Author Topic: John Cage (1912-92)  (Read 74342 times)

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Offline some guy

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #140 on: July 01, 2011, 12:10:38 PM »
(munching popcorn)
Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

Offline some guy

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #141 on: July 01, 2011, 02:10:25 PM »
For what you are about to read, I beg forgiveness:

Adversity breeds introspection ..
Sententiousness breeds risibility....

maybe forcing some here to think a little.
Think=agree with James.

Nope.

Tho with this crowd, I doubt it.
We are a bunch of mindless cretins, aren't we? How dare we think for ourselves?

With you, never - as your post comes off as nothing more than a bundle of hurt feelings.
Hahaha, you wish. Read it again. I was mocking you, you silly billy.

You don't hurt anyone, James. You're more like a fly in the room. Annoying but not very harmful. Just stay away from the food is all I ask!

Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #142 on: July 01, 2011, 04:09:02 PM »
You don't hurt anyone, James. You're more like a fly in the room. Annoying but not very harmful. Just stay away from the food is all I ask!

A fly in a room with big open windows (perhaps at a Suzuki lecture ;)) that for whatever reason keeps on banging on the glass and doesn't leave the room.
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karlhenning

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #143 on: July 01, 2011, 04:59:18 PM »
I know an old lady
Who swallowed a fly…

Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #144 on: July 01, 2011, 06:08:08 PM »
Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orchestra (1951)
Concert for piano and orchestra (1957-58)
Fourteen (1990)



Concert for piano and orchestra (1957-58)

For the Concert for piano and orchestra, Cage created a huge collection of material from which the performers can select any amount, depending not only on the duration of the proposed performance but also on the number of performers available. Each orchestral player independently constructs his or her part from the material available for that instrument. Not every instrument for which Cage wrote a part need be represented in a given performance (in extreme cases, a version may be performed by, say, a solo flute, leaving out even the "solo" piano part). Cage explores the widest possible array of sounds that each instrument is capable of producing--not only using the entire range of standard techniques such as tremolo, flutter tonguing, playing on the bridge of the violin or with the wood of the bow, and various mutes, but also (for example) singing through the flute, bowing on the violin's tailpiece, even to the point of "deconstructing" the instrument--e.g. removing and playing only the mouthpiece. The "theme" of the Concert for piano and orchestra is the ever expanding galaxy of sonic possibilities. Alongside this proliferation of abundance is the principle of independence. There is no master score; a player may start anywhere in his or her part according to that player's independently derived timetable. One has no way of knowing which sounds from which players will happen to coincide or follow each other in a given performance.

Adding yet one more level of unpredictability, Cage provides a "part" for a conductor which translates notated time into real time. In performance, the players read the conductor (whose arms move in large circles) like a clock. Thus a player's part may specify ten sounds to be made in thirty seconds, but following the conductor's motions (the speed of which have been distorted by the conductor's part), that player is given only fifteen seconds to perform those ten sounds.

The part for solo piano is a massive assemblage of notational experiments, sixty-three 11x17" pages containing eighty-four different types of compositional fragments. Nearly every fragment can be realized in a great number of ways. Often several fragments overlap. The pianist swims in (or rather creates) the same sort of musical aquarium as the orchestra, not only producing traditional sounds on the keyboard, but also reaching inside the instrument to play directly on the strings, soundboard, and frame, and even bringing into play unspecified auxiliary noise sources. Cage's comment on the expansive and contradictory nature of the sound universe in the Concert is telling: "The only thing I was being consistent to in this piece was that I did not need to be consistent."

Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orchestra (1951)

In contrast to the Concert, the Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orchestra is created from a rigorously limited universe of sounds. This comes as a consequence of Cage's predominant method of working in the late '40s, a method which is an extension of the prepared piano itself. On this instrument, a normal grand piano altered by the insertion of screws, bolts, strips of rubber, and other materials between the strings, the pressing of a key yields not a single tone but a complex sonority combining several different pitches and timbres along with unhitched buzzes or thumps. A conventional harmonic approach is out of the question, as each different piano key sounds its own fixed, non-modulating harmonic object.

The writing for orchestra reflects this hallmark of the solo instrument. Thus, for example, the opening chord, with the violin sitting on top of the clarinet and horn to sound a D-minor chord, always returns in exactly this configuration, never exchanging voices, never modulating to (say) an A-major inversion. The sonorities follow each other as "a melodic line without accompaniment," in Cage's phrase. At the core of the orchestra is a large array of percussion under the control of four players.

Conventional instruments such as cymbals and timpani are found alongside an amplified slinky, a "water gong" (another Cage invention), and a radio. The orchestra is, in effect, a continuation of the prepared piano by other means.

Cage composed the Concerto for prepared piano with the help of a two-dimensional chart of these sonorities, 14 by 16. The Concerto is about the conflict between structure and freedom, between improvisation and order. In For the birds, Cage described the piece as "a drama between the piano, which remains romantic, expressive and the orchestra, which itself follows the principles of oriental philosophy. And the third movement signifies the coming together of things which were opposed to one another in the first movement." In his virtuoso analysis of the piece, James Pritchett describes how in the first movement, while the piano's gestures are clearly improvisatory in nature and more conventionally "musical" in shape, the orchestra, following rules and diagrams on Cage's compositional charts, "is elusive and cryptic; it does not speak, it simply exists." In the second movement Cage brings the piano under the control of a second, parallel but distinct chart, creating an increasing sense of confluence between the soloist and the ensemble.

The final movement is one of the great revelations of Cage's oeuvre. Throughout the concerto, two governing systems have been at work: the charts containing the sonorities (which control the pitches and orchestration), and a rhythmic structure (which controls the density and phrasing). Although no more discernible by the listener than the pitch charts, there has been throughout the piece a steady rhythmic proportion of 3, 2, 4; 4, 2, 3; 5 (expressed in number of measures) cycling over and over. The first movement is made up of nine of these 23-measure-long cycles (3 cycles, plus 2 cycles, plus 4 cycles); likewise the second movement (4+2+3). In the extraordinary third movement these two governing systems both reach their apotheosis. The prepared piano is brought under the control of the same chart which guides the orchestra, releasing it from the hunger for self-expression. The unified ensemble is then free to reveal the rhythmic structure which has been underlying the entire work: the five-bar phrase which comes at the end of each rhythmic cycle is expressed by total silence. In both Zen philosophy and contemporary theoretical physics, one peels away layers of appearance to discover that at the heart of "reality" lies emptiness. In the Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orchestra, Cage, in stripping away the sounds of he piece and reducing it to silence, shows us the heart of the music. Form is shown to indeed be emptiness.

As Cage's artistic journey continued, silence became a starting point, a governing principle, a trademark or leitmotif. In his final compositions, the extreme sparseness of the written music takes on a dramatic, almost shocking character. Threatening to leave "art" behind (not unlike the late quartets of Beethoven), the "number" pieces are very nearly no longer music as we know it. In this world a single sound is a major event, and the luminescent immobility of the sustained tones becomes a metaphor for the stillness of death.

Fourteen (1990)

As in the Concert, the thirteen instruments plus solo piano called for in Fourteen play independently from each other; but here each instrument produces only simple pitches, which due to Cage's use of flexible time brackets tend to be either very long or isolated, brief events.

Dynamics are left to the players' discretion with the understanding that loud sounds will be short. Except for the piano solo, the parts are missing several time brackets, yielding long stretches of silence from individual players and unpredictable variations of texture.

The solo piano, whose strings are bowed with rosined nylon fishing line rather than struck with hammers activated from the keyboard, is "an unaccompanied solo, one which is heard in an anarchic society of sounds." The characteristics of the bowed piano which mark it as the solo instrument are the unpredictable morphology of its tones and unique, almost ethereal and mysterious nature of sound.

Repeating his feat from fifty years earlier (when he created an entire literature for a profoundly re-configured and re-imagined piano), Cage in his late works returns again and again to the bowed piano, drawn to the way in which the sound seems to arise from nowhere, "brushed into existence". Using the bowed piano as a focus and a vehicle, and bracketing and mirroring the achievement of the Concerto for prepared piano, Cage creates in Fourteen a music which defines silence and is defined by silence.

--Stephen Drury
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Offline Grazioso

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #145 on: July 02, 2011, 09:17:22 AM »
Don't know if this was posted already. Cage on TV:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/SSulycqZH-U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/SSulycqZH-U</a>
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #146 on: July 02, 2011, 04:06:54 PM »
Sonatas and interludes, for prepared piano (1946-48)



The Sonatas and interludes is the work that has almost universally been acclaimed as Cage's masterwork for the prepared piano; one of his most popular works, it is performed regularly and has been recorded numerous times. Whether or not one considers it a masterwork, it is easily the finest of Cage's compositions for prepared piano, and the crowning achievement of his work of the mid-1940s.

Sonatas and interludes consists of twenty short pieces: sixteen sonatas and four interludes. The sonatas are gathered into four groups of four, and the work as a whole is divided into halves, with two groups of sonatas and two interludes in each half. In the first half of the piece, the interludes follow the groups of sonatas, while in the second half they precede them, thus producing a symmetrical arrangement. Beyond this symmetry there is no overall controlling musical structure.

All sonatas except IX-XI are in binary form with both halves repeated. The other three are in ternary forms that consist of two sections marked to be repeated and one non-repeated section--that is, a binary form with an "extra" section. Among these three sonatas, all permutations of this ternary plan are present, with the non-repeated section occurring before, after or in the middle of the basic binary form. The interludes are of two formal types. The first two are through-composed, with no repeated sections, while the last two are four-part forms with all sections repeated.

The use of binary forms has certain effects on the compositions. Since these pieces all make use of the micro-macroscopic rhythmic structure, the binary forms result in rhythmic structures based on pairs of repeated numbers--in the fourth sonata, for example, the structure is {3, 3, 2, 2}. The repeated numbers are the result of the repeated sections; at the small scale they frequently result in parallel phrases. At the large scale, the use of binary forms suggests the compositional problem of how to handle the transitions from the ends to the beginnings of sections: the same music must lead to two different destinations. In "Composition as Process: Changes," Cage indicates that in these pieces "the formal concern was to make the progress from the end of a section to its beginning seem inevitable." In some pieces, this was done by actually blurring the distinction between the endings and beginnings of a section. For instance, in the eleventh sonata, the beginning is occupied entirely by patterns on a handful of tones. This then swells to a more melodic passage: the notes used in the opening, which have taken on an accompanimental role, eventually disappear entirely a few measures later. They reappear at the end of the section, so that when the return to the opening occurs, the listener does not even realize it. A similar strategy is used in the fourteenth and fifteenth sonata, but with an added dimension: the second halves of these two pieces are exactly identical, so that the distinction between pieces has been blurred as well.

The rhythmic structures of the individual pieces of the Sonatas and interludes are more complex than any Cage had used before, largely the result of his inclusion of fractions in the structural formulas. The fractions cause some changes in the way Cage used his rhythmic structures, and lead to asymmetrical phrase patterns. The fifth sonata, with its structure of {2, 2, 2 1/2, 2 1/2} is one of the more interesting pieces from this point of view. The right hand part of the first unit is occupied entirely with a simple undulating scale pattern. At first, the pattern takes up two bars, and is repeated twice. On measure 5 the pattern is extended by half a bar, making up the third element in the structure. The fourth element in the structure is made up of shortening the pattern to only one bar, and then extending the shortened version itself by half a bar. The overall pattern of these alterations is then 2 + 2 + 2 1/2 + 1 + 1 1/2. In the second unit of the piece, the left hand part is subject to similar procedures. The rhythmic asymmetry of the fifth sonata is caused by the half-bar extension implied by the rhythmic structure based on the numbers 2 and 2 1/2. This idea is developed further in the 1 + 1 1/2 subdivision of some of the 2 1/2-bar phrases. Examining pieces such as this (or the third sonata, which uses similar devices) makes it clear what Cage meant in "Grace and Clarity" when he emphasized the relationship between structure and content in his music: this is a perfect example of the musical content playing with and against the rhythmic structure.

Sonatas and interludes is a work that repays a prolonged study--new details jump out from every page. Different listeners will have their own favorite pieces, their own compelling experiences. There are the marvelous organic and dramatic shapes of some of the pieces, particularly the fourth, thirteenth, and sixteenth sonatas and the second interlude. Particularly enjoyable is the way Cage has used repetitive and regularly-pulsed music: a staple in the dance pieces, it is used here not just to fill space, but for dramatic ends (as in the conclusion to the tenth sonata) or as a foil for flexible and irregular rhythms (as in the second interlude). Peter Yates, in his account of the piece, gives a sense of the complexity of the work:
"The principle of tonal balance is to the effect that more highly pitched sounds tend to unrest and sounds of lower pitch to rest. Instead of a dominant and tonic pair of final chords, Cage may repeat the same group of simultaneous sounds, emphasizing first the higher registers as a dominant and then the lower as a tonic, a very reasonable and satisfactory ending process. Many variations of this principle enliven the sonatas. Other means of structure are found in the balance between movement and non-movement, between sound and silence, between the hurrying of many tones at one level of sounds and the slow fall of single sounds upon another level, the two interpenetrating but never mingling as chords."

As suggested by Yates, there is a breadth to the Sonatas and interlaces that is lacking in all of Cage's previous work. Perhaps as a response to the needs of his rather broad "permanent emotion" program, Cage developed a variety of musical styles, techniques, and effects: he appears here as a composer with a broad palette at his disposal and the ability to use it effectively.

But the achievement of Sonatas and interludes goes beyond just the technical aspects: it has a musical and emotional depth that is greater than much of what Cage had composed before. The pieces are vibrant, elusive, and alive. This is the end to which his work since 1939 had been pointing: the development of a broad, satisfying, very personal musical style relying almost entirely on unhitched percussive materials. Cage transcended the obvious musical attributes of noise and rhythm--brutality, vigor, momentum, power--and made music instead by turning these materials towards the expression of intimacy and tranquillity. In the process he himself had changed--from a somewhat bombastic experimenter describing "The Future of Music", to a quiet composer expressing the permanent emotions. Even at its premiere in 1949, the Sonatas and interludes was recognized as a pinnacle in Cage's young career. Said the critic for The New York Times, the work "left one with the feeling that Mr. Cage is one of this country's finest composers and that his invention [the prepared piano] has now been vindicated musically."

(from The Music of John Cage, by James Pritchett)

More notes and comments on Sonatas and interludes at http://www.rosewhitemusic.com/cage/texts/sixviews.html
//p
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Offline lescamil

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #147 on: July 02, 2011, 05:11:51 PM »
And who in their right mind wants to ruin a perfectly fine (and expensive) instrument with such tacky gimmickry. It's never caught on has it?

Actually, quite a few composers have used prepared piano in one way or another, but not to the extent that Cage has used it. It's like Cage wrote the encyclopedia on it, and composers today just look up entries in it and cite them in their compositions, rather than recopying the encyclopedia. And, done correctly and with care, piano preparation (or string piano effects) will not ruin a piano. I've done it to my own piano with no negative effects.
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snyprrr

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #148 on: July 02, 2011, 08:59:20 PM »
ok, since both Stockhausen and Cage both are guilty of 'writing' Radio Music (uh... Music for Radios ;D), I am curious as to how one tells,... I mean, there must be sooooome stretch of Improv by both that sounds like either,... no? Surely some Stockhausen off that EMI 2CD (w/ Japan, Pole, etc.,...) would sound something like something Cage must have done sometime? The stuff Stockhausen did before Mantra?

Chance VS System?

Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #149 on: July 03, 2011, 01:00:10 AM »
ok, since both Stockhausen and Cage both are guilty of 'writing' Radio Music (uh... Music for Radios ;D), I am curious as to how one tells,... I mean, there must be sooooome stretch of Improv by both that sounds like either,... no? Surely some Stockhausen off that EMI 2CD (w/ Japan, Pole, etc.,...) would sound something like something Cage must have done sometime? The stuff Stockhausen did before Mantra?

Indeed, at least superficially. There are a number of works/installations that Stockhausen composed between the late 60s and the mid-70s that are pretty much along the same vein of what Cage did and was doing for at least a decade. And of course there's the whole 'intuitive music' series of works.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #150 on: July 03, 2011, 02:10:49 AM »
None of it worth mentioning? I personally have always felt that the sound produced was cheap sounding, and not an improvement to the true sound of a piano. It's just surface gimmick in otherwords, nothing musically substantial.

If you took your blinders off and were a bit less clueless, you'd have understood that the prepared piano is not supposed to be an improvement to the true sound of a piano at all.

The big question is why do you bother posting on subject matter you dislike so much.
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Offline Grazioso

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #151 on: July 03, 2011, 04:08:41 AM »
A Tale of the Troll, or,

The War 'Twixt Sense and Nonsense

Behold JAMES, seated on the Throne of Taste,
Rend'ring Verdicts with intemperate Haste.
"No Cage for you, only faultless Boulez!"
Quoth he to the Cretins, whilst munching his Pez.
Sure in his Wisdom, some Music once heard,
He could ever rightly judge to be a Turd.
The Cretins all with him strove to reason,
Yet mother Wit 'gainst James stood to Treason.
Again too quick was he to disparage,
Sense and judgment sundered from right Marriage.
"Pfft!" said he, to GMG'ers one and all,
Rememb'ring not that Pride goeth before a Fall.

(With abject apologies to Restoration poets everywhere  ;D )
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #152 on: July 03, 2011, 04:54:31 AM »
Because it pushes your buttons easily, and I get a chance to give my perspective having spent much time listening to so much of Cage's stuff myself. PP makes the piano sound awful, which it does in fact do. Surface novelty ..

:D bring'em on! The rest is simply opinion.

In the case of an electronic music milestone like Hymnen, the transformation & development of the world-themes are composed.

Hymnen is a good example in multiple counts:
  • The 'score' for the tape part was done after the fact. So much for your idea that it was through-composed.
  • Since Kontakte that Stockhausen wanted the players to play freely against the tape, reacting and commenting on it, but it was the players themselves who didn't feel comfortable with it, and therefore a fixed score had to be written. The same applies to Hymnen.
  • Guess who the dedicatee of Hymnen's third region is. You keep seeing a schism where one doesn't exist.

Thank God, KS got back to real composing, where he clearly established his musical ideas and thought them through on paper.

Says James, who apparently knows more about what is real composing than Stockhausen himself. It must have been such a waste of time for KS to have revisited Spiral in 1995, when he should have been composing more formulaic stuff...
//p
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karlhenning

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #153 on: July 03, 2011, 04:57:57 AM »
  • The 'score' for the tape part was done after the fact. So much for your idea that it was through-composed.

Oh, man, don't confuse him with the facts, his mind is already so belligerently made up ; )

karlhenning

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #154 on: July 03, 2011, 05:00:35 AM »
Gotta love the pulp-worship implicit in the claim that only that music you think through on paper is worthy of consideration.

Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #155 on: July 03, 2011, 03:57:31 PM »
Hymnen was meticulously developed, composed & put together 'in the studio' tirelessly (so it is throughly composed) - as are all of his 'fixed' electronic pieces.

This is where you got it wrong; it was a compose-as-you-go activity, and much different than the approach used in e.g. Elektronische Studie II (to mention one of his other fixed electronic pieces). He catalogued sounds, processes, and made notes, quite unlike what Cage was doing, right? Oh wait...

he had serious doubts about the music and the musical direction he was going in; and this was justified ultimately by his action (he changed direction), getting back to writing .. and ultimately composing better & more substantial music. i.e. Mantra & others.

Whatever. Mantra actually predates some of his 'installation' and 'random' works. The disillusionment you talk about is very specific to the 'intuitive music' approach; however, as mentioned, the experimentation with improv had been long in preparation (since Originale in 1961, and an aspiration of integrating it in Kontakte and Hymnen) and had a long tail-end (see e.g. Alphabet für Liège or Herbstmusik).
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eyeresist

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #156 on: July 03, 2011, 05:23:26 PM »

Plink!
 

Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #157 on: July 04, 2011, 02:05:05 AM »
It was the nature of the medium, of course it's compose as you go (...)

This should be continued in the Stockhausen thread, but other than some factual inaccuracies and some stretching of what is the concept of 'through-composed', ultimately we're discussing aesthetics and personal preferences will make that discussion pointless. At the end of the day, what matters is whether the results are appealing, regardless of prejudice towards, and whether one dislikes, the methodologies even if just in principle.
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Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #158 on: July 04, 2011, 02:20:17 AM »
Fontana Mix (1958)



Fontana Mix was the product of a three-month stay in Italy, a part of Cage's tour through Europe in the fall of 1958. Cage had been invited to Milan by Luciano Berio in order to create a work for magnetic tape at the studio of the Milan Radio. Arriving there in November, Cage immediately created a new work, a tool that would generate the score for the tape piece. Both the utility and the tape piece itself were originally to be called Performance Mix; however, during the creation of the tapes, Cage decided instead to name it after his Milanese landlady, Signora Fontana.

The work was derived from notation CC of the Solo for Piano. In this notation, the four curving lines represent the four acoustic variables of frequency, amplitude, timbre, and duration. To obtain values for these variables, measurements are made from the points at which they intersect the slanted straight lines to either the top or bottom horizontal lines. Each of these slanted lines represents a time-span or "time bracket" during which sounds described by these measured parameters take place (the numbers at either end of the lines give the starting and ending times of the brackets).

Fontana Mix makes few changes to this notation, the primary difference being the use of transparencies to turn this into a musical tool rather than a fixed score. In Fontana Mix, there are ten pages with curved lines of six types (solid or dotted, each in three different thicknesses). These lines represent the six variables Cage wished to manipulate in creating the tapes: type of sound, means of modifying the amplitude of sounds, means of modifying the timbre of sounds (such as filtering), splicing patterns, and duration controls (specific durations, or tape loops). To use the utility, any sheet of lines is chosen, and any one of ten transparencies with various numbers of randomly-inscribed points is laid on top of it. There are two more transparencies: one inscribed with a rectangular grid of 100 squares horizontally by 20 vertically, the other bearing a single straight line. The grid is superimposed on the lines and points, and becomes the reference for all measurements: the horizontal dimension represents time (in the case of the tape piece, the 100 units represented 30 seconds) and the vertical dimension gives a means of measuring values for the six variables. The straight line acts like the slanted lines of notation CC, selecting a time bracket from the overall time frame of the rectangle. To determine the bracket, the line is arranged so that it connects one point falling within the rectangular grid to a point outside the grid. The intersection of the straight line with the top and bottom of the grid gives the starting and ending times of the bracket, and intersections of the curved lines with the straight line within this bracket are measured. These values for the six variables determine the types of sounds, sound modifiers, splicing patterns, and durations to be used within the bracket. For any given arrangement of the grid on a sheet of points, there may be several possible positions for the straight line.

To create the tapes, Cage first collected and cataloged his sound materials. He then proceeded to use the utility to create descriptions of time brackets within the piece. Two stereo tapes were to be made, each seventeen minutes long. Since each grid represented thirty seconds, thirty-four arrangements of the grid on sheets of points and lines were made for each tape, and all the possible time brackets used for each. Cage filled notebooks with descriptions of bracket timings, the types of sounds to be used in each bracket, along with the other sound modifiers, splicing patterns, durations and tape loops to be made. The collected sound materials were then mixed and modified according to these specifications, and then spliced together. Where two time brackets overlapped, their sounds were placed in different tracks of the tape; where more than two overlapped, the sounds interrupted one another, creating what Cage called "fragmentation" of the brackets.

Thus the Fontana Mix tool was used to create the two stereo tapes. While this was the project for which it was designed, Cage soon realized that it could be applied in a more general way to other compositional situations. Specifically, it could be used to determine random time brackets within any time frame, and then to choose from collections of materials, coordinating these materials within the time brackets chosen. In essence, then, the approach of Fontana Mix is the same as that of the earlier chart pieces--defined materials randomly ordered and coordinated within random time units. After making the tapes, Cage decided to make Fontana Mix more generalized by not restricting the types of materials it controlled, but rather having the definition of those materials become part of the process of using the tool--he indicates in the score that "the use of this material is not limited to tape music, but may be used freely for instrumental, vocal and theatrical purposes." Fontana Mix, as a means of creating a tape piece, was a more flexible version of the original notation in Solo for Piano; by applying the tool to other musical situations, Cage made Fontana Mix even more flexible and open.

Water Walk (1959)

Cage used Fontana Mix to compose several other works, among which were Sounds of Venice and Water Walk (both from 1959). Both works were the product of Cage's appearance on a television quiz show in Milan. In the show, called Lascia o raddoppia ("Double or nothing"), Cage was asked questions for five straight weeks on the subject of mushrooms; by correctly answering the questions one week, he was allowed to continue the next week, until the end of the five weeks, at which point he won the jackpot of five million lire. Before each of the five programs, Cage was asked to perform some of his music for the television audience. Sounds of Venice and Water Walk were composed for performance on these programs. In both, Cage made a list of twenty props, instruments, and noise-makers, then used Fontana Mix to make a three-minute score using this list as a collection of materials. The props and instruments of Water Walk all relate to water: a mechanical fish, a duck call, a bathtub, a soda siphon, steam released from a pressure cooker, and ice cubes crushed in a blender all make an appearance.

Quote
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/SSulycqZH-U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/SSulycqZH-U</a>
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #159 on: July 04, 2011, 05:08:59 AM »
Obligatory joke:

. . . Cage's appearance on a television quiz show in Milan. In the show, called Lascia o raddoppia ("Double or nothing"), Cage was asked questions for five straight weeks on the subject of mushrooms; by correctly answering the questions one week, he was allowed to continue the next week, until the end of the five weeks, at which point he won the jackpot of five million lire . . . .

. . . and he could afford to buy a cup of espresso!