There may be nothing as un-sexy as the oxymoronic appellative “contemporary classical” when referring to a particular breed of music. As for the term new music: fugetaboudit. It’s meaningless at this stage. Besides the namelessness that plagues our purportedly indescribable art form, there’s also the problem of elitism running rampant in our midst, most likely inherited from our classical counterparts (rather hilariously summed up by this blog entry). But worry not friends, the author Michael Miller has set out to level the playing field between laymen and the cognoscenti with his book The Complete Idiot’s Guide® To Music Composition.
I’ve always been a big believer that anyone can be a composer, and now with the tools of technology, and tomes like the aforementioned, it looks like we’ve finally arrived. Admittedly, I haven’t read Miller’s book, but I think it’s a great idea to sum up broad concepts that many a graduate student wastes way too many brain cells dwelling on—maybe universities should consider this book in place of Straus’s Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory and Forte’s The Structure of Atonal Music. Seriously, do composers need to know that much set theory? Sure, hexachords are cute for a while, but ruminating on the subject may cause severe creative fatigue for certain artists. I say Idiot’s Guides for all!