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The American composer John Cage

The American composer John Cage (1912-1992) was known primarily for his experiments in chance operations. Chance music, also known as aleatory music or indeterminacy, involves the use of random methods such as rolling dice or tossing coins in order to determine the notes and other elements of a piece. In addition, Cage was known for experimenting with a variety of other creative approaches, such as his innovative means for scoring notation. He also wrote many essays and poetic works and created some visual art works as well. This paper will discuss the life and career of John Cage, as well as some of his specific works and what they mean.

John Cage was born on September 5, 1912, in Los Angeles, California. Both of his parents were talented and creative people. His father was an engineering consultant and inventor, and his mother was an editor for the Los Angeles Times who also led a womens' study club (Hines 70). Like his parents, John Cage was an extremely creative person. This led Arnold Schoenberg to claim that Cage was not a composer, but "an inventor - of genius" (Lindenberger, 1994, p. 157). Cage began taking piano lessons at a young age, and one of his early teachers, Fannie Charles Dillon, helped to encourage the boy's developing sense of inventiveness. In addition to performing on the piano, Dillon wrote pieces for the instrument which were based on experimental techniques. For example, her work Little Bird Stories utilized bird calls as the basis for its melodies (Revill, 1992, p. 28). After graduating from Los Angeles High School, Cage spent two years studying at Pomona College in Claremont, California. In 1930, he accepted an invitation to study piano with the esteemed teacher Lazare Levy at the Paris Conservatorie in France. However, Cage quit after only two lessons because, in his words: "I could see that his teaching would lead to technical accomplishment, but I wasn't really interested in that" (Tomki...

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