Modern Composers : John Cage

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Modern Composers: John Cage Music is a very peculiar term. Everyone knows what it is, yet there are different interpretations and definitions of what it means to them as seen from the varying styles of composers over time. In Beethoven’s case, music to him was an escape from reality and his greatest ally in cooperating with deafness. However, there are other composers who sought to think otherwise. John Cage is an exemplary modern composer who believed that music doesn’t need to make sense. He simply loved music for the pleasure of hearing sounds just as what they are. Personally, I believe that music is not something that is optional or something that can be chosen. It cannot be defined by what the listener wills it to be. Music is a…show more content…
John Cage is not an outlier to this idea, yet his philosophy of music and outlook on the difference of music and sounds are very different than most composers today. For starters, “John Milton Cage Jr. was born in Los Angeles on September 5, 1912” (Nicholls 5). This fact may be insignificant at a face value, but it means that Cage grew up during World War I and World War II, and shortly right after the Romantic Period. He was blessed with talents of both music and academics, and saw his first symphony concert at the age of five which sparked his curiosity and awe for music (Nicholls 9). After graduating Los Angeles High School decorated as a valedictorian, Cage went on to pursue the further education in Pomona College in Claremont, California, but dropped out shortly after losing his interests (Nicholls 11). He then followed his curiosity in Europe, learning of all sorts of instruments and his passion towards composing was born (Nicholls 12). From childhood to adulthood, it is clear that John Cage had a late start to his composing career compared to composers such as Chopin, who was already a published composer by the age of eight (Michalowski and Samson 1). Through his later years, Cage developed an interest and idolized Arnold Schoenberg, the Austrian composer known for his innovations in atonality (Pritchett 1). Atonality refers to a style of music in which the piece
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