suffering arises out of the fact that it consigns itself to the history out of which it is constituted.


                    The return to mythic time, thematized in the fictive domain by the repetitive process which in real time denies suffering, remythologizes the demystified history of modernity.  Descombes points out that the "supposition of eternal recurrence....means above all that there has never been a first time (no original) and that there will never be a last time (no end of history)."[43]  Circulating within its own economy, the differential processes that structure repetitive music generates the ecstatic intensity of a musical experience at illo tempore and beyond the time of lived experience.  In repetitive music, cosmic time overtakes the lived time of human experience in the simulated totality of a mythic return.[44]  Yet by submerging lived time in universal time, repetitive music does not so much refer "to the mythical ending of history"[45] as Mertens argues, but it becomes the archJ of a different history over which the modernist project no longer holds sway.  By linking repetition to the simulation of "a phenomenon that does not represent anything anymore and has no content other than itself as pure intensity"[46] Mertens, it seems, recognizes only that in repetitive music "no real change can take place".[47]  The seamless eternity of the same pattern recurring as something else dissolves the aporia of dissonance into pure presentation.  But does the question of the role of illusion in the configuration of a stylistic response to a particular aporia which has oriented this inquiry into aesthetic practices not also arise here?  In other words, is the ever-presenting experience of sempiternal repetition not enclosed within the world of the simulacrum and sealed within its fictive domain?  The work embodies itself, in Glass's words, "without any mediation....without any dramatic structure";[48] or as Reich puts it, the work as process is "a compositional process and a sounding music that are one and the same thing."[49]  And yet is the ontic accent that repetitive music gives to mythic time not already a new aporia that the pure intensity of its repetitive processes conceals, an aporia in which the new time of myth overtakes the historical conditions from whence it originates?[50]


                    The return to mythic time in its various forms in postmodern music, whether in Cage's indeterminate works, the minimalist music of composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass, or in Ligeti's post-serialist music which gives "the impression that it could stream on continuously, as if it had no beginning or end"[51] reveals a new aporia.  Abolishing the negativity that characterized the work of the avant-garde dissimulates the difference between autonomous art and the social totality it claims to critique.  Postmodernity has sometimes been identified in terms of the tendency today for high and popular art forms to merge.  Habermas, on the other hand, links postmodernity with the abandonment of the modernist project and with the ascendency of neoconservative life practices.[52]  Philosophically, it is associated with the decentering of the subject.  Far from superfluous, such questions bear upon the future of contemporary music.  Mythic time which postmodern music in its different ways has thematized, is itself an aporia which seals up the world outside the time of history.[53] The parallel with a bounded but limitless one-dimensional social universe alone is a compelling reason for critical reflection.  In spite of its paralectical nature, the disturbing unity of ecstasy and imaginary satisfaction in repetitive music - the obverse of a utopianism which conceals the terror of history through its recourse to mythic time - takes a critical turn.  The critical fantasy - or what I would prefer to call the creative and critical imagination - which Zuidervaart opposes to a theoretical model of social mediation in his reading of Bhrger's and Adorno's theories of art points towards the ontic accent of all authentic art.[54]  But inasmuch as authentic art responds to problematics and aporias by giving them a specific configuration, critique takes place along the horizon of an imaginative interweaving of fictive and non-fictive meanings that both limit the work and open it up for interpretation.


                    Understanding the significance of the postmodern is a critical hermeneutical task that carries with it an artistic challenge.  Repetitive music, like serial music and indeterminacy before it, opens up new compositional possibilities by deferring to the time of myth.  The claim to truth, which opens the possibility for critically appropriating the meaning that a work has, is always a part of the fabric of art's illusions.  Yet because art, as Adorno has made us aware, "is true to the extent that it is an illusion of the non-illusory",[55] its interweaving of fiction and reality opens up onto the time of history.  In a concluding remark to Time and Narrative, Ricoeur writes:  "if, from one aporia to another and from one poetic reply to another, the progression is a free one, the reverse order, in return is binding."[56]  Any prospective development cannot be determined in advance any more than can the work of art exist apart from its interpreted meaning.  Through this dialectical interplay, the inscription of modern and postmodern developments in the history of twentieth-century music shifts the horizon of the legacy of the avant-garde, and turns Benjamin's angel to face the future.

     [1] Walter Benjamin, Illuminations trans. Harry Zohn (London: Fontana Books, 1973), 259-260.

     [2]  Ibid

     [3] Ibid. 260.

     [4] Cf. Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative vol.3, trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer (Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 1988.), 121.  "`Historical' in the primary sense preserves the relation to the future and the present."

     [5] Ligeti refers to the musical syntax in Apparitions as being purely fictitious.  Its phantasmic logic is in fact imposed by the perceptual matrix in which contrasting figures are related.  See Gy`rgy Ligeti, "Zust@nde, Ereignessie, Wandlungen," Melos 29 (1967), 169.

     [6] Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. C. Lehnardt (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984), 21.

     [7] Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, trans. Michael Shaw (Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 1984), 56.  For both Adorno and Bhrger, the avant-garde is characterized by art's self-critique of its supporting role in bourgeois society.  One of the achievements of Bhrger's theory is that it historicizes the avant-garde.  He sees it as an "historical fact that the avant-garde movements did not put an end to the production of works of art, and that the social institution that is art proved resistant to the avant-gardiste attack." (56 - 57).  Bürger views the "process by which the social subsystem `art' evolves into a wholly distinct entity... [as] part and parcel of the development of bourgeois society." (33) "The overall social tendency toward the articulation of subsystems and a concurrent specialization of function are being understood as the developmental law to which the sphere of art is also subject." (33)


     [8] Adorno, 21.

     [9] Schoenberg's atonal works are exemplary in this regard.  See Adorno, 124.  "There is no denying that the subjective means-end rationality, which is particular and ultimately irrational, needs spurious irrational enclaves and treats art as one of them.  Even so, art is the truth about society in the sense that in its most authentic creations the hidden irrationality of a seemingly rational world is brought to light.  In art, denunciation and anticipation are syncopated."  See also Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative vol. 3, 162.  "If a work is considered as the resolution of a problem, itself arising out of prior successes in the field of science as well as in the field of art, then style may be termed the adequation between the singularity of this solution, which the work constitutes by itself, and the singularity of the crisis situation as this was apprehended by the thinker or artist."

     [10] Boulez, Notes on an Apprenticeship, trans. Herbert Weinstock (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.), 274.

     [11] Cage, Silence (London:  The MIT Press, 1961), 5.

     [12] Boulez, Notes on an Apprenticeship, 227.

     [13] Ibid., 227; cf. ibid., 386.

     [14] Boulez, Conversations with Celestin Deliege (London: Eulenburg Books, 1976), 66.  See Ulrich Siegele's text "Zwei Kommentare zum Marteau sans maître von Pierre Boulez" (Neuhausen Stuttgart:  Hansler Verlag, 1979); see also Leo Koblykov, "P. Boulez Le marteau sans maVtre.  Analysis of Pitch Structure," Zeitschrift für Musiktheorie 8:1 (1977).

     [15] Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor, trans. Robert Czerny (Toronto:  University of Toronto Press, 1977), 134.

     [16] Boulez, Boulez on Music Today, trans. S. Bradshaw and R.R. Bennett (London: Faber & Faber Ltd., 1971), 39.

     [17] This slippage is distinguished by the element of indeterminacy that occurs at the syntagmatic level, and is responsible for creating the semantic universe in which the new rhetoric of Le marteau operates.

     [18] The relation to Foucualt's analysis of penality is quite striking.  Foucault, in his analysis of penality, remarks that discipline "is an art of rank, a technique for the transformation of arrangements.  It individualizes bodies by a location that does not give them a fixed position, but distributes them and circulates them in a network of relations."  Foucault, Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York:  Vintage Books, 1979), 146.

     [19] See H.H. Stuckenschmidt, Twentieth Century Music, trans. R. Deveson (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1969), 214.

     [20] See Boulez, "Sonate, que me veux-tu?," Perspectives of New Music 1:2, 32.

     [21] Daniel Charles, "Entr'acte:`Formal' or `Informal' Music," Musical Quarterly 51 (1965), 162.

     [22] Cage, Silence (London: Calder and Boyars Ltd., 1968), 84.  The element of tradition preserved by European composers and "expressed in each work as an interest in continuity whether in terms of discourse or organization" (74 - 75) is antithetic to Cage's mode of acceptance and gives the precedent set by VarPse its aesthetic force.

     [23] Ibid., 131.

     [24] Ibid., 131.

     [25] Ibid., 53.

     [26] Ibid., 53.

     [27] Ibid., 53.  Because their supposed mimetic function is inseparable from this metaphorical tropology of indeterminacy's poetic constructs, chance events create the appearance of their naturalized immediacy.  The result of a poetic operation, this reappearance of nature is also evident in postmodern bricolage.  Michael Newman writes that for the "postmodern bricoleur nature is already culture and culture is a second nature:  the city and the mass media are forests of signs.  If nature makes a reappearance, it is as a representation within culture, doubly cooked, a signifier rather than a referent external to the sign."  "Revising Modernism, Representing Postmodernism:  Critical Discourse on the Visual Arts," Postmodernism.  ICA Documents, Lisa Appignanesi, ed. (London:  Free Association Books, 1989), 133.

     [28] See Wim Mertens, American Minimalist Music, trans. J. Hauterkert (London: Kahn & Avrill, 1983), 105 - 106.

     [29] Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition, trans. G. Bennington and B. Massumi (Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 1984), 81.

     [30] Ibid., 81.

     [31] Ibid., 81.  According to Lyotard, "rules and categories are what the work of art itself is looking for.  The artist and the writer, then, are working without rules in order to formulate the rules of what will have been done." (81)  Such a claim would seem not to recognize that the rule-making event is already a hermeneutical activity in which the work-event demands that it be understood both in terms of the contexts and meanings that prefigure it and in terms of the work it accomplishes in reconfiguring norms and values.

     [32]  Ricoeur, Time and Narrative vol. 3, 178:  "their only recourse is to set themselves at a distance from the text and to become fully conscious of the distance between the expectations developed by the text and their own expectations".

     [33] Adorno, 221.

     [34] Ibid., 221.

     [35] Bhrger, 53.

     [36] The notion of purposeful purposelessness implies intentionality which is formalized as the not and is concealed by the play of indeterminacy.  "[R]elationships make an object...[and] this object in contrast to a process which is purposeless, must be viewed dualistically" (Silence, 38) only in terms of a formal teleology emptied of all determinate content.  Defined in terms of the not, indeterminacy provides the ground of a mode of action in which "we are not separate from processes but are in them, so that our feelings are not about them but in them." (237)  The import of identifying with "no matter what eventuality" (38) not only conforms to the prevailing ideology, but it also serves to legitimate the mythologizing claim that "all technology must move toward [the] way things were before men began changing them:  identification with nature in her manner of operation, complete mystery." Cage, A year from Monday (London:  Calder and Boyars Ltd., 1968), 18.  Whereas Cage's poetics presupposes the hermeneutical, interpretive world which gives a specific understanding to the not, Derrida develops a notion of diffe

rence that seeks to maintain "our relationship with that which we necessarily misconstrue, and which exceeds the alternative of presence and absence." Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 1982), 20.

     [37]  Steve Reich, Writings about Music (New York: New York University Press, 1974), 10.

     [38] Reich, 11.  For a description of how repetition simultaneously gives rise to structure, see Paul Epstein, "Patterns, Structure and Process in Steve Reich's Piano Phase," Musical Quarterly 72:4 (1986), 494-502.

     [39] Lyotard, 21.  Lyotard notes at this point that the "relationship between meter and accent, which constitutes and dissolves rhythm, is at the center of Hegel's reflections on speculation."

     [40] Ibid., 22.

     [41] Ibid., 22.

     [42] Cited by Mertens, 89.

     [43] Vincent Descombes, Modern French Philosophy, trans. L. Scott-Fox and J.M Harding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 182.

     [44]  See Descombes, 180; see ibid., 168 ff.; see also Ricoeur, Time and Narrative vol. 3, 105. The return to myth from enlightenment, anticipating the return to mythic time, was critically thematized by Adorno and Horkheimer in Dialectic of Enlightenment.

     [45] Mertens, 92.

     [46] Ibid.,121.

     [47] Ibid., 92.

     [48] Cited by Mertens, 88.

     [49] Reich, 10.

     [50]  This aporia recalls the aporia of the inscrutability of time which "springs forth at the moment when time, escaping any attempt to constitute it, reveals itself as belonging to a constituted order always already presupposed by the work of constitution." Ricoeur, Time and Narrative vol. 3, 261.

     [51]  Gyorgy Ligeti, Ligeti in Conversation, trans. G.J. Schabert et. al. (London: Eulenburg Books Ltd., 1983), 84.

     [52]  "The relentless acceleration of social processes appears as the reverse side of a culture that is exhausted and has passed into a crystalline state." Moreover, the "neoconservative leave-taking from modernity is directed...not to the unchecked dynamism of societal modernization but to the husk of a cultural self-understanding of modernity that appears to have been overtaken."  Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, trans. F. Lawrence (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1987), 3 - 4.

     [53]  Myth, however, "is only a myth because we can no longer connect that time with the time of history as we write it".  Ricoeur, Symbolism of Evil, trans. Emerson Buchanan (Boston:  Beacon Press, 1969), 5.

     [54]  See Zuidervaart, "The Social Significance of Autonomous Art," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 48:1 (Winter 1990).  Zuidervaart appeals to a notion of complex normativity as a way of counteracting "the tendency to dissolve the historical specificity of older works.  Because the historical truth of a work would not be considered an ultimate criterion, there would be much less pressure to fuse its historical horizon with that of the interpreter." (75)  The positing of norms, for Zuidervaart, is unavoidable "[s]o long as one's theory of art includes a critique of art." (74)  On the other hand, a critical hermeneutics of art interprets works of art both in terms of their history and in terms of the possibilities they open up, shifting the question of a utopian future, which on Zuidervaart's reading of Adorno and Bhrger "the social significance of art ultimately depends" (75) to the practical relation of a space of experience to a horizon of expectation.

     [55] Adorno, 191.

     [56] Ricoeur, Time and Narrative vol. 3, 274.