21 April 2010

Architecture 1

In the mid part of the 20th century two very different experiments were going on in the world of concert music. Composers like Schoenberg, Webern and Berg had brought to life a new approach to music, a form of systematizing, which allowed for architectural construction the likes of which Bach and his ilk could never have dreamed of. This was taken to even greater, more complex heights by composers like Stockhausen and Boulez.

Simultaneously, John Cage and his crowd began experimenting with so-called "chance music," where many (if not all) the musical events are governed by total randomness. Dice throwing, coin tossing and even things like the ancient Chinese book "I Ching" were used to generate music, avoiding the composer's personal ego and input, and channeling the ethereal universe in a more 'pure' form.

And yet (as explored today and tomorrow) ... can one tell the difference between these two diametrically opposed philosophies? Which do you suppose is extremely tightly controlled serialism, and the other a product of random number generation?


Paint it black.

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