The phrase “postmodern avant-grade” was created by the musicologist, John Pippen, who investigates and explores the relationship between the new music and social attitude. This coinage might be unfamiliar to readers; however it can be explained through postmodernism and avant-grade. Postmodernism is regard as both an opposition and extension of modernism. If we discuss from modernist aesthetics, postmodernism can be a reaction after the modern period, or a complete obstacle by anti-modern gesture. The avant-grade is an experimental or innovative trend of art, including new and unusual techniques and type. After combining these two words, it shows a tension between the culture thinking and the main actuality of the present socio-economic structure.
The new music ensemble eighth blackbird is an example of postmodern avant-grade, as mentioned by John Pippen. This group brings a complex and contrastive way to take commissioning, performing, and promoting new music, emerging a revolutionary music and efficient, which is different from before. Nevertheless, the music world today is still dominated by modernist concepts, such as the recognized “classics” of the 18th and 19th centuries. The group deals with “a particular mixture of modernist aesthetic goals, postmodern desires for accessibility, and fundamental concerns about financial realities of the new music field,” said by Pippen. Therefore, finding a balance between the performing ethos and the reality of a post-industrial economy will be a “struggle” for eighth blackbird and all modern music
In my opinion, I believe that the new music of the present expresses a less classical type of form and harmony, but is featured by the dynamics on the field of play at a given moment. Rather than focusing on if there is a future for new music, we should develop and respect the impact of postmodern avant-garde.
For more information, please read: The Dilemma of the "Postmodern Avant-Grade"