I have had a recurrent and disturbing thought lately: what if we developed a non-judgmental approach to music appreciation? I do like the idea trying not to like or dislike a piece, but simply receive it with as much equanimity as a mail box.

I see a surprising lineage: from serialism, with music that can be uncomfortable to listen to but seems exciting enough to compose – music from mind to mind – to John Cage’s process-oriented, event-oriented music that is also not so much a listening experience as a controlled collective experience – music from person to person – to 21st century experimentalists who also value process over result – music as individual experience. Could this make the judgment of music based on like/dislike, beautiful/ugly, and even form/content parameters irrelevant? But what if someone needs to hang on to some sort of ultimate beauty of form, just like some people cannot be atheists?

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