In painting, how light is utilized distinguishes one painting from another regardless of when it was painted; while in music, how pitch is organized, from the more empirical pre-tonal era until serialism, characterizes chronologically the history of Western music. A brief breakdown of light structures adopted by painters since Giotto might best describe what I mean:
Light from nature
raking light: Carvaggio, Vermeer
overhead light: Watteau, Courbet, Pissarro
refracted light: Monet
intellectualized light: Seurat
Pictorial light, not from nature
constructed light: Giotto, Mantegna, Picasso, de Chirico
invented light: Piero della Francesca, Rothko
nonmodulated light: Mondrian, Pollock
light without source: Rembrandt
With the advent of Cage, one by necessity must ask questions that were previously avoided, never thought about when composing a musical composition. My preoccupation with the fascinating aspect of how painters deal with light is only because of Cage. In effect, what I am suggesting is not that music should explore or imitate the resources of painting, but that the chronological aspect of music's development is perhaps over, and that a new "mainstream" of diversity, invention and imagination is indeed awakening. For this we must thank John Cage.
— Morton Feldman, 1982.