Document Type


Publication Date



The musical world of this century has been dominated, to an extraordinary and unprecedented degree, by the music of the past. Performers play music primarily by long-deceased canonical composers, composers learn their craft by studying the master-works of the past, including the distant past, and scholars devote themselves to studying increasingly ancient musical monuments. The past has never been so powerfully present as in this century. In this historical situation, composers have felt an understandably deep ambivalence toward the masterworks of the past. On the hand, those masterworks inspire admiration, even reverence. At the same time, they also inspire the kind of anxiety that one often feels the presence of powerful, dominating, and intimidating figures. In Stravinsky's phrase: "The artist feels his 'heritage' as the grip of a very strong pincers." The musical tradition, Stravinsky suggests, may provide inspiration, but it also imposes narrow constraints.

Included in

Music Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.