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elegy for john cage

Work Type: Chamber, Classical

Instrumentation: homogenous ensemble

Duration: indeterminate

elegy for john cage by mjveloso

elegy is my first foray into the world of indeterminacy, which grew out of a workshop masterminded by Pauling Oliveros and Stuart Dempster. Of the many musical experiments we participated in, the one that struck me most deeply involved having all the attendees lie down and hum whatever note came to mind for however long they felt; the result was one of the most amazing aural experiences I’ve ever had. This epiphany came to creative fruition after reading a biography of John Cage and listening to Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports.

This piece is an attempt to approach that sound world. Each performer has one of two pitch sets derived from transpositions of the notes C-A-G-E. They cycle through that pitch set a fixed number of times, at a tempo of their own leisure, until they return to the starting pitch. I hope to create a texture that slowly but inexorably changes in often surprising, beautiful, and unpredictable ways, with the meditative stillness and gentle rhythm of deep breathing.