The impact of philosophy on john cages idea of composing chance music

john cage experimental music

Yet, as it is impossible to predict when this would happen, the performers had to continue tipping the shells — as a result the performance was dictated by pure chance.

This was a reflection of my engagement in Zen. The composer was experiencing a growing disillusionment with the idea of music as means of communication: the public rarely accepted his work, and Cage himself, too, had trouble understanding the music of his colleagues.

4 33 john cage sheet music

The earliest project completed there was the etching Score Without Partscreated from fully notated instructions, and based on various combinations of drawings by Henry David Thoreau. This realization led Cage to compose 4'33" and to focus on the music created by our bodies and environments.

Pritchett presents Suzuki as the Japanese philosopher and scholar who was instrumental in presenting Zen Buddhism to the West. Every piece he composed, right from the beginning, he would get performed, either by himself in the early days or gradually by others - he was a practical man.

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How do we reconcile this with the textbook image of Cage-the-philosopher, pondering the same tired question for forty years?

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Introduction to 'The music of John Cage'