John Cage

(1912 - 1992)
Born in Los Angeles in 1912, Cage studied for a short time at Pamona College, and later at UCLA with classical composer Arthur Schoenberg. There he realized that the music he wanted to make was radically different from the music of his time. “I certainly had no feeling for harmony, and Schoenberg thought that that would make it impossible for me to write music. He said ‘You’ll come to a wall you won’t be able to get through.’ So I said, ‘I’ll beat my head against that wall.’” But it wasn’t long before Cage found that there were others equally interested in making art in ways that broke from the rigid forms of the past. Two of the most important of Cage’s early collaborators were the dancer Merce Cunningham and the painter Robert Rauschenberg.

John Cage Composition Timpani and Percussion Requirements

First Construction in Metal

No Timpani + 6 percussion
1) Tubular bells,thunder Sheet
2) Metal Rods (2 different sizes)
3) Thunder sheet, sleigh bells, gongs x 12 (varied pitch)
4) Thunder sheet,brake drums x 4, 8 x Graduated Cowbells, 3 x Japanese Gongs
5) Thunder sheet,Turkish cymbals x 4,anvils x 8, China cymbals x 4
6) Thunder sheet,gong x 4,water gong, tam tam,gong

Third Construction

No Timpani + 4 percussion
1) 5 tin cans, 3 x tom toms, China cymbal, log drum,maracas,Indian rattle, claves
2) Indian rattle, lions roar,3 x tom toms,5 tin cans, 2 x cowbells, claves
3) Conch shell, cricket effect, 5 tin cans, 3 x tom toms, claves, tambourine
4) Orchestral bass drum, 3 x tom toms, 5 tin cans, ratchet,claves, maracas

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