John Cage and Revolutionary Music Essay

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John Cage and Revolutionary Music

An Avant-garde is someone who is ahead of his time. He is a person who is willing to cross new boundaries and to try new things. The meaning of an Avant-garde is a group or an individual who is active in the invention and application of new techniques in a given field. Who else could this definition fit better than John Cage himself? He himself believed that he was someone who wanted to invent new music. ?Cage considered himself a musical inventor? (Page 83, 20/20). John Cage?s art or experiment as you might see it, is definitely a great achievement is the field of music. His Sonata No 5 for prepared piano, which was written in 1948, was one of the greatest music he ever wrote.
Music, in most of the
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John Cage?s music was revolutionary. The music that he wrote or preferably invented was not always melodies or harmonies, in fact Cage pushed the boundaries of traditional music by eliminating harmony in a lot of his Sonata?s. The Sonata personifies his interest in the rhythm of the piece then in harmony. This was one of the first revolutionary concepts. Cage had quickly discovered that ?harmony was inhospitable to nonpitched sounds?(Page 86, 20/20).

Another revolutionary concept initiated in the Sonata No 5 was the unusual timbres generated by the prepared piano. By adding nuts, bolts, screws and such metallic instruments to the piano Cage had created a new set of timbres. The timbres generated give you a feeling of the flow of water while others are metallic. In the Sonata we hear a wide range of timbres that can be produced by the prepared piano. They are a complex set of timbres some with unpitched thumps and hums. Although most of the sounds produced barely sound like a piano but sometimes we can hear a note here and there, which reveals to us the instrument.

Then there was another new innovative concept, of using everyday noises. The ?everyday noises? like the clunk, bang and pound which can be heard in Sonata No 5. The metallic noises produced by the prepared piano sound a lot like playing with metal instruments, which can be found in the kitchen, but in a lot of his other works he has used instruments, which are used in a normal household

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