I’ve long been intrigued by the behavioral differences between patriarchal and matrilineal societies. In a patriarchal society, the person in charge is typically a leader, the one who ventures out into unknown territory, exhorting everyone else to follow. In a matrilineal society, the person in charge is most often the one at the center, the one who is directly connected to everybody else.

In the new music world, the patriarchal model is held up for praise more often – we tend to honor composers who break new ground and dismiss composers who emphasize communication and centricity.

My ideal new music society would be called parentilineal, I suppose – it would value both leadership and centrality equally. I like to think that having a stable center and an adventurous periphery is the healthiest combination.

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