Sunday, November 9, 2008

Reading Response #2

"The Future of Music: Credo" by John Cage provides an interesting historical context to the work I have been doing with sound recording. Considered to be one of the most influential composers of the last century, Cage pushed the boundaries of what many considered music. He sought a way of creating music without following the traditional means of composition and performance. Cage's predictions provide an important benchmark with which to compare the advances made in sound and music technology during the past 70 years.

Cage begins by discussing the noise that we hear everyday, and he proposes that it may be manipulated with a film phonograph to become musical. We are presented with a term beside music to describe these noises; they are organizations of sound. Cage expresses his disappointment in the modern inventors of musical instruments, stating that their creations are too focused on imitating instruments that already exist. He suggests that electrical instruments will, one day, allow control of any tone in any frequency, amplitude, and duration. This control will allow composers to create music without performers. The composer will have unlimited sound resources and unlimited time to arrange these sounds in any rhythm imaginable. Cage considers percussion arrangements especially important in the evolution of music, as many different “non-musical” sounds are considered acceptable in percussion pieces. Organizations of sound will not be limited by the constraints of harmony, but will have a form of their own.

Many of the beliefs that John Cage had about music have become realities. Computers have allowed artists to shape sound in ways that had never been possible before. Digital media has made recording, editing, and listening to sound easy for anyone to do. An unlimited field of time for recording almost seems within reach as the price of hard disc space continues to drop. Sampling has provided musicians with a way to incorporate and manipulate sounds, whether it is in the studio or live on a stage. I found reading about Cage’s work to be very inspiring. His father once told him, "If someone says 'can't' that shows you what to do." He devoted his life to music and continued to push its boundaries, even when others considered his work to be a joke. I will maintain my search for new and interesting ways to record sound and experiment with arranging those sounds into some kind of musical form.

No comments: