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due Fri. Mos 6 = From Poigé Fiameott Chapter 11. fr fg foes Post=Toyak Music Aleatory Music, Sound Mass, and Beyond As we suggested in Chapter 9, the 1960s and 1970s are among the most diverse and richest years in the history of musical composition in the twentieth century. Numerous compositional trends and new techniques appeared in both Europe and America in these two decades. As we have already mentioned, there were, at first, 1wo general ap- proaches to composition among the young generation of composers after World War Il ‘The first approach, which we studied in Chapter 9, arose from the wish to exert rigorous control over musical materials. The second approach arose from the wish to relinquish ‘such control and allow elements of chance to intervene in the act of composition. The term aleatory refers to any compositional process in which some elements are not exactly determined by the composer and are either left indeterminate (a process we refer to as indeterminacy) of are determined by some process in which chance plays a definitive role (he Latin term alea means die—as in “the die is cast”), In aleatory ‘music, some of the final decisions as to the exact materials used in a composition or the way they are used are often left to the performer, who makes the decision at the mo- ‘ment of the actual performance. Scores in this type of music may include instructions that leave some choices to the performer, or may include some kind of graphic notation that may be interpreted in various ways by the performer. Indeterminate music thus not ‘only presupposes that the composer gives up some of the compositional control, but also builds in a certain level of improvisation on the part of the performer. The leading exponent of indeterminacy and aleatory composition, as well as an early practitioner of, ‘compositional methods that involved chance (beginning in the early 1950s) was John Cage. Following Cage’s powerful influence in avant-garde musical circles, most major American and European experimental composers in the 1960s used aleatory proce- dures at one level or another. By the end of the 1950s, both general trends (control and chance) merged in the works of some composers, and various styles, including various types of sound-mass composition, resulted from the combination of partial control and partially aleatory proceclures, In sound-mass composition, or textural composition, individual pitches and lines are integrated into complexes of sound (“sound masses”), In sound masses we do not perceive individual pitches, but rather chromatically filled complexes of sound, 280 | Aleatory Music, Sound Mass, and Beyond 281 ‘These sound blocks may result from multiple, minutely notated chromatic Fines that fase into each other (and then the sound masses are dynamic, in constant motion and transformation), as ia Gyéray Ligeti’s Atmospheres (1961), or they may result from more static elusters (blocks of sound made up of adjacent chromatic or mierotonal steps), as in Krzysztof Penderecki's Threnod) for the Vietims of Hiroshima of 1960, (The teem mierotonal seers to music that includes quartertone accidentals for which special quarter-one symbols are used.) At times, clusters ae notated pitch by pitch in conventional notation, whereas at other times they are indicated graphically, usually by means of sold black bands on the score. In sound-mass compositions, musical cle- ments such as texture, density, register, dynamics, and instrumental color replace such mnusical parameters as rhythm, meter, ines, chords, and harmony, usually considered as “primary” in a more traditional compositional context | In this chapter we will ist discuss some of the compositional techniques used by John Cage, with particular focus on his piece Winter Music. This will be followed by 4 movement from a work that demonstrates both aleatory techniques and sound-mass composition, Lutostawskis Jeux vénitiens. We will then study an example by Ligeti that illustrates his use of harmonic and spatial processes in some of his works of the late 1960s and early 1970s NOTE a The same diversity of styles and techniques that are covered in this chapter (and in the following chapters) also explains the need for analytical eclecticism. We will use, in ‘each case, the analytical technique that best suits the particular music we are study- ing, among a variety of possible analytical approaches. JOHN CAGE’S CREATIVE JOURNEY Widely recognized as one of the most influential American composers inthe twentieth | century, John Cage (1912-1992) has also been one of the most controversial and mi understood composersin the century’shistory. Hisearly years asacomposer (1933-1948) were mostly devoted to composing for percussion instruments and for prepared piano (a piano with various objects inserted between and over the strings to create pereus sive sounds and altered timbres). Toward the late 1940s, Cage progressively discovered, and studied Eastern spiritual philosophies, an interest that had a deep and lasting im= pact in his life, in his thinking, and in his approaches to composition. He was indeed deeply influenced, at various stages in his life, by Indian spirituality (in particular by the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and the philosophy of art expounded by Ananda K, Coomaraswamy), by the writings of Meister Ectchart (a Medieval Christian gnos- ti, and by Zen Buddhism, particularly the Zen master Huang Po. Understanding the influence of these sources on Cage’s thought is essential to understanding his musi. ‘The teachings of all these masters have in common an emphasis on silence and unself- consciousness (negation of the self) as a means to attain spiritual realization. One of Cage's formulations of the purpose of music, coming directly from Indian philosophy, 282 CHAPTER L1 is “To sober and quiet the mind thus rendering it susceptible to divine influences.” ‘Similarly, Cage learned from Eckhart that “It is in stillness, in the silence, that the ‘word of God is to be heard” And, from Huang Po, Cage learned the doctrine of “no- mindedness,” according to which spiritual realization requires unity with the Universal Mind, which in turn requires detachment from the sphere of phenomena and of indi- vidual thoughts." ‘These ideas are central to Cage's musical development after 1951, In a first stage of this development, Cage turned to ehanee operations for his compositional processes By turning to chance, Cage was practicing the act of silencing his mind of musical thoughts and was opening it to the influence of the “universal idea” (as opposed to the individual's idea or creative sct). The musical material for one of the most important ‘compositions of this period, Music of Changes for piano (1951), is based on charts of ‘musical events. Each chart contains 64 cells (in 8 % 8 arrangements) of either pitch sonorities, durations, or dynamics. Cage chose particular items in his charts by as- Sociating them to the 64 hexagrams of the J Ching, the ancient oracle contained in the Chinese Book of Changes, Bach hexagram is made up of six lines, some of which are broken and some solid, and each hexagram provides an answer to various situations in life (three of these hexagrams are shown in Figure 11.1). The consultation of the 1 Ching as an oracle involves tossing coins to find a particular hexagram, and with it, a paiticular answer to a problem. This is exactly the way Cage used the / Ching as a com= positional tool in Music of Changes and other pieces of this period. By tossing coins (to decide on solid or broken lines) he arrived at particular hexagrams, which were then ‘matched with the corresponding musical events inthe precomposed chars, in a labori- ous and time-consuming process (Music of Changes took nine months to complete). ‘The resulting score was 4 totally determined score (that i, itis fully notated as it must be performed), but important aspects of the compositional process, such as the particu- lar successions of pitch events, durations, and dynamics, are let to chance. ‘The concepts of silence, stillness, and no-mindedness also help us understand the ‘context of what is probably Cage's best-known piece, 4° 33" (1952), In this eomposi tion, @ performer (usually, but not necessarily, a pianist) remains toally silent during ‘the duration of the piece (four minutes and thirty-three seconds). The pieve is in a way the ultimate instance of creative non-action and stillness. ILis the musical realization of ‘Cage's introductory statement to his book Silence (p. xii): nothing is accomplished by writing a piece of musie nothing is accomplished by hearing a piece of music nothing is accomplished by playing a piece of music ‘our ears are now in excellent condition, | "These intuences of Eastern and Medieval mystic pilosophis un Cages thought are oroutly is> cussed in James Pritchets The Music of Jobn Cage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 193), ‘This boak—which was the main source for the preset diecusson-—is particularly ceomnmetied sy general introduction to Cage's musi, thought ad compostona life Cages ow lectures al writings ae also ese! to understanding bis tought and ae collected in several volumes. See, particular. Silence (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1961) 20d. Year fom Mon (ietown, [CE Wesleyan University Pres, 1967). ‘Aleatory Music, Sound Mass, and weyond — — —— — —— — —_— wom are ce ee —— —— — — | emeemeeammenainel | cemeananmemel — —_—— — | Chun Meng Hsit igure U11 Three hexagram from the 1 Ching 4° 33 moreover, is consistent with Cage's focus on music asthe art of ime (in con- trast to the art of organized sounds in time). The structure of 4" 43” lies in its duration, ‘ot in its sound. Unlike what one may think, however, the piece is also based on sound {though not organized sound). Cage was also interested in the sounds of everyday life tnd the environment, and in breaking the barrier between life and art, or between the sounds of “concert musie” and the common sounds of life. That is achieved in 4° 3) ‘where the attentive listener will hear numerous sounds (of coughing, of sents creaking, of program rustling, of fans and room ventilation, perhaps even of people Teaving the hall in impatient annoyance. ‘This fusion of life and music is even more patent in Cage's pieces of action music. Cage's scores of aetion music are often textual instructions in which Cage proposes an action or a number of actions (Sometimes specific, at other times to be freely chosen by the performer) to be performed in front of the audience. The score of 00" (1962) consists ofa single sentence: “In a situation provided with maximum amplification (no feedback), perform a disciplined action.” In Cage's first performance of this piece, he sat on a landing of a museum staircase writing letters on a typewriter, Microphones. captured all the sounds produced by the action (chair squeaks, gulping sounds of Cage drinking water, the clacks of the typewriter, and so forth). The (puzzled) audience in the museum could hear these sounds loudly amplified by the museum's sound system, ‘When Cage finished writing his letets, the piece was over. Cage's action pieces are among the earliest examples of performance art (a form of art in which some particular actions of an individual or group constitute the work). Caxe’s breaking of boundaries between life and art, on the other hand, also reflects Cage's interest in the work of French-American artist Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), a close friend of his. Duchamp proposed (and practiced) the elevation of everyday items for objects trouvés (“found objects,” such as a bicycle wheel, a kitchen stool, or, in his highly influential work of 1917, Fountain, a urinal) to the status of works of art, by eX- hibiting them at museums and art galleries, "The term “chance,” in the context of Cage’s music, refers to the use of composi tional procedures that involve randomness in the choice of musical events. The term 284 CHAPTER 11 indeterminacy,” on the other hand, refers to @ process in which a piece allows the performer a variety of choices (left indeterminate by the composer) The piece will thus be different every time itis performed. The concept of indeterminate composition was particularly developed through the 1950s by a group of composers we know as The ‘New York School, and which included John Cage and three younger composers who ‘were close to him: Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown. A picce such ‘4s Music of Changes includes the element of chance as wn essential component of the compositional process. Nevertheless, the final result is a minutely notated and deterini- hate score. A turn toward more indeterminate scores requited the use of different types of notation. To this effect, Cage adopted a variety of graphic and spatial notations that, rather than imposing specific pitch and temporal structures on performers, re~ uired interpretation and a decision-making process (as well as possible improvisation) oon their part An example of indeterminate notation is shown in Example III. The score for Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957-58) consists of a “Solo for Piano” ‘made up of sixty-three large and loose pages, and separate solos for each of the instru ‘ments that make up the ensemble. The piano part contains a large number of individ tual events notated in a variety of ways and grouped into eighty-four different notation types identified by letter combinations. The general instructions for the piano part are «5 follows: “Each page is one system for a single pianist to be played with or without any or all parts written for orchestral instruments. The whole is to be taken as a body ‘of material presentable at any point between minimum (nothing played) and maxi ‘mum (everything played), both horizontally and vertically: A program made within a determined! length of time (to be altered by a conductor when there is one) may involve ‘any reading, ise, any sequence of parts or parts thereof.” Example 1.1 shows one event of the AY notational type. The directions for this type ate as follows: “Graph musi. % inch square = time unit. Numbers within are of tones that may eomplete their appearance within any amount of time area given them by graph. Vertical graph is frequency, the treble and bass areas mobile as indicated,” Read these 1wo sets of instructions carefully, and discuss their elements of indeterminacy, What options is Cage giving the performer, and what decisions does the performer need to make? | you were to perform this piece (and this particular passage), how would you g0 about it? NOTE, In Chapter 6 we studied the music of some composers who were part af the American uliramodern movement, and we mentioned Henry Cowell as one of them. The ultra. ‘modern tradition of experimentation (in areas such as new instruments, new tunings, ew textures, and borrowing instruments and techniques from non-Western musical traditions), of which Cowell is an excellent representative, was continued by several ‘composers ofthe following generation, including two of Cowelt’s students: John Cage (who studied with Cowell, Conlon Nancarrow, and two West Coast composers, Harry Partch and Lou Harrison (also a Cowell student. ‘Ateatory Music, Sound Mass, and Beyond as PM ohn Cage, Concert for Piano and Orchestra, “Solo for Piano,” p.40, notation type AY ANALYSIS 11.1: CAGE, WINTER MUSIC (ANTHOLOGY NO. 30) “Anthology no. 30 reproduces one page of Cage's Winter Music (1957). The complete score of the piece, “To be performed in whole or part, by 1 to 20 pianists,” consists of ‘oventy loose pages (all similar to the page reproduced in the anthology, with smaller oF ‘areater density ofthe same type of events) The Score and the Performance Instructions ‘The instructions for the piece read as follows: “The 20 pages may be used in whole or part by a pianist or shared by 2 to 20 to provide a program of an agreed upon length. ‘The notation, in space, 5 systems left to right on the page, may be freely interpreted as to time, An aggregate must be played as a single ictus. Where this is impossible, the unplayable notes shall be taken as harmonies prepared in advance, Harmonics may also be produced where they are not so required. Resonances, both of aggregates and 286 CHAPTER It individual notes of them, may be free in length. Oveslappings, interpenetrations, are also free. The single staff is provided with two clef signs. Where these differ, ambigu- ity obtains in the proportion indicated by the 2 numbers notated above the aggregate, the first of these applying to the clef above the staff. Dynamics are free. An inked: rectangle above a pair of notes indicates a chromatic tone-cluster. The fragmentation of staves arose simply from an absence of events.” ‘A few matters in these instructions may requite clarification, Cage uses the term “aggregate” to refer to “chordal sonorities.” By instructing that “an aggregate must be played asa single ictus,” he means that the complete sonority must be played simultane~ ‘ously and at once, not in an arpeggiated or broken form, Ifthe sonority is too large for the two hands to reach, then the unplayable notes should be depressed silently ahead of, time and held with the pedal while the remaining notes are struck. In staves with two clef signs, two numbers above the staff indicate how many notes must be read in cach of the elefs. A solid black rectangle above a pair of notes indicates a chromatic cluster, that is, the complete chromatic content filling in the space between the two notes has to be sounded in a single attack (for instance, using the forearms). ‘The Compositional Processes: Chance and Indeterminacy Winter Music is an example of both chance composition and indeterminacy. To de- termine pitches, Cage used a chance method he hid already used in other pieces, the point-drawing method. In this procedure, Cage fst marked minute paper imperfoc- tions with points, After he had a colletion of points onthe page, he added staffs snd clefs to tur these points ino pitehes, and then, inthe case of our piee, he notated the result as we see on the page in the example, Tis same method was the origin of Cage's use of musical tools in many of his compositions after the late 1950s. A mica tool } is some object that is usually superimposed on some other object that includes some kind of notation, to allow fora varicty of possible readings of the same notation. In ‘Music Walt (1958) for instance, Cage provides the performers with ten pages on which a number of points are marked. A transparency witha larg set of five parallel lines (a “musical oo!) i also provided, and performers are asked to superimpose the transpar- ency on each ofthe sheets to provide a musical interpretation of the points. "The dots are read as musical events, and each ofthe lines inthe transparency represents a different timbral or attack category forthe performance of the dts (such as notes plucked on uted strings, notes played onthe keyboard, or noises made by striking the piano on the outside or the inside) Many aspects of Winter Music ar left indeterminate, First, the piece can be pet formed by one to twenty pianists, can be performed in whole ori part, and the duration othe piece is free. Second, although pitch is notated, the notation can be interpreted in many ways. Each event may of may not be performed, and events on a page can be performed in any order. Pitches in evens that include two clfs can be read in a variety of ways. Although Cage indicates how many notes must be pled in each clef (the numbers 1-2 in the fist event in the second system of our example page mean that one note will be readin bass clef and two in treble clef), he does not specify which notes should be played in which clef. Tht is, in our example, any note ean be played in bass [Aeatory Music, Sound Mass, and Beyond lef, and then the remaining two notes will be played in treble clef. Pitch is thus not fined in this piece, despite the apparent exact pitch notation, Other than pitch, no other musical elements are notated at all, Thus, durations and rhythm, dynamies and attack types are all left to the decision of the performer. ‘Conclusions ‘An analysis of this piece cannot go much beyond what we have already done. Because ‘we are not dealing with any fixed musical elements at all (each performance will be based on different orders of pages and sound events, different readings of the actual pitches for events, different durations, dynamics, and so on), we have no fixed material that we can focus on for discussion. Cage, in his own words, wanted to allow “sounds to ‘be themselves.” That is, to let sounds be what they are, free of any relationships to other sounds, of conventional or preestablished linear or functional conventions. Chance and. indeterminacy provide the means for the composer to get out of the way in the composi tional process, as Cage intended to do. By doing so, and by not determining the compo- sitional materials, Cage achieved true nonlinear temporality in his aleatory musi. ANALYSIS 11.2: LUTOSLAWSKI, JEUX VENITIENS, 1 (ANTHOLOGY NO. 31) Witold Lutostawski’s Jeux vénitiens (1960-61) represented a breakthrough in the Pol- ish composer's career after years of composing more traditionally oriented pieces. After listening to Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchestra on the radio in 1960, and beginning with Jeux vénitiens, Lutostawski (1913-1994) incorporated a number of new compositional elements in his music, Jeux vénitiens, which consolidated Lutostawski’s position as one of the world’s leading composers, is usually considered the first work: in his period of compositional maturity. Some of the techniques that Lutostawski de- ‘eloped for this composition were to become essential elements in many of his works from the 1960s and 1970s, In particular, the concept of limited aleatory composition became an essential component in Lutostawski's music from this period. In limited ‘aleatory composition, some essential elements are determined by the composer, and others are left undetermined, In the case of Lutoslawski's music, form is usually pre- determined, and so is the general, overall harmonic result, while exact simultancities are not. In other words, the realization of contrapuntal and harmonic details is left to chance in performance, The term aleatory counterpoint is indeed also used (0 refer to this same technique, Precisely because of its indeterminate character, alea~ tory counterpoint results in a type of sound mass, although one in which the overall harmonic content, as we will soon see, is controlled. We will now discuss some of the ‘compositional principles found in the first movement of Jeu vénitiens.? First, listen to th folowing sources provide good inoductons to the susie of Ltoslawi: Steven Stucky, Lutostawak and Hs ste (Cambie: Cambridge University Press, 981), and Charles Bodan Rae, ‘The Musi of Latostwst (London: Faber aad Faber, 194) 27 poi 2 Arson yo i pong 1-2 A oe Kas] MEGAN UNOHPPIN) PTS AL sou aun AJUO OU SEM (EG6L-ZL6L) aD UY ae HO TZ p Coun Spion 989 FL sagas qurexysto9 op Jo ssouRENICTE yodva sv dt 539011 JO rut sod ou ya. ayemsmoututo9 re you attest“ asonb wt 2201 dorod09 ayy 0 Aonepouts Siopany pawinsaiian Uw i uy ys oy WON aut STANT aovo NuOl + yxoudde,, prom Ide uv spremoy Pe sfiqueype sup a ‘Suoiaae SoUupnoy 10 aprymdiue oy Stag, aovds st “avo au (Ap Jo SI 0 apr uo) 2802999 4 pooar or sds you pos pus sdeqpod pur ‘uudef up yo pos orp TH ns out099q pen f posanoostp Sess ETL TeAy PHOAL Jo pus iuer-2ay, aysXs snoaso Ur sta. ap 0} warp paquasap we a8 simo4 uanas ods om mp 2 pauuoyu 94 “Ase Buy avo “Spitnos Gay pres aay | saor9 join wood w yeuETeut Aysioamig, pawate ye apvo Nuol fo (es Zuasty] NOX JI seaUT 10 pur pus aos on 07 da Supe 0 Sea vs sou soe4p Jo 300 49p10 se ) OWN [pas se sake anu ay "22TH S94 ia “oT}B3Ip sputW, gar9y wow OB am op ax sino90 uorsy azaqp srujod i109 IW BN DUDGL al sv ssausuuoWLy qs odio up wiper “oan auues arp Jo $09] suarpo 0} se sosoduion st 01 3 yo aoaud e voc sy, TAI paiguiosrag ser sie ip requasardas i Im SJo0d 5.8% | nowy or pasn st yoress dors y seodde aou v afied © souwab Jo sjoqus ur wey soypes aovds ty {yo spuooas Sur os penbo uadxo uo odea yo 81924 | 1 o10ur o4p paw ‘asp Brinpoutos jo aoe|d an SayEY FaNat Jo. sess Fes ontsdap 49"

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