Poetics of Music

Below are excerpts of Poetics of Music in the form of 6 lessons by Igor Stravinsky, delivered as lectures at Harvard University between 1939 and 1940.

The quality of being revolutionary is generally attributed to artists in our day with laudatory intent, undoubtedly because we are living in a period when revolution enjoys a kind of prestige among yesterday’s elite. Let us understand each other: I am the first to recognize that daring is the motive force of the finest and greatest acts; which is all the more reason for not putting it unthinkingly at the service of disorder and base cravings in a desire to cause sensation at any price. I approve of daring; I set no limits to it. To enjoy to the full the conquest of daring, we must demand that it operates in a pitiless light.


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