From Fractured to Fractal

The Improbable Continuum in Twentieth-Century Music

  • Joseph Delaplace


This article is discussing the way twentieth-century musical creation managed to deal with the erosion of the homogenous temporality connected to tonal music, and doing so, how it suggested at different levels, new ways to consider music writing.  Using a pluridisciplinary approach necessary to explain how the concept of montage introduced in plastic arts has been able to take root into the musical field at the turn of the century, we will look at various examples focusing on continuity versus discontinuity as a key element of this shift, after reviewing the ins and outs of what could be seen as a “temporality crisis” in music. We will highlight what we can view as a reversal of the classical paradigms in the musical field with regard to time and space.  Then, we will show how these aesthetic approaches are in fact reconnecting with some new modes of continuity, improbable ones at times, as they appear to contradict the very nature of continuum.

How to Cite
Delaplace, J. (2023). From Fractured to Fractal: The Improbable Continuum in Twentieth-Century Music. European Journal of Musicology, 21(1), 44–63. 21.1.2022.44