John Cage Dance no 1

  • Created by: E.H13
  • Created on: 18-12-17 08:55


There is no conventional melody line. Ostinatos are used instead as the most important melodic feature

Note addition/subtraction used

LINK to Clapping music by John Cage, where there is also note addition/subtraction and also indeterminate pitches

LINK to Electric counterpoint, which also uses ostinatos as the main melodic feature

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Harmony and Tonality

There is no tonality, as the pitches are indeterminate

This is the same story for harmony

Cadences come in the form of rests, instead of the conventional V-I or I-V

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The piece is rhythmically centered. Rests are used as cadences

Polyrhythms, eg bar 133

Accents used to emphasie off beats/syncopation e.g. bar 5

Metrical shift; where phrases are repeated at different points in the bar

Moto Perpetuo effect

LINK to Britten mov 5 of cello sonata, or John Cage clapping music

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Forces, Sonority and dynamics

Two prepared pianos, which are independent (don't double at all)

Metal and rubber is used to alter the timbre of the instrument

Not an extensive range for the piano used

Sounds more like a gamelan or a metalephone at points

Generally block dynamics, with little or no change in some sections (e.g opening). This could be seen as resembling machinary. 

'Gradual diminuendo to the end of the movement' is apparently an important feature (don't ask me why).

LINK to Stravinsky Rite of Spring 'Les Augres des Printemps' as he uses the strings, replicating the sound of percussion

LINK to the opening of Mars by Holst as he uses col lengo to produce a different sonority. Even though pitches are written, the pitches are hard to determine. This is also a rhythmically driven piece.

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Mainly contrapuntal texture, however standard contrapuntal devices (imitation and canon) are avoided.

Monophonic; bar 14

2 part; fig 6

3 part; fig 7

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252,262,272 repeated (2+5+2=)9 times. Each part lasts 40 seconds

Parts flow into each other, so it is hard to distinguish between the sections

The two other dances are faster, however they last the same amount of time. Therefore, they are longer.

Dance 2

363,373,383 repeated 10 times (think 2+6+2)

Dance 3

585,595,5 10 5 repeated 11 times (think 2+7+2)

Loose link to ternary form, as some motifs are heard in parts 1 and 2, not hear in 3 through 7 then return in 8/9.

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