Indeterminacy is a composing approach in which some aspects of a musical work are left open to chance or to the interpreter's free choice. John Cage, a pioneer of indeterminacy, defined it as "the ability of a piece to be performed in substantially different ways".
The earliest significant use of music indeterminacy features is found in many of the compositions of American composer Charles Ives in the early 20th century. Henry Cowell adopted Ives’s ideas during the 1930s, in works allowing players to arrange the fragments of music in a number of different possible sequences. Beginning in the early 1950s, the term came to refer to the (mostly American) movement which grew up around Cage. This group included the other members of the New York School. In Europe, following the introduction of the expression "aleatory music" by Meyer-Eppler, the French composer Pierre Boulez was largely responsible for popularizing the term.
Describing indeterminacy, composer John Cage said: "My intention is to let things be themselves." Cage initially defined indeterminacy as "the ability of a piece to be performed in substantially different ways".Bryan Simms thus conflates indeterminacy with what Cage called chance composition when he claims that "Any part of a musical work is indeterminate if it is chosen by chance, or if its performance is not precisely specified. The former case is called 'indeterminacy of composition'; the latter is called 'indeterminacy of performance'."
The earliest significant use of music indeterminacy features is found in many of the compositions of American composer Charles Ives in the early 20th century. Henry Cowell adopted Ives's ideas during the 1930s, in such works as the Mosaic Quartet (String Quartet No. 3, 1934), which allows the players to arrange the fragments of music in a number of different possible sequences. Cowell also used specially devised notations to introduce variability into the performance of a work, sometimes instructing the performers to improvise a short passage or play ad libitum. John Cage is regarded as a pioneer of indeterminacy in music. Beginning in the early 1950s, the term came to refer to the (mostly American) movement which grew up around Cage. This group included the other members of the so-called New York School: Earle Brown, Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff. Others working in this way included the Scratch Orchestra in the United Kingdom (1968 until the early 1970s) and the Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi (born 1933). In Europe, following the introduction of the expression "aleatory music" by Werner Meyer-Eppler, the French composer Pierre Boulez was largely responsible for popularizing the term.
In 1958 Cage gave two lectures in Europe, the first at Darmstadt, titled simply "Indeterminacy",the second in Brussels called "Indeterminacy: New Aspect of Form in Instrumental and Electronic Music" (given again in an expanded form in 1959 at Teacher's College, Columbia). This second lecture consisted of a number of short stories (originally 30, expanded to ninety in the second version), each story read by Cage in exactly one minute; because of this time limit, the speed of Cage's delivery varied enormously. The second performance and a subsequent recording contained music, also by Cage, played by David Tudor at the same time. Subsequently, Cage added still more stories, and published a selection of them, partly as an article, "Indeterminacy", and partly as scattered interludes throughout his first collection of writings, Silence.
Between 2007 and 2013, the Dutch artist Iebele Abel developed an electronic instrument called Real-time Indeterminate Synthetic Music Feedback (RT-ISMF). The instrument was designed for empirical research on subjective experiences induced by real-time synthesized music, based on the output of electronic random number generators. The basic idea of this approach was that indeterminate music might evoke unique and exceptional human experience.
Indeterminate or chance music can be divided into three groups: (1) the use of random procedures to produce a determinate, fixed score, (2) mobile form, and (3) indeterminate notation, including graphic notation and texts. The first group includes scores in which the chance element is involved only in the process of composition, so that every parameter is fixed before their performance. In John Cage’s Music of Changes (1951), the process of composition involved applying decisions made using the I Ching , a Chinese classic text that is commonly used as a divination system. The I Ching was applied to large charts of sounds, durations, dynamics, tempo and densities. Cage himself, however, regarded Music of Changes as a determinate work, because it is completely fixed from one performance to another.Iannis Xenakis used probability theories to define some microscopic aspects of Pithoprakta (1955–56), that is the Greek for "actions by means of probability". This work contains four sections, characterized by textural and timbral attributes, such as glissandi and pizzicati. At the macroscopic level, the sections are designed and controlled by the composer, but the single components of sound are generated by mathematical theories.
In the second type of indeterminate music (the only type of indeterminate music according to Cage's definition), chance elements involve the performance. Notated events are provided by the composer, but their arrangement is left to the determination of the performer. According to Cage, examples include Johann Sebastian Bach's Art of Fugue , Morton Feldman's Intersection 3, Earle Brown's Four Systems, and Christian Wolff's Duo for Pianists II.A form of limited indeterminacy was used by Witold Lutosławski (beginning with Jeux vénitiens in 1960–61), where extensive passages of pitches and rhythms are fully specified, but the rhythmic coordination of parts within the ensemble is subject to an element of chance. Earle Brown’s Twenty-Five Pages, uses 25 unbound pages, and called for anywhere between one and 25 pianists. The score allowed the performers to arrange the pages in whatever order they saw fit. Also, the pages were notated symmetrically and without clefs so that the top and bottom orientation is reversible.
"Open form" is a term sometimes used for "mobile" or "polyvalent" musical forms, where the order of movements or sections is indeterminate or left up to the performer. Roman Haubenstock-Ramati composed a series of influential "mobiles" such as Interpolation (1958).
However, "open form" in music is also used in the sense defined by the art historian Heinrich Wölfflin (1915) to mean a work which is fundamentally incomplete, represents an unfinished activity, or points outside of itself. In this sense, a "mobile form" can be either "open" or "closed". An example of a "dynamic, closed" mobile musical composition is Karlheinz Stockhausen's Zyklus (1959). [ citation needed ]Terry Riley's In C (1964) was composed of 53 short sequences; each member of the ensemble can repeat a given sequence as many times as desired before going on to the next, making the details of each performance of In C unique. However, because the overall course is fixed, it is a closed form.
The greatest degree of indeterminacy is reached by the third type of indeterminate music, in graphic score pieces, in which the music is represented using symbols and illustrations suggesting how a work can be performed. Hans-Christoph Steiner's score for Solitude, created using Pure Data's data structures. This notation may be, like music on traditional staves, a time-pitch graph system. Earle Brown's December 1952 consists purely of horizontal and vertical lines varying in width, spread out over the page; it is a landmark piece in the history of graphic notation of music. The role of the performer is to interpret the score visually and translate the graphical information to music. In Brown's notes on the work he even suggests that one consider this 2D space as 3D and imagine moving through it. Cornelius Cardew's Treatise is a graphic musical score comprising 193 pages of lines, symbols, and various geometric or abstract shapes that generally eschew conventional musical notation. Although the score allows for absolute interpretive freedom (no one interpretation will sound like another), the work is not normally played spontaneously, as Cardew had previously suggested that performers devise in advance their own rules and methods for interpreting and performing the work. There are, however, infinite possibilities for the interpretation of Treatise that fall within the implications of the piece and general principles of experimental music performance in the late 1960s, including presentation as visual art and map-reading.[ citation needed ]
Musical composition, music composition or simply composition, can refer to an original piece or work of music, either vocal or instrumental, the structure of a musical piece or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions are called composers. Composers of primarily songs are usually called songwriters; with songs, the person who writes lyrics for a song is the lyricist. In many cultures, including Western classical music, the act of composing typically includes the creation of music notation, such as a sheet music "score," which is then performed by the composer or by other musicians. In popular music and traditional music, songwriting may involve the creation of a basic outline of the song, called the lead sheet, which sets out the melody, lyrics and chord progression. In classical music, orchestration is typically done by the composer, but in musical theatre and in pop music, songwriters may hire an arranger to do the orchestration. In some cases, a pop or traditional songwriter may not use written notation at all and instead compose the song in their mind and then play, sing or record it from memory. In jazz and popular music, notable sound recordings by influential performers are given the weight that written or printed scores play in classical music.
David Eugene Tudor was an American pianist and composer of experimental music.
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, artist, and philosopher. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage's romantic partner for most of their lives.
Pierre Louis Joseph Boulez CBE was a French composer, conductor, writer and founder of several musical institutions. He was one of the dominant figures of the post-war classical music world.
Aleatoricmusic is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work's realization is left to the determination of its performer(s). The term is most often associated with procedures in which the chance element involves a relatively limited number of possibilities.
Aleatoricism or aleatorism, the noun associated with the adjectival aleatory and aleatoric is a term popularised by the musical composer Pierre Boulez, but also Witold Lutosławski and Franco Evangelisti, for compositions resulting from "actions made by chance", with its etymology deriving from alea, Latin word for "dice". It now applies more broadly to art created as a result of such a chance-determined process. The term was first used "in the context of electro-acoustics and information theory" to describe "a course of sound events that is determined in its framework and flexible in detail", by Belgian-German physicist, acoustician, and information theorist Werner Meyer-Eppler. In practical application, in compositions by Mozart and Kirnberger, for instance, the order of the measures of a musical piece were left to be determined by throwing dice, and in performances of music by Pousseur, musicians threw dice "for sheets of music and cues". However, more generally in musical contexts, the term has had varying meanings as it was applied by various composers, and so a single, clear definition for aleatory music is defied. Aleatory should not be confused with either indeterminacy, or improvisation.
A composer is a person who writes music, especially classical music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.
Christian G. Wolff is an American composer of experimental classical music.
20th-century classical music describes art music that was written nominally from 1901 to 2000, inclusive. Musical style diverged during the 20th century as it never had previously. Consequently, this century was without a dominant style. Modernism, impressionism, and post-romanticism can all be traced to the decades before the turn of the century, but can be included because they evolved beyond the musical boundaries of the 19th-century styles that were part of the earlier common practice period. Neoclassicism and expressionism came mostly after 1900. Minimalism started much later in the century and can be seen as a change from the modern to post-modern era, although some date post-modernism from as early as c. 1930. Aleatory, atonality, serialism, musique concrète, electronic music, and concept music were all developed during this century. Jazz and ethnic folk music became important influences on many composers during this century.
Contemporary classical music is classical music composed close to the present day. At the beginning of the 21st century, it commonly referred to the post-1945 modern forms of post-tonal music after the death of Anton Webern, and included serial music, electronic music, experimental music, and minimalist music. Newer forms of music include spectral music, and post-minimalism.
Process music is music that arises from a process. It may make that process audible to the listener, or the process may be concealed.
4′33″ is a three-movement composition by American experimental composer John Cage (1912–1992). It was composed in 1952, for any instrument or combination of instruments, and the score instructs performers not to play their instruments during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements. The piece consists of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, although it is commonly perceived as "four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence". The title of the piece refers to the total length in minutes and seconds of a given performance, 4′33″ being the total length of the first public performance.
Graphic notation is the representation of music through the use of visual symbols outside the realm of traditional music notation. Graphic notation became popular in the 1950s, and can be used either in combination with or instead of traditional music notation. Graphic notation was influenced by contemporary visual art trends in its conception, bringing stylistic components from modern art into music. Composers often rely on graphic notation in experimental music, where standard musical notation can be ineffective. Other uses include pieces where an aleatoric or undetermined effect is desired. One of the earliest pioneers of this technique was Earle Brown, who, along with John Cage, sought to liberate performers from the constraints of notation and make them active participants in the creation of the music.
Earle Brown was an American composer who established his own formal and notational systems. Brown was the creator of "open form," a style of musical construction that has influenced many composers since—notably the downtown New York scene of the 1980s and generations of younger composers.
Pierre Boulez composed three piano sonatas: the First Piano Sonata in 1946, the Second Piano Sonata in 1947-48, and the Third Piano Sonata in 1955–57 with further elaborations up to at least 1963, though only two of its movements have been published.
Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilities radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.
Music of Changes is a piece for solo piano by John Cage. Composed in 1951 for pianist and friend David Tudor, it is a ground-breaking piece of indeterminate music. The process of composition involved applying decisions made using the I Ching, a Chinese classic text that is commonly used as a divination system. The I Ching was applied to large charts of sounds, durations, dynamics, tempo and densities.
American avant-garde composer John Cage (1912–1992) started composing pieces for solo prepared piano around 1938–40. The majority of early works for this instrument were created to accompany dances by Cage's various collaborators, most frequently Merce Cunningham. In response to frequent criticisms of prepared piano, Cage cited numerous predecessors. In the liner notes for the very first recording of his most highly acclaimed work for prepared piano, Sonatas and Interludes, Cage wrote: "Composing for the prepared piano is not a criticism of the instrument. I'm only being practical." This article presents a complete list of Cage's works for prepared piano, with comments on each composition. All of Cage's indeterminate works for unspecified forces can also be performed on or with Prepared Piano.
Jeux vénitiens is a 1961 composition by Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, under commission from the Krakow Philharmonic. It premiered April 21, 1961 in Venice. Another performance occurred at Warsaw Autumn in 1961.
But what about the noise of crumpling paper which he used to do in order to paint the series of "Papiers froissés" or tearing up paper to make "Papiers déchirés?" Arp was stimulated by water, forests, sometimes shortened as But what about the noise..., is a composition for percussion ensemble by American composer John Cage. It was finished in 1985.