What is meant by structure in music? Does all music have structure? Part 4

What is meant by structure in music? Does all music have structure? Does all music have form? (With particular reference to John Cage’s pieces). Part 4

In the piano’s part of the Concerto for piano and orchestra Cage used 84 different compositional techniques that represent many different systems of writing. The richness of ideas in the concerting voice opposes the orchestra voices, composed with using simpler techniques. Of course, the concertante character of the piece will only be preserved if the pianist does not give up performing his part. According to Cage, he has a right to do so.  Many listeners found this piece simply shocking. The reason for that is that the live audience was used to following the structural relationships in music. Lack of these compounds and monotonous overlapping of musical events make a perception and an emotional experience of the work very difficult.

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In conclusion, John Cage’s approach to form in music is very hard to define. On one hand, among his compositions there are simple periodic forms, in which Cage's tendency to experiment mainly influenced the instrument sound or audio material. On the other hand, there are open forms reflected with the idea of indeterminism (Music of Changes, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra and Europera). The general tendency in Cage’s compositions can be determined with the words:  ‘from the idea of order to the idea of ​​the lack of order’. In his music we can see a gradual disappearance of traditional logic in the formal process (no beginning, end, moments of tension and relaxation, etc.). Although Cage’s approach was innovative and never seen before, he’s achievements influenced  the composers following him. If this essay had been written 50 years ago, the answer to the question would have been fundamentally different. This is why John Cage is the most prominent composer of the century.


Books and Articles:
J.Cage, Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage (Hanover, 1961)
K. Essl, Aspekte des Seriellen bei Stockhausen (Wien, 1989)
W. Fetterman, John Cage's Theatre Pieces: Notations and Performances. (Amsterdam, 1996)

R. Kostelanetz, John Cage (New York, 1999)

L. E. Miller, ’Henry Cowell and John Cage: Intersections and Influences, 1933–1941’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Spring 2006), 47-112
M. Nyman, Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond (London, 1999)
J. Pritchett, The Music of John Cage ( New York, 1993)

A. Brandt, Musical Form, Connexions Web site ( http://cnx.org/content/m11629/1.13/ ), (2007)
John Cage Trust, John Cage( http://www.johncage.org/ )
C. Schmidt-Jones, Form in Music, Connexions Web site ( http://cnx.org/content/m10842/2.14/), (2011)

J.Cage, Amores, Giancarlo Simonacci, Ars Ludi Lab (Tommaso Capuano, Patrizio Palmacki, Flavio Tanzi), Antonio Caggiano (Brilliant Classics), CD 8811, 8189
J.Cage, Winter music, Steffen Sohleiermacher, (MDG), CD 5439 , 613 0787-2

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