My Inner Music Geek
I have a musical confession to make. I am a choir geek. I sang in high school and in college. (Singing Verdi’s Requiem in it’s entirety was the highlight of my choral ‘career.’) Those moments are entirely too far and few between now. So, I occasionally belt it out at karaoke and regularly sing in the shower or bellow as I drive in my car. I must thank Sister Clarina, my 3rd grade teacher and the all-school music educator, for giving me the love of beats early on in life. But then again, beats and music surround us. And for but a moment I will travel back musically to feed my inner geek just for this one blog post.
John Cage was one of the original composers to challenge the idea of what music is. He harnessed everyday tonal sounds into music and predicted the future liberation of musical composition based on electronic instruments and music. Here, as part of his The Future of Music: Credo, written in 1937, he predicts the future sound of electronica.
“The special property of electrical instruments will be to provide complete control of the overtone structure of tones (as opposed to noises) and to make these tones available in any frequency, amplitude, and duration.
WHICH WILL MAKE AVAILABLE FOR MUSICAL PURPOSES ANY AND ALL SOUNDS THAT CAN BE HEARD. PHOTOELECTRIC, FILM, AND MECHANICAL MEDIUMS FOR THE SYNTHETIC PRODUCTION OF MUSIC
It is now possible for composers to make music directly, without the assistance of intermediary performers. Any design repeated often enough on a sound track is audible. 280 circles per second on a sound track will produce one sound, whereas a portrait of Beethoven repeated 50 times per second on a sound track will have not only a different pitch but a different sound quality.”
Let’s visit a modern day example which proves Cage’s prediction with haunting exactness, and it happens to be a track that also took the playa by storm in 2009.
And if you so desire, here’s a more in depth podcast with history about and music from Pierre Henry, John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Or perhaps you’d be interested in listening to John Cage’s 4’33” and the story of it’s composition.