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Aaron Copland

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Somehow, suddenly, a musical idea occurs to you; either a whole phrase, or three notes, or a series of chords, something that seems pregnant with possibilities for development. Once you have the kinds of ideas that fascinate you, you're no longer in a position to decide the nature of the animal. It's going to take its essence from the musical ideas that occur to you....Some musical ideas are too short, they don't seem long enough to carry you through ten minutes of music, so you have to start searching about for other ideas; contrasting ones that seem to fit with the original ones.
Aaron Copland: the Life and Work of an Uncommon Man, ISBN 0805049096

Aaron Copland

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Nowadays, all students have access to and indeed most own computers and are comfortable with the software used to compose music. There are probably too many musical options for them now and the trick is to limit the number of musical ideas so as to develop structure and continuity in their work.

Jon Appleton

Speech has arisen through the need for expression. Certain factors have contributed to making it the paramount utilitarian method of expression. There are ideas and things expressible in words, but there are ideas better expressed in music, the person with no musical ear, or without discipline in the language of music, lacks the key to the door of the world of musical experience. But we live in a world of volume and space; it is hard to conceive of the person who is space-blind or volume-deaf. The great majority of people have the means of approach to plastic beauty as part of their natural equipment. The teacher can develop this natural endowment as Necessity, the greatest teacher, has developed speech.

Hans Hofmann

Through instrumental music, Iím allowed to come up with musical ideas that allow the listener to create their own impression of my song. If you add lyrics about a girl in the song, the listener doesnít have a choice of what the song is about, itís told to them. My musical writings allow me to express anything. Itís easier for me to tell a story of something Iíve encountered this way then to verbalize it. And my feelings are explored more in my compositions compared to what I could ever say in a few sentences.

Bradley Joseph

[I]s this not an advantage? Is it not a sign of immense progress that the masses should have "ideas," that is to say, should be cultured? By no means. The "ideas" of the average man are not genuine ideas, nor is their possession culture. An idea is a putting truth in checkmate. Whoever wishes to have ideas must first prepare himself to desire truth and to accept the rules of the game imposed by it. It is no use speaking of ideas when there is no acceptance of a higher authority to regulate them, a series of standards to which it is possible to appeal in a discussion. These standards are the principles on which culture rests.

Jose Ortega y Gasset

"The issue of 'science' does not intrude itself directly upon the occasion of the performance of a musical work, at least a non-electronically produced work, sinceóas has been saidóthere is at least a question as to whether the question as to whether musical composition is to be regarded as a science or not is indeed really a question; but there is no doubt that the question as to whether musical discourse orómore preciselyóthe theory of music should be subject to the methodological criteria of scientific method and the attendant scientific language is a question, except that the question is really not the normative one of whether it 'should be' or 'must be,' but the factual one that it is, not because of the nature of musical theory, but because of the nature and scope of scientific method and language, whose domain of application is such that if it is not extensible to musical theory, then musical theory is not a theory in any sense in which the term ever has been employed. This should sound neither contentious nor portentous, rather it should be obvious to the point of virtual tautology.Ē

Milton Babbitt
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