Influences | Eastern Influences | Contemporary | Classical
From the late 1940s onwards, John Cage was a figure of major significance as a thinker, inventor and exemplar whose approach drew crucial sustenance from outside the Western tradition. A different conception of time and sound informed Cage’s music from the start, including his influential makeover of the conventional piano, which he ‘prepared’ by inserting bolts, pieces of rubber and other objects between its strings. The result, as heard in Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48), is a kind of crazy Balinese gamelan, in which clunks and rattles coexist alongside ordinary sounding notes and unexpectedly beautiful, muted tones. But while the prepared piano music was as organized, in its way, as total serialism, Cage’s increasing involvement with Zen philosophy led to his gradual withdrawal as a willed agent in his pieces and the introduction of the use of chance events, such as tossing a coin, to determine their fabric. Resistant to anything that smacked of goal-directedness, in 1952 Cage produced 4’33’’, a piece that comprised four minutes 33 seconds of silence, during which the audience is invited to listen to environmental sounds or contribute some noises of its own. Cage’s work, to some a provocation, offered others an alternative and a release from what they saw as the didacticism of much modernist thought.
An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...
Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.
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