The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt

    Edited by
  • Stephen Peles
  • Stephen Dembski
  • Andrew Mead
  • Joseph N. Straus


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Jun 24, 2012
6 x 9.25 in.
70 line illus. 9 tables.
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Like his compositions, Milton Babbitt’s writings about music have exerted an extraordinary influence on postwar music and thinking about music. In essays and public addresses spanning fifty years, Babbitt has grappled profoundly with central questions in the composition and apprehension of music. These writings range from personal memoirs and critical reviews to closely reasoned metatheoretical speculations and technical exegesis. In the history of music theory, there has been only a small handful of figures who have produced work of comparable stature. Taken as a whole, Babbitt’s writings are not only an invaluable testimony to his thinking—a priceless primary source for the intellectual and cultural history of the second half of the twentieth century—but also a remarkable achievement in their own right.

Prior to this collection, Babbitt’s writings were scattered through a wide variety of journals, books, and magazines—many hard to find and some unavailable—and often contained typographical errors and editorial corruptions of various kinds. This volume of almost fifty pieces gathers, corrects, and annotates virtually everything of significance that Babbitt has written. The result is complete, authoritative, and fully accessible—the definitive source of Babbitt’s influential ideas.