This paper wishes to compare the networks built around the magazine ­Source: Music of the Avant-Garde and the journal Perspectives of New Music between 1967 and 1970. The comparisons between the two networks will be based on both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. In particular, this paper will focus on differences and similarities among the composers showcased in either or both publications and funding systems of the two publications. Substantial space will be given to the discussion of the two titles’ very different editorial choices.

A comparison between the networks of Source and Perspectives can prompt fruitful reflections on historical narratives on experimental and avant-garde music that are becoming increasingly important in the contemporary discourse. For example Perspectives, which is still very successfully published, helped established what we still hold as the canon of progressive music. The narrative that emerges from Source, instead, reads as an alternative history, predicated on different geographical and sociological premises. Also, the two publications presented compositional work in very different ways. In fact, even though both publications featured writings by composers, Perspectives engaged with compositions mostly on a conceptual level, publishing essays and articles on the aesthetical stances of composers. Instead, Source engaged with the experience of composing as a research process: with very few articles, the magazine promoted understanding of contemporary works through interviews, scores, recordings, etc. Lexically, from their very titles, the two publications engaged with concepts of ‘new music’ and ‘avant-garde’, reinforcing the terminological tensions present in the musicological discussion still evident today.


Valentina Bertolani is a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary. Her dissertation focuses on the relationships between American, Canadian and Italian avant-garde collectives of composers/performers in the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on their aesthetic principles and improvising procedures. She holds a Master’s in Musicology from the University of Pavia. She presented her work at society meetings and International conferences in Canada, the UK, France and Italy. She is co-editor of a book on live electronic music to be published for Routledge. Valentina has been the recipient of several awards, and in 2016 she received an Izaak Walton Killam Pre-doctoral scholarship.