John Cage’s Music of Chance and Change

A R T L▼R K

41EwHX9Cu-LOn the 5th of September 1912, American composer, theorist, writer, and the pioneer of indeterminacy in music John Cage was born in Los Angeles, California. After having studied piano in LA and Paris, he came under the influence of such musical innovators as Richard Buhling, Henry Cowell, Adolph Weiss, and Arnold Schönberg. By the late 1930s, Cage had established himself as a leader of the music world’s avant-garde movement, a position he solidified over the next five decades, expanding the influence of his ideas into art and dance. His fascination with rhythms and percussion instruments greatly influenced his early work, as did the music of Asia, especially India. His first work for “prepared piano,” a polytimbral instrument he developed, premiered in 1938, and he later became known as a pioneer of aleatoric composition techniques (indeterminate music) and for his free-form improvisatory performance pieces.

Cage’s idea of indeterminacy in music was…

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