A Critique of Fundamentalism in Singing: Musical Authenticity, Authority, and Practice

Paul Woodford


Perhaps the most hallowed of traditions among artists of creative vigour is this: traditions in the creative arts are per se suspect. For they exist on the patrimony of standardization, which means degeneration. They dominate because they are to the interest of some group that has the power to perpetuate them, and they cease to dominate when some equally powerful group undertakes to bend them to a new pattern. It is not difficult for the alert student to acquire the traditional techniques. Under the pressures of study these are unconsciously and all too easily absorbed. The extent to which an individual can resist being blindly led by tradition is a good measure of his vitality. (Partch, 1974, p. xv)

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