Cage and the Computer

Pritchett James, Tenney James, Culver Andrew and White Frances

in Writings through John Cage's Music, Poetry, and Art

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780226044071
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226044873 | DOI:
Cage and the Computer

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This chapter outlines Cage's aesthetics and discusses how they affected his own pioneering work on computer sound synthesis at the Bell Labs during 1960. James Tenney credits his concentration in noise and algorithmic composition using random number generation to Cage's influence. He suggests that there is an important point of contact with Cage's working methods in describing stochastic processes as constrained random processes, because Cage perpetually built constraints into his own compositional systems before using chance operations. In Andrew Culver's remarks controlled randomness is described along with the description of the computer programs he created for Cage. Culver provides a captivating overview of the computer programs that Cage used in composing music and writing poetry. An insight into Cage's working methods, which are also the focus of comments from the third panelist, Frances White, is provided.

Keywords: Cage; computer; sound synthesis; Bell Labs; James Tenney; noise; algorithmic composition

Chapter.  9079 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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