Question: What is the future of music’s sound?

I’ve spent some time considering our current situation regarding how music today sounds.  And, I still don’t know the answer to what the future holds (it seems rather unpredictable even in the short term).  We all are debating and fervently discussing how to make art music more successful as a business, more accessible, more open, and more unified.  And while we don’t have definitive solutions for every case, we’ve seen great examples of individuals, ensembles, organizations, educational institutions, and cities that have made music today more successful than it has been recently.  But I’m not here to pose a question about the business end of music.  Right now I’m wondering: what is the future of music’s sound?

It seems we’re in full swing of postmodernism.  No longer does a single style, or a few competing styles, dominate the vein of art music.  In a way this is great; we all are offered limitless opportunity.  To the contrary, we’re also lacking a sense of unified direction, a voice that speaks to us all musically, a sense of teleology, and a means by which to judge.  I mean, if we’re all spinning our wheels on bicycles headed in every direction, that’s great because we all get to ride our own path, but how can we judge each other’s speed/endurance if we’re on completely different paths–and how do we meaningfully explore if we’re all going separate ways?

I don’t know the answer–and when I don’t know the answer to something about which I care, it bugs me (because I’m an inquisitive and impatient person by nature).  What do you think?  Will there ever be a unified style against which to judge everything on the scale of tonality, serialism, indeterminacy, or any other large movement in music history?

Where should we go next, and/or where will we go?

Feel free to post a reply to this post, email me at,  tweet me @danlismusic, or find me on Facebook:  I’d love to hear what you think is next for art music, and hopefully I’ll be able to post your thoughts on this blog (I’ll ask your permission before posting).

Thanks for reading!


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