Wednesday, September 21, 2005

American Composer for 200

I got out of my electronic music class about an hour ago and it was interesting to say the least. We took our first exam for which I think I did well *crosses fingers* and I thought that that was going to be it. It wasn't. I listened to Mr. Reller give a lecture about a American Composer by the name of John Cage. From words he sounded intriguing. A man set out to create music from controversial angles and voicing the unintended. So I sat listening for about 30 minutes and then we watched a documentary on him that was an hour and a half long about celebrating his 70th birthday and the music that he has created in his lifetime. The first 20 minutes were good and then my allergies got worse and I got a headache. Cage's music, which consisted mostly of environmental noises, percussion instruments, and voice combined together, made it hard for me to concentrate. You see very few people actually LISTEN to music. I have a weird way of listening to music. I don't know if anyone else does this but here is how I do it. When I listen to music I tend to isolate each note from the next and also isolate voices from other voices. So if there is a violin trio and I am listening to it, I can easily pick out who is playing what and single them out to only hear their part if I want to. This is good when you are ear training or you want to learn how something is played and you don't want to hear anything else. HOWEVER, it is not especially good while listening to John Cage. One piece we listened to had mesotics, a radio, a female vocalist, two hand drummers, a piano, and a violin. I was just not in the state of mind to be able to logically process all of that at once. The piece captures your attention, but not as much as the piano pieces he composed. He wrote this piece that many call the composition of his lifetime that was titled 4'33" which is a piece that he conjured up from using I Ching, properly pronounced E Ching, eastern practice kind-of like fortune telling, where you toss 3 coins 6 times and get a series of numbers between 1 and 64. He used this to determine the duration that each note in this piece would last. That's not the interesting part though. The interesting part was that...continued on next blog.


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