Friday, August 8, 2014

Digging in the Archives: John Cage, Williams Mix





John Cage
Williams Mix for magnetic tape
1952
manuscript excerpt
pencil on graph paper, 8.5 x 11 inches
signed in pencil

This is a work for eight tracks of 1/4” magnetic tape. The score is a pattern for the cutting and splicing of sounds recorded on tape. Its rhythmic structure is 5-6-16-3-11-5. Sounds fall into 6 categories: A (city sounds), B (country sounds), C (electronic sounds), D (manually produced sounds), E (wind produced sounds), and F ("small" sounds, requiring amplification). Pitch, timbre, and loudness are notated as well. Approximately 600 recordings are necessary to make a version of this piece. The compositional means were I Ching chance operations. Cage made a realization of the work in 1952/53 (starting in May 1952) with the assistance of Earle Brown, Louis and Bebe Barron, David Tudor, Ben Johnston, and others. Duration: 4 minutes.

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