The construction of music

It appears to me that the subject of music, from Machaut to Boulez, has always been its construction. Melodies of 12-tone rows just don’t happen. They must be constructed…. To demonstrate any formal idea in music, whether structure or stricture, is a matter of construction, in which the methodology is the controlling metaphor of the composition…. Only by ‘unfixing’ the elements traditionally used to construct a piece of music could the sounds exist in themselves – not as symbols, or memories which were memories of other music to begin with.

Morton Feldman, American composer.

Cited in Kostelanetz, Richard and Joseph Darby. Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music.