John Cage turns 100!

November 14, 2012

Here at The Leading Note, we are proud to celebrate the life and work of John Cage, one of the most influential figures in music of the twentieth century.  This year marks 100 years since his birth.

Happy Birthday, John Cage

John Cage was a composer, a philosopher, a teacher and a revolutionary.  He was the creator of “Chance Music”, inspired by Zen Buddhism and the I Ching.  He also developed the “prepared piano” which involves put nuts, bolts and other items in and around the strings of the piano to create various sound effects from a notated score.  Speaking of scores, we have them!  View John Cage’s Works for Prepared Piano

His early scores explored modern methods of composition, such as an individual form of serial technique. He even studied with Arnold Schoenberg for a brief time before they decided that harmony was not his strong suit.  John Cage spent much time out of school, studying the world in his own way.  He was influenced by dance, religion, visual art and nature.  In time, Cage replaced the sense of music as communication with the idea that the purpose of music is to sober and quiet the mind, thus making it susceptible to divine influences. He was not interested in structures or progress, but in simply having an awareness of life in each moment.

One of Cage’s most well known pieces puts the “moment” on display like no other work before it. 4’33” challenges the listener to find music in 4 minutes and 33 seconds of non-deliberate sound.  There is a score, (available at the Leading Note), and a performer (not included), but no notes are played.  As the piece progresses, one gets the distinct feeling that a joke is being played and he or she is the subject.  But Cage believed that “music is everywhere, you just have to have the ears to hear it.”

To commemorate this milestone, The Leading Note has stocked up on a variety of Cage’s works.

John Cage Display

Check out “A Flower” for Voice and Closed Piano.  Closed Piano?  What’s that about?  You’ll have to come visit the shop to find out.  :-)

How about some wind music?  We have Cage’s “Solo for Sliding Trombone” and “Three Pieces for Flute Duet” in stock.  They even look pretty normal…well, normal notation anyways.  They look like fun!

Attention Violinists: John Cage wrote “Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard” and we have them here at the shop.  Don’t miss out!

In conclusion, John Cage was a great man and a great innovator for music.  His contributions have invariably shaped the way people of today think about and experience music.  What better way to celebrate his memory than by keeping his music alive.

For more information about John Cage and the events happening around the world, visit the John Cage Centennial Website.

Happy Listening!


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