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Encyclopedia > Experimental music

Experimental music is a term introduced by composer John Cage in 1955. Cage defined "an experimental action is one the outcome of which is unforeseen" and he was specifically interested in completed works that performed an unpredictable action.[1] For other uses, see Rock music (disambiguation). ... Experimental rock or Avant rock is a type of art music based on rock and roll which experiments with the basic elements of the genre, and/or which pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique. ... For the Mortal Kombat character, see Johnny Cage. ... See versions in other languages: Portuguese - Aleatorismo | French - Aleatorisme | German - Aleatorismus Aleatorism is a group of believes that have existed for decades or maybe centuries, but not as they are today and only recently they have been organized properly as a religion. ...


In a broader sense, it has come to mean any music that challenges the commonly accepted notions of what music is. There is an overlap with avant-garde music. David Cope describes experimental music as that, "which represents a refusal to accept the status quo" (Cope, 1997, p. 222) For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... The definition of music is a contested evaluation of what constitutes music and varies through history, geography, and within societies. ... A work similar to Marcel Duchamps Fountain Avant garde (written avant-garde) is a French phrase, one of many French phrases used by English speakers. ... David Cope is an author, composer, and professor at UC Santa Cruz. ...


Michael Nyman (1974) uses the term "experimental" to describe the work of American modernist composers (John Cage, Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, Meredith Monk, Malcolm Goldstein, Morton Feldman, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, etc.) as opposed to the European avant-garde at the time (Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Iannis Xenakis). The "experiment" in this case is not whether a piece succeeds or fails, but is in the fact that the outcome of the piece is uncertain or unforeseeable (Cage 1961, 13). Michael Nyman (born March 23, 1944) is a British minimalist composer, pianist, librettist and musicologist, perhaps best known for the many scores he wrote during his lengthy collaboration with the British filmmaker Peter Greenaway. ... For the Mortal Kombat character, see Johnny Cage. ... Christian Wolff is the name of at least two notable individuals: an eighteenth-century philosopher and mathematician - see Christian Wolff (philosopher) a twentieth_century composer _ see Christian Wolff (composer) a German actor This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the... Earle Brown (December 26, 1926 – July 2, 2002) was an American composer. ... Meredith Monk (born November 20, 1942, in Lima, Peru[1]) is an American composer, performer, director, vocalist, film-maker, and choreographer. ... Malcolm Goldstein (b. ... Morton Feldman (January 12, 1926 – September 3, 1987) was an American composer, born in New York City. ... Terry Riley – (Portrait by Betty Freeman) Terry Riley (born 24 June 1935) is an American composer associated with the minimalist school. ... La Monte Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer whose eccentric and often hard-to-find works have been included among the most important post World War II avant-garde or experimental music. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... Stephen Michael Reich (born October 3, 1936) is an American composer. ... Karlheinz Stockhausen (born August 22, 1928) is a German composer, and one of the most important and controversial composers of the 20th century. ... Pierre Boulez Pierre Boulez (IPA: /pjɛʁ.buˈlÉ›z/) (born March 26, 1925) is a conductor and composer of classical music. ... Iannis Xenakis Iannis Xenakis (Ιάννης Ξενάκης) (May 29, 1922 Brăila – February 4, 2001 Paris) was a Greek composer and architect who spent much of his life in Paris. ...


According to David Nicholls, "...very generally, avant-garde music can be viewed as occupying an extreme position within the tradition, while experimental music lies outside it" (Nicholls 1998, 318). That tradition is the inheritance of common-practice Western art music, with its concern for increased technical complexity, historical inheritance, composer intention and other features. In general, and at least originally, experimental music took its inspiration from non-Western sources and from varying times. It may take its inspiration (directly in terms of generating systems) from other media; practitioners may or may not be professionals in the traditional sense of the word, although they may still be trained in their work and adept at it.


As with other edge forms that push the limits of a particular form of expression, there is little agreement as to the boundaries of experimental music, even amongst its practitioners. On the one hand, some experimental music is an extension of traditional music, adding unconventional instruments, modifications to instruments, noises, and other novelties to compositions. At the other extreme, there are performances that most listeners would not characterize as music at all.


While much discussion of experimental music centers on definitional issues and its validity as a musical form, the most frequently performed experimental music is entertaining and, at its best, can lead the listener to question core assumptions about the nature of music.


The term "experimental music" was used contemporaneously for electronic music, particularly in the early musique concrète work of Schaeffer and Henry in France and in the Experimental Studios at the University of Illinois, run by Lejaren Hiller. "Experimental" electronic composition may be "experimental" in the sense used in Nyman (for instance, Cage, Cartridge Music or the early work of Alvin Lucier); it may also lie more comfortably with the avant garde. Musique concrète (French; literally, concrete music), is a style of avant-garde music that relies on natural environmental sounds and other non-musical noises to create music. ...

Contents

Keywords

Aleatoric music - A term coined by Werner Meyer-Eppler and used by Boulez and other composers of the avant garde (in Europe) to refer to a strictly limited form of indeterminacy, also called "controlled chance". As this distinction was misunderstood, the term is often (and somewhat inaccurately) used interchangeably with, or in place of, "indeterminacy". Aleatoric music (also aleatory music or chance music; from the Latin word alea, meaning dice) is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance or some primary element of a composed works realization is left to the determination of its performer(s). ... Werner Meyer-Eppler (1913–1960), physicist, experimental acoustician, phoneticist, and information theorist, was born on 30 April 1913 in Antwerp. ...


Graphic notation - Music which is written in the form of diagrams or drawings rather than using “conventional” notation (with staves, clefs, notes, etc). Musical graphic notation is a form of music notation which refers to the use of non-traditional symbols and text to convey information about the performance of a piece of music. ...


Indeterminate music - Related to 'chance music' (one of Cage's terms). Music in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. This term is used by experimental composers, performers and scholars working in experimental music in the United States, Britain, and in other countries influenced by Cagean aesthetics. Indeterminacy in music, which began with experimental music composer John Cage in 1958, came to refer to the (mostly American) movement which grew up around him. ...


Literalism - Music that rejects the aesthetic as motivating force for the creation and pursuit of sound, using either the basic building blocks of orchestral composition (strict literalism) or sounds present at the site of performance (direct literalism) instead. Look up Literal in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Literal (from Latin litteralis, from littera, letter); taken in a non-figurative sense. ...


Microtones - A pitch interval that is smaller than a semitone. This includes quarter tones and intervals even smaller. Composers have, for example, divided the octave into 22, 31, 43, 53, 72, etc. microtones, either equally or unequally, and then used this scale as a basis for composition. Microtonal music is music using microtones -- intervals of less than a semitone, or as Charles Ives put it, the notes between the cracks of the piano. ... In music, 22 equal temperament, called 22-tet, 22-edo, or 22-et, is the scale derived by dividing the octave into 22 equally large steps. ... In music, 31 equal temperament, called 31-tet, 31-edo, or 31-et, is the scale derived by dividing the octave into 31 equally large steps. ... The 43-tone scale is a just intonation scale with 43 pitches in each octave invented and used by Harry Partch. ... In music, 53 equal temperament, called 53-TET, 53-EDO, or 53-ET, is the tempered scale derived by dividing the octave into fifty-three equally large steps. ... In music, 72 equal temperament, called 72-tet, 72-edo, or 72-et, is the scale derived by dividing the octave into twelfth-tones, or in other words 72 equally large steps. ...


Techniques

Some of the more common techniques include:

  • "Prepared" instruments—ordinary instruments modified in their tuning or sound-producing characteristics. For example, guitar strings can have a weight attached at a certain point, changing their harmonic characteristics (Keith Rowe is one musician to have experimented with such prepared guitar techniques). Cage's prepared piano was one of the first such instruments. A different form is not hanging objects on the strings, but divide the string in two with a third bridge and play the inverse side, causing resonating bell-like harmonic tones at the pick-up side.
  • Unconventional playing techniques—for example, strings on a piano can be manipulated directly instead of being played the orthodox, keyboard-based way (an innovation of Henry Cowell's known as "string piano"), a dozen or more piano keys may be depressed simultaneously with the forearm to produce a tone cluster (another technique popularized by Cowell), or the tuning pegs on a guitar can be rotated while a note sounds (called a "tuner glissando").
  • Incorporation of instruments, tunings, rhythms or scales from non-Western musical traditions.
  • Use of sound sources other than conventional musical instruments such as trash cans, telephone ringers, and doors slamming.
  • Playing with deliberate disregard for the ordinary musical controls (pitch, duration, volume).
  • Use of 'radical' scores which serve as non-conventional written/graphic 'instructions' to be actively interpreted by the performer(s). Cage is credited with the original development of the radical score and this influence continued through other composers/artists such as La Monte Young, George Brecht, Yoko Ono, and far beyond.
  • Creating Custom-made instruments for enhancing the timbre of compositions and exploring new techniques or possibilities.

Cover of Henry Cowell: Piano Music, with Henry Cowell demonstrating the longitudinal sweeping string piano technique Extended technique is a term used in music to describe unconventional, unorthodox or improper techniques of singing, or of playing musical instruments. ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... Keith Rowe (born March 16, 1940 in Plymouth, England) is an English free improvisation guitarist and painter. ... A prepared guitar is a guitar which has had its timbre altered by placing various objects on or between the instruments strings, including other extended techniques. ... A prepared piano is a piano that has had its sound altered by placing objects (preparations) between or on the strings or on the hammers or dampers. ... A third bridge guitar is a guitar with three bridges, instead of the usual two (counting the nut as a bridge). ... A bell is a simple sound-making device. ... This article is about the components of sound. ... Three magnetic pickups on an electric guitar. ... Henry Cowell (March 11, 1897 - December 10, 1965) was an American composer, musical theorist, pianist, teacher, publisher, and impresario. ... String piano is a term coined by American composer-theorist Henry Cowell to collectively describe those pianistic techniques in which sound is produced by direct manipulation of the strings, rather than by striking of the pianos keys. ... A tone cluster, in music and in Western tuning, is a chord or simultaneity comprised of consecutive tones separated chromatically. ... Glissando (plural: glissandi) is a musical term that refers to either a continuous sliding from one pitch to another (a true glissando), or an incidental scale played while moving from one melodic note to another (an effective glissando). ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... In music, tuning is the process of producing or preparing to produce a certain pitch in relation to another, usually at the unison but often at some other interval. ... Rhythm (Greek = flow, or in Modern Greek, style) is the variation of the length and accentuation of a series of sounds or other events. ... In music, a scale is a set of musical notes that provides material for part or all of a musical work. ... La Monte Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer whose eccentric and often hard-to-find works have been included among the most important post World War II avant-garde or experimental music. ... George Brecht (born Halfway, Oregon, United States 1924) was an early Fluxus artist. ... Yoko Ono Lennon (小野 洋子 Ono Yōko (ONO Yōko), born February 18, 1933) is a Japanese-American artist and musician. ... Pikasso guitar In 2006 luthier Yuri Landman built the Moodswinger, a 12 string overtone zither for Aaron Hemphill of the noiseband Liars A custom made instrument is a musical instrument that is considered to be of ones own design or a modification or extension of a defined guideline of...

See also

The following is a list of notable experimental musicians with Wikipedia articles: Laurie Anderson - electronic music Aphex Twin - electronic music Autechre - electronic music Robert Ashley - totalist television opera Derek Bailey - guitarist Conny Bauer - free improvisation, trombonist Controlled Bleeding - Paul Lemos David Behrman - live electronics Burkhard Beins - percussion and objects Black... 20th century classical music, the classical music of the 20th century, was extremely diverse, beginning with the late Romantic style of Sergei Rachmaninoff, Impressionism of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and continuing through the Neoclassicism of middle-period Igor Stravinsky, and ranging to such distant sound-worlds as the complete... // The acousmatic is an art of sound [2]. Acousmatic music (or musique acousmatique) is music which is fixed definitively on a medium and the resulting works can only be heard through that medium. ... Aleatoric music (also aleatory music or chance music; from the Latin word alea, meaning dice) is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance or some primary element of a composed works realization is left to the determination of its performer(s). ... Probing for bends using a jewelers screwdriver and alligator clips Circuit bending is the creative short-circuiting of low voltage, battery-powered electronic audio devices such as guitar effects, childrens toys and small synthesizers to create new musical instruments and sound generators. ... Computer music is music generated with, or composed with the aid of, computers. ... In the broadest sense, contemporary music is any music being written in the present day. ... A custom made instrument is a musical instrument that is considered to be of ones own design or a modification or extension of a defined guideline of a certain instrument. ... Danger Music is an experimental form of avant-garde 20th and 21st century classical music. ... The terms Electroacoustics and its sub-discipline Electroacoustic music have been used to describe several different sonic and musical genres or musical techniques. ... Electronic music has existed, in various forms, for more than a century. ... For other uses, see Electronic music (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the taste or inclination of the musician(s) involved; in many cases the musicians make an active effort to avoiding overt references to recognizable musical genres. ... This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... Glitch (also known as Clicks and Cuts from a representative compilation series by the German record label Mille Plateaux) is a genre of electronic music that became popular in the late 1990s with the increasing use of digital signal processing, particularly on computers. ... A prepared piano is a piano that has had its sound altered by placing objects (preparations) between or on the strings or on the hammers or dampers. ... A prepared guitar is a guitar which has had its timbre altered by placing various objects on or between the instruments strings, including other extended techniques. ... Fred Frith displaying some of his homemade 3rd bridge guitars, circa 1982. ...

Further reading

  • Bailey, Derek. 1980. "Musical Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music". Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall; Ashbourne: Moorland. ISBN 0136070442. Second edition, London: British Library National Sound Archive, 1992. ISBN 0712305068
  • Experimental musical instruments (magazine). 1985–1999. A periodical (no longer published) devoted to experimental music and instruments
  • Holmes, Thomas B. 2002. Electronic and Experimental Music: Pioneers in Technology and Composition. Second edition. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415936438
  • Smith Brindle, Reginald. 1975. [citation needed] pepr. 1986. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-315471-4
  • Sutherland, Roger, 1994. New Perspectives in Music. London: Sun Tavern Fields. ISBN 0-951-7012-6-6

Derek Bailey pictured at the Vortex Club, Stoke Newington, 1991. ... For several experimental musical instruments, see Experimental musical instrument. ...

References

  1. ^ Cage 1973, 39, quoted and so interpreted in Mauceri 1997, 197

Sources

  • Cage, John. 1961. "Experimental Music" and "Experimental Music: Doctrine", in Silence: Lectures and Writings, 7–12 and 13–17. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press.
  • Cage, John. 1973. Silence. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press.
  • Cope, David. 1997. Techniques of the Contemporary Composer. New York, New York: Schirmer Books. ISBN 0-02-864737-8.
  • Mauceri, Frank X. 1997. "From Experimental Music to Musical Experiment". Perspectives of New Music 35, no. 1 (Winter): 187-204.
  • Nicholls, David. 1998. "Avant-garde and Experimental Music." In Cambridge History of American Music. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521454298
  • Nyman, Michael. 1974. Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond. New York: Schirmer Books. ISBN 0028712005. Second edition, Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0521652979

For the Mortal Kombat character, see Johnny Cage. ... For the Mortal Kombat character, see Johnny Cage. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Experimental music - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (940 words)
Experimental music is any music that challenges the commonly accepted notions of what music is.
John Cage was a pioneer in experimental music and defined and gave credibility to the form.
Experimental Music Catalogue - Experimental Music Catalogue has been publishing American and British experimental music scores and recordings since 1969.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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