A helpful reader with a fake e-mail address has written in to accuse me of “writing myself into history” by including myself in the discussion of totalist music in my previous post. Lest there be any further confusion: This is my own personal blog, which I am not paid to write. While I do not knowingly publish falsehoods here, I may sometimes cast myself in a favorable light. The blog is not intended to replace scholarly musical reference works. If you would like to read scholarly accounts of the totalist movement that make no reference to me, I recommend the ones I have written in Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, in my book American Music in the 20th Century, and in the final chapter of Wiley Hitchcock’s Music in the United States. These are all intended to be objective and historically factual. Remember, kids, don’t rely on blogs as research for your homework.

Oh, and while I’m at it, be warned: Sometimes on Postclassic Radio, I play my own music. I wouldn’t want anyone to be surprised and feel shystered.

Meanwhile, Samuel Vriezen, who names a couple of Dutch composers who work with totalist rhythmic ideas, himself included – I hope our anonymous friend doesn’t mind Sam mentioning himself – has come up with an alternative name for the movement: Metametrics! Metametric music, metametric music…. I like it! Sounds steely and machine-cut.


  1. says

    and as i overheard once while waiting in line to buy lunch, “Alliterations automatically make everything cooler…” you’ve got my vote for metametric music.

  2. says

    Yeah, who came up with Totalism anyway? Never quite made sense to me. How is a polymeter-obsessed branch of post-minimalism a totality or a total.

    Or do all Totalists eat Total for breakfast each morning? Now if you guys really named your movement after a breakfast cereal, like Satie might, that would make it a worthy device! Or were you guys all big fans of Toto and Totoism didn’t quite seem appropriate?

    Well minimalism and high fibre foodstuffs do seem simpatico somehow. Crunch!

  3. says

    Ah, wonderful! Let’s hope it catches on!
    Thinking about it a little more what I like in the word metametric is that it seems to convey a sense of a mysterious higher form of meter emerging from combinations of procedures, rather than polymetric, where I get more of a sense of layers piled on top of each other, that do seem to remain seperate.
    OTOH the word metametric also suggests less a sense of a movement than of technique to me, probably because it has no ism and it has all this Greek in it. Perhaps you could say things like, Totalists use metametrical techniques.