The Music of John Cage: Early Piano Compositions
Hye-Won Jo

John Cage (1912-1992), who experimented with sound, is considered to be a composer who brought about a revolution in the sound of music. Many investigations have been conducted on Cage’s revolutionary works such as his 4’33’’ (1952), while current available resources about his early compositions predating the revolutionary works are minimal. Also, pianists tend to mind trying to play Cage’s music because most of his piano works popularly well-known are hard to play. Among Cage’s early compositions, as a pianist, I have selected representative piano works that are relatively easy to play while highlighting Cage’s early compositional style. This project examines the characteristics of the compositional style of Cage as viewed through the representative selection of his early piano works. In addition, as a pianist, through my performance of these compositions, I explore how Cage’s early piano works could be connected to other composers’ pieces postdating and predating Cage’s early piano compositions. Conclusions are made regarding how we would be able to understand better his early composition in piano music. Therefore, this project provides an improved understanding of the compositional style of Cage’s early compositions, as well as their connection to other composers’ works.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijmpa.v3n1a3