Cage

Cage

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Cage, John, 1912-92, American composer, b. Los Angeles. A leading figure in the musical avant-garde from the late 1930s, he attended Pomona College and later studied with Arnold Schoenberg, Adolph Weiss, and Henry Cowell. In 1943 he moved to New York City, where his concerts featuring percussion instruments attracted attention. For these performances he invented the "prepared piano," in which objects made of metal, wood, and rubber were attached to a piano's strings, thus altering pitch and tone and producing sounds resembling those of a minuscule percussion group. Cage's Bacchanale (1938) and Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48) were composed for prepared piano. Cage sought to break down the barrier between "art" and "nonart," maintaining that all sounds are of interest. Many of his works seek to liberate "nonmusical sounds." For example, 4'33″ (1952), probably his most famous piece, consists of 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence, providing a frame to be filled by random environmental sounds.

Cage also conceived the idea of a "composition indeterminate of its performance," in which the composer gives the performer instructions that do not directly condition the resultant sounds. For example, his famous Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (1951) is scored for 12 radios tuned at random. In addition, he adopted procedures whereby the composer does not directly condition the sounds of the resultant composition, using such methods as the roll of dice or a consultation of the I Ching (see aleatory music). Cage, who for many years was associated with choreographer Merce Cunningham, also wrote music for the dance, to be played independently of the choreography. A kind of musical provocateur, Cage is noted for his inventiveness, his humor, and his strong influence on minimalist composers such as Philip Glass and on the development of performance art. His influence also extended to such media as poetry, video art, painting, and printmaking. Cage wrote several books, among them Silence (1961) and A Year from Monday (1967).

See D. Charles, For the Birds: John Cage in Conversation (1981); C. Brown, Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cage and Cunningham (2007); biographies by D. Revill (1992) and D. Nicholls (2007); studies by P. Griffiths (1981), J. Pritchett (1993), W. Fetterman (1996), R. Kostelanetz (1970, 1991, 1993, and 1997), C. Shultis (1998), D. W. Patterson (2001), D. W. Bernstein and C. Hatch (2001), and P. Dickinson, ed. (2006); D. Nicholls, ed., Cambridge Companion to John Cage (2002); E. Caplan and D. Vaughan, Cage/Cunningham (video, 1991).

in full John Milton Cage, Jr.

(born Sept. 5, 1912, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.—died Aug. 12, 1992, New York, N.Y.) U.S. avant-garde composer and writer. The son of an inventor, Cage studied music with Arnold Schoenberg and Henry Cowell. From the early 1940s he was closely associated with the choreographer Merce Cunningham. Though he began as a 12-tone composer (see serialism), by 1943 his sonic experiments had marked him as notably original. He soon turned to Zen Buddhism and concluded that all activities that make up music are part of a single natural process and that all sounds are potentially musical; thenceforth he advocated indeterminism and endeavoured to ensure randomness in his works, using increasingly inventive notation and often relying on the Confucian classic Yijing. By the 1960s he had expanded into the realm of multimedia. His disparate works include Bacchanale for prepared piano (1938), Imaginary Landscape No. 4 for 12 radios (1951), Fontana Mix for tape (1958), HPSCHD for seven harpsichords, 51 tapes, and nonmusical media (1969), and Roaratorio (1979). His widely read books include Silence (1961), A Year from Monday (1967), Notations (1969), and M (1973). His international influence was far greater than that of any previous American composer.

Learn more about Cage, John with a free trial on Britannica.com.

in full John Milton Cage, Jr.

(born Sept. 5, 1912, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.—died Aug. 12, 1992, New York, N.Y.) U.S. avant-garde composer and writer. The son of an inventor, Cage studied music with Arnold Schoenberg and Henry Cowell. From the early 1940s he was closely associated with the choreographer Merce Cunningham. Though he began as a 12-tone composer (see serialism), by 1943 his sonic experiments had marked him as notably original. He soon turned to Zen Buddhism and concluded that all activities that make up music are part of a single natural process and that all sounds are potentially musical; thenceforth he advocated indeterminism and endeavoured to ensure randomness in his works, using increasingly inventive notation and often relying on the Confucian classic Yijing. By the 1960s he had expanded into the realm of multimedia. His disparate works include Bacchanale for prepared piano (1938), Imaginary Landscape No. 4 for 12 radios (1951), Fontana Mix for tape (1958), HPSCHD for seven harpsichords, 51 tapes, and nonmusical media (1969), and Roaratorio (1979). His widely read books include Silence (1961), A Year from Monday (1967), Notations (1969), and M (1973). His international influence was far greater than that of any previous American composer.

Learn more about Cage, John with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Cage may refer to:

Fiction

Music

People

Miscellaneous

  • Acronym for Commercial and Government Entity
  • Batting cage, an enclosed cage for baseball players to practice the skill of batting
  • Bottle cage, a bicycle accessory used to affix a water bottle to a bike
  • Cage (BDSM), an enclosure used to confine a submissive in BDSM
  • Cage (enclosure), an enclosure made of mesh, bars or wires, used to confine, contain or protect something
  • Cage (graph theory), a regular graph in graph theory with the fewest vertices for a given girth and degree
  • CAGE questionnaire, a screening tool for determining alcoholism.
  • Cap analysis gene expression, a molecular biology technique for identifying mRNA transcription start sites and quantifying their expression levels
  • Casino cage, the location where chips are exchanged to or from cash in a casino
  • Faraday cage, an enclosure formed by conducting material
  • Human rib cage, a part of the human skeleton within the thoracic area
  • Iron cage, a concept introduced by Max Weber
  • Roll cage, a specially constructed frame built in or around the cab of a vehicle to protect the occupants from being injured in an accident
  • Shark proof cage, a cage in which a SCUBA diver enters to examine sharks better and more safely

High throughput genomics techniques

  • CAGE: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/100/26/15776 (CAGE article in PNAS), cap analysis gene expression (CAGE). CAGE allows high-throughout gene expression analysis and the profiling of transcriptional start points (TSP), including promoter usage analysis.

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