Any attempt to theorize about Latin American composition will necessarily involve a prejudgment of which composers to consider. In addition the context of a colonial system of cultural transmission should not be ignored. This context makes it important to evaluate a composer's significance in terms of his or her distinctiveness in the light of metropolitan composers and compositions. A number of characteristic trends can be seen in the works of composers who meet these criteria, including a distinctive sense of time; use of nondiscursive, reiterative processes; austerity; violence; the breach of technological and cultural boundaries; and an interest in cultural identity.

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