Monday, November 21, 2011

John Cage Centenary (2012)

Ubuweb is a place to be- I found loads of interesting material on John Cage there:

Was there a person more influential? After Cage experimental music is more contemporary art and probably will be for another one hundred years. Writing music in terms of "space equals time" changed our understanding of both harmony and rhythm. Visual elements can be perceived as simultaneous if spatial relationships are distorted or irrelevant, like in 2-dimensional oriental art. Can we think about rhythm as a pattern of moving through space, and harmony as a product of a temporal collapse or layering different tonal colours? Experiments with magnetic tape showed that it was possible, which made many composers give up traditional notation that operates with time units. Conceptual music pieces starting out with non-musical material usually approach time as space, creating maps of sound, and the travel while playing that kind of compositions requires staying in the flow of sound or being in the now, which is a denial of time.

Cage studied for Schoenberg. Once he was trying to solve a counterpoint problem until there were no more solutions. The teacher asked what was underlying the solutions. Cage came to a conclusion that it was questions, and the chance operations as a method of composition were a way of getting answers. "I welcome whatever happens next or everyday is a great day or music never stops, we only turn away from it",all that suggests leaving questions open and never manipulating things to get desired answers.

From Diary: How to Improve the World, You'll Only Make Matters Worse.

- Your philosophy in nutshell?
- Get out of whatever cage you are in.
- If you describe yourself in three words?
- An open cage.