I’ve spent a good part of the day pondering a nationwide new music study which the American Composers Forum and the American Music Center are in the process of formulating. This morning, some members of both staffs got together over a conference call to discuss some important preliminaries.
We spent quite a bit of time trying to answer what might seem to be pretty basic questions: “What is a composer?” and “What is new music?” How these terms are defined has significant implications in how service organizations promote our constituency. And, on the practical side, determining what these terms are will ultimately determine who will be queried in this study.
So, what definitions of these terms are broad and inclusive enough to reflect the breadth and inclusivity of this music? Music-making is an activity that encompasses everything from whoever has charted on Billboard this week to every single band on MySpace. How porous is the line between what we think of as “new music” and the rest of music? Should such a line of demarcation even exist at this point? How can we define the term “new music” broadly while still keeping the focus on the music we think we know as “new music”? Should we be concerned about marginalization at the expense of inclusivity?