This Introduction explains In C's uniqueness within its time. Works by Carter, Stockhausen, and Berio had pushed the limits of fixed-score complexity and were regarded as the standard for “advanced” composition. Cageian experimentalism had moved music into realms of noise and randomized activity that created often chaotic results. Counter to these trends, In C is emblematic of West Coast American minimalism, an essay in a new sort of communitarian art in its innovative structure, a piece of musical “software” that provides a structure for interactive group creation that is open yet always recognizable in its result.
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