In his exceedingly complex works, Babbitt attempted to apply twelve-tone principles to all the elements of composition: dynamics, timbre, duration, registration, and rhythm, as well as melody and harmony. He called this
total serialization (see serial music). Babbitt composed many works for chamber ensembles and instrumental and vocal soloists. His works include Three Compositions for Piano (1947), three string quartets (1942, 1954, 1969–70), Composition for Synthesizer (1961), Ensembles for Synthesizer (1964), Philomel (1964) for soprano, taped soprano, and synthesizer, A Solo Requiem for soprano and piano, and Dual (1980) for cello and piano. In 1982 he received a special Pulitzer citation for his body of work.
See his Words about Music (1987) and The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt (2003); A. W. Mead, An Introduction to the Music of Milton Babbitt (1994).
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