Cage's Writings up to the Late 1980s

Jackson Mac Low

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's Writings up to the Late 1980s

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This chapter provides a wide-ranging survey of Cage's writings through to 1980. Cage often termed performance as “skillful means” indeterminate to the use of chance operations and the composition of works. Much of his writing includes his elegantly composed expository prose and skillfully told stories, most of them taken from his friend's lives or his own. While his principal subject was music, of course, especially modern experimental music, he discussed other music of the past, present, and future. Cage's first “asyntactical” poems are the texts of Song Books which he began in 1967 and the first three and last three strophes of the irresistibly beautiful “No. 30,” which appears in M as “Song” are given in this chapter. Careful analyses of his working methods in all the arts may eventually show at what points his taste was determinative before or during his use of nonintentional procedures.

Keywords: Cage's writings; skillful means; expository prose; music; asyntactical; Song Books; experimental music

Chapter.  10054 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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