It appears to me that the subject of music, from Machaut to Boulez, has always been its construction. Melodies of 12-tone rows just don't happen. They must be constructed....To demonstrate any formal idea in music, whether structure or stricture, is a matter of construction, in which the methodology is the controlling metaphor of the composition...Only by 'unfixing' the elements traditionally used to construct a piece of music could the sounds exist in themselves--not as symbols, or memories which were memories of other music to begin with. .
To me, I took a militant attitude towards sounds. I wanted sounds to be a metaphor, that they could be as free as a human being might be free. That was my idea about sound. It still is, that they should breathe ... not to be used for the vested interest of an idea. I feel that music should have no vested interests, that you shouldn't know how it's made, that you shouldn't know if there's a system, that you shouldn't know anything about it ... except that it's some kind of life force that to some degree really changes your life ... if you're into it. .
My teacher Stefan Wolpe was a Marxist and he felt my music was too esoteric at the time. And he had his studio on a proletarian street, on Fourteenth Street and Sixth Avenue. . . . He was on the second floor and we were looking out the window, and he said, "What about the man on the street?" At that moment . . . Jackson Pollock was crossing the street. .
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