Composer's Corner

• Sep 8, 2020 - 14:31

A transcriber's nightmare? A composer's delight? I know that our notation system has gone through revisions since it's inception. Stockhausen made a strange departure in notation. I'm kind of intrigued by the idea of addressing foundational weaknesses in our system and how it might be improved by degrees.
The Clairnote system seems to do this, with it's more accurate distancing of pitches on the staff. The modification to the staff is only slight. Clairnote might be a good system to get children started on reading and writing music. Can the two programs (Musescore and Clairnote) be merged? They are both open source, but someone said that it's foundational system, Lilypond, is not compatible. How long would it take to develop an interface?

To put my interest in context, Steve jobs once said that he thought that the Microsoft Word program was competitive because he designed it with a selection of fonts. For me, the inclusion of different systems is like the choice of fonts. To be able to view and work with your music in an alternative universe, yet with translation between those worlds. I think such options would give Musescore a competitive edge over even the commercial products out there.

And, no, I don't expect the masses to pop up say "Oh Yeah!" in unison. What are the advantages and disadvantages? What groups does one or the other option benefit?

Transcribers can still preserve the works of the past in the traditional system. I alert you that we are in a transition from transcriber to composer software, so expect many issues to arise that come from composers and for different ways of thinking about this program in the years to come.


In reply to by xavierjazz

Maybe Cage was trying to say "My music will be around for a lonnnng time?" As opposed to the Stones? I think one could make the point that classical music is different than pop in that it holds the interest much longer.

In reply to by bobjp

It is, yet it was probably developed with the authoritative direction of transcribers. We'll look into this some more. It's another thing to develop this project further with the direction of composers. And we are probably headed for a bit of a culture clash between the two groups. That's the reason for me wanting to back up and take a bigger, larger or general view of things.

In reply to by mike320

Right. We are moving from notation for transcribers to a system that is more focused upon composing. That means we need to talk about a Composer's Wizard. I believe that The Wizard was designed primarily by and for transcribers. That's fine. Now we need to revisit those notions.

In reply to by Rockhoven

What the heck is a "transcriber"? Is that an "othering" word used by haughty composers to minimize all other users of music software? (Yes, I have transcribed music from one instrument to another, but I don't think that's what you mean). Or does it mean a "copyist" such as myself (at times) who copies music from printed sheet to digital "sheet"?

In reply to by Rockhoven

The notations are standard practice and the engraving practices are being improved and are expected to be much better in version 4.

The playback of these notations is in need of being revisited. We'll see how easy the integration from a user's point of view is as version 4 starts getting stable enough to truly test.

In reply to by mike320

It seems to me that there are three types of users:
1. Engravers. Someone who is "type setting" a score and parts for publication.
2, Transcribers. Someone who is (for example) rewriting piano music for orchestra.
3. Composers: Someone intent on creating new music.

All three need the best note input possible.
2 and 3 need the best playback possible. Which is more that just better sound fonts.

I am referring to processes. I have done my share of transcription. Does anyone specialize in one or the other? Or are we all transcribers/composers? Meaning that we transcribe and compose. Because the processes are not the same.

In reply to by Rockhoven

Sorry to blur this distinction. But when I prepare scores of Baroque ensemble music, I always have to use my skills as a composer not only to compose a continuo realization, but to recognize textual errors (e.g.., wrong notes) and invent and justify solutions. Of course reading a book out loud is not the same as making an address of your own, but the two processes are intimately connected (i.e., how'd you learn to think and speak).

I think I said elsewhere that the most prolific composers determine what is "good." This work by Cage makes him the most prolific composer to ever have lived. In comparison, Bach wrote a mere 175 hours. This piece is extremely difficult to perform live. Wait until we hear the section of staccato notes!

I'm speaking from my own experience. I began with Musescore by transcribing theory books and my own notebooks. The New Score Wizard is ideal for transcription and probably for composing in the style of previous periods. But I subscribe to 21st Century common practice, and now that I am using Musescore more for composing, I find that the Wizard is an obstacle.

So let's compare notes. What are your processes for composition? Transcription work is a different process. 21st Century practice requires the Wizard to have a modified set up or a "Composer's Mode." That's the way I see it. But I spose you see it differently. So shoot.

In reply to by BSG

He's referirng to the New Score Wizard (Ctrl+N or File / New). I still haven't managed to understand how it could be considered an obstacle to have an opportunity to enter a title and select instruments/key/meter no matter what kind of music one writes, but this claim has been made elsewhere.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc - You are a composer? I think that is what you said. But you do not seem to be a fan of 21st century common practice. So what is that? The development of the New Score Wizard does not seem to be informed by the latest processes. How do you go about composing?

A transcription has the benefit of a completed score for reference. The title is the first thing you encounter when copying. The next thing is the time and key signatures.

Think about how we composed with paper. All I needed to do was put a pencil to the staff and I could fill in whatever i wanted, in any order that I wanted. For me, the last item I consider is a title. That could come months later. I don't need it, and it's an obstacle for me to have to fill out. This could be fully automated and make more sense. All I need is a one step button for a grand staff, and automated filing. I don't need anything else. If I do need something like a key or time sig, I can drag that into the score when I'm ready. These are not the first things I consider.

The very first thing that I consider is a campaign to amass a large number of miscellaneous items, such as melodic and rhythmic motifs, and chord progressions. I need hundreds and thousands of items before I even get anywhere near a plan. I have a choice. I can notate these items with a system that is composer friendly, such as a Tascam handheld DR40 linear PCM recorder or Musescore. i would like a composer's wizard that functioned more like my DR40. My DR40 does works by hitting one button. It sets up a score for me which will allow any instrument or sound on the planet to be accurately recorded. And it automatically files it for me with the date and serial number.

Don't sarcastically ask why I need Musescore. I don't think I should be forced to use one or the other. I would like both. I would like all of my mscz files to be able to be copied into a folder along with my dated audio scores and for them to all fall into order together. The format is for today would be 200908 with a running serial number: 200908_0000. It is incredibly convenient and logical. I can find stuff easily. I can scan these lists of numbers and tell where I was and the types of projects I was working on at the time. It's a general listing and coding that informs me of where all of these thousands of scraps of information are. I can tell by scanning with my eye that a file dated 140724_1957 was recorded in Mexico City in 2014, in the latter part of July, and that I was almost 2000 items into a project.

I would also like these files to be able to be joined together and the dates transferred into the text above the staff. Then I am ready to sort stuff into titled projects. The final score is going to be assembled in a DAW. This is 21st century common practice. Talk to professional musicians and this is how we do it. Scored parts come to the composer randomly to be assembled later.

I need Musescore for other things like transcription of ideas and theories and analysis. But when I am writing and recording, I mostly use it to generate sound clips for manipulation in a DAW. Every time I get an idea, I have to go through this score setup with the Wizard, thus it's an obstacle for me.

Of course, if this is not your experience, then you won't understand. I can understand why you would think that the New Score Wizard is sufficient when you have a completed score or you are composing a full score for performers to read. I just don't work that way. I have produced lots of compositions, but I have no full written scores. For each work, the completed score is in the DAW. The written score is now only a tool for getting a documented audio score. Like the Beatles, who scored their works directly on audio tape.

The entire scoring or notation process was upended by Les Paul in the 1950's. The individual instrument staves are replaced by audio tracks. We study the Beatles in theory classes using not only written scores, but by listening to the individual audio tracks. Just like we learn to listen to Bach by singling out bass lines, melodies, and voices from the contrapuntal texture. For modern works, the audio score is the primary source and the final word on what should be played. The Analogues are a band that faithfully reproduce the Beatles catalogue. they get the best information from the audio recordings. this is 21st century common practice.

Well, that poops me out. I'll spellcheck this later. Viva la revolución!

In reply to by Rockhoven

>>> [...]For me, the last item I consider is a title. That could come months later. I don't need it, and it's an obstacle for me to have to fill out. This could be fully automated and make more sense. All I need is a one step button for a grand staff, and automated filing. I don't need anything else. If I do need something like a key or time sig, I can drag that into the score when I'm ready. [...]

You've been given that functionality right here:
Too bad you seemingly haven't had a moment to try it out in these past two weeks.

In reply to by Rockhoven

Rockhoven - Just because you compose a certain way doesn't mean that many others do the same as you. Don't need a title, hit NEXT. Grand staff? Easy to find and select. Don't want the other stuff? Click through it. Those of us who purposely compose and aren't jotting down random ideas, use all those settings. I write mostly filmscore type stuff for small orchestra. I have an idea of a general mood. I set up the score and start writing, and see where the music takes me. All for the therapy of it.
You do know the Beatles recorded everything because none of them ever knew anything about notation. Not that they ever needed to. They made more money than anyone ever before them. Plus they had a genius engineer.
Many composers I know of use notation to write their music, then move to a DAW to get the sound right. Or just work in a DAW directly. This is fine unless they need a score for real players because DAWs suck at scores.

In reply to by bobjp

You did not understand. With paper, I can just start writing. all I need is a staff. I don't need the Grand Wizard. And I need automated filing. The Tascam does this logically. There are no arguments, no nothing. This is how I have to notate because I can't get a score in one click. ONE click. No Next buttons. One. That is the loneliest number that you'll ever do.

I use written notation. I wouldn't be whining and drooling and babbling if I didn't.

In reply to by Rockhoven

But with paper, You have to shove all the stuff off the piano bench on to the floor. An action that only gets you in double trouble later. Then you have to shew the cat off the keyboard cover. Then you get it half open and it slips out of your hand because there is jelly on it (where did that come from?), and it smashes your other hand. Fast forward through the trip to the ER, and now you have to find your staff paper. Next, you have to find the pencil sharpener. And then figure out how to hold the pencil in your thickly bandaged hand.

In reply to by Rockhoven

Yes, I am a composer, and a 21st century one, using 21st century methods, whatever that means - it just doesn't happen to mean the same thing as what it happens to mean to you. Don't confuse the century with the person. You have a workflow you like that involves DAW software and daily logs, that's fine, but don't assume everyone who works in the 21st century uses that same workflow.

Anyhow, I think everyone would agree that in any century, if someone happens to often create scores of a single type - for you it might be a grand staff, for another it might be SATB on four staves, for another it might a lead sheet, for another it's always an SATB choral score, for another a marching band, whatever - then it would be nice to have a button to easily create scores of that type. No one objects to the idea of an "easy" button that would simplify the process a tiny bit, removing those extra five seconds of think time - from your day.

And indeed, for that subset of people who only create scores of their preferred type, then this button might be all they need. But for the vast majority of us in the 21st century, we write music of different types, for different ensembles, in different keys and meters, and thus we would only use that "easy" button sometimes, and the rest of the time we would continue to want to specify the instrumentation etc for each score. So the wizard continues to serve its purpose for the 21st century.

Then we need to get composers and professional musicians to crawl out of the woodwork and tell us how they work. Because I don't think that the vast majority of us write scores or write completed scores. We work in bits and pieces. Hip Hop groups will compose a collection of 1000 rhythms just to get a few to work up into an album. I think you are speaking from inside some "classical" bubble. I'm talking real world nuts and bolts over here.

You can test a prototype of what I suggest. Just pick up your handheld recorder and start logging your ideas. Now try that with Musescore. I am speaking from experience. I write and record every day and the Wizard is an obstacle.

In reply to by Rockhoven

I am a composer/player and write charts for my bands predominantly. Most of my work is Jazz of the Americas, Afrocuban, Brazilian, post bop and my own style. I do lead sheets and charts for others but I have no interest in following any particular styles. I am a well trained musician. originally classically with over 60 years experience, I understand what goes where generally and do not write things that are difficult for players to read. I have a style that is very easy to read and is quite different than others use. I use the jazz font and jazztext. Players really like my charts because of clarity and ease of reading. I developed it to make reading as easy as possible, bolds, boxes, circles ..... I put things where players expect them.

I write for players. I write specific arrangements, usually with blowing sections. The only use I have for playback is to check for accuracy as to accuracy of accidentals. As I say, I write for players.

I was involved with MIDI when it first came out, did some work for Yamaha and Roland and decided I had no interest in playing with machines. I still feel that way.

I find using MS as a composition tool much more time consuming than pencil and paper, although when I am fairly close to what I want I often write it out in MS and print it out for more in depth work with a pencil.

For me composition is a labourious process, especially using a notation program, but I am grateful for MS as my penmanship sucks.

I hope this helps. Thank to all (so many) who have made this as good a program as it already is.

In reply to by xavierjazz

xavierjazz - Thanks for that input. I know what you mean. Here is how I would notate with paper. i would not even put a clef, because if I'm a bass player then the bass clef is already implied. The only time I would use a clef is when it was an instrument other than the bass.

As a composer, I just want to get stuff down quickly and conveniently. The ideas come randomly and end up as miscellany. The best way to start organization is with automated filing. It's not the same experience as transcribing a completed work. I know that professional musicians would agree that writing software is too much of a hassle. I use it, but I use it much differently than these classical composers do, and i am very aware that it is an obstacle to have to start a new score for every small bit that comes to me at odd times. i want it fast and efficient. One step with automated filing. State of the art.

In reply to by Rockhoven

And there-in lies the problem. Everybody wants quick and easy.
But nothing really good ever came quick and easy. Nothing that will be important is quick and easy. In 100 years, how many Beatles songs will be around? Yet there is no reason to believe that the G minor Fugue will not be as popular as it is now. Art is not quick and easy. It takes work. An incomplete composition is not a composition. It's a work in progress.
When I write a song, I don't use notation. Just lyrics and chords. I pass those around and we knock it out. But I don't take that kind of work as seriously as my orchestra pieces.

In reply to by bobjp

Ho! So we should draw our own staff paper and throw Musescore out? We should not even purchase printed staff paper because it's quick and easy? You are employing rhetorical loopholes. I'm talking the reality of the situation, Bobbers.

In reply to by Rockhoven

So am I. You miss my point, entirely. ANY method of working with any aspect of music (or anything, really) involves some kind of hassle to get it going. You want to add yet another layer to the Wizard. Yet another button to push. For me there is a long list of things that would actually make MuseScore better software. Far more important than the Wizard.

In reply to by Rockhoven

I write jazz, pop, classical, and many other styles. Don't assume everyone works the way you do, or that the way the vast majority of notation programs has no relationship to the way the vast majority of composers work, just because you personally work differently.

In any case, as I have said, if you have some special unique workflow for which a daily log is important, then it sounds like a great job for a plugin customized to your particular needs. If you can convince someone to write it for you, and then enough other composers start using it to, someday it could even become built into MuseScore. Meanwhile though, since everyone works different, we provide tools that support all the different ways real composers work. And yes, that does mean it might take you an extra five seconds to create a new score to your specs.

Although actually, I don't see why you don't just use the default empty score - that's what I use all the time for just jotting down ideas or testing things out. If you'd rather it be a grand staff, fine, just create one and specify that as your startup score.

Am I going to become a better composer because I filled the titles in on my files rather than using an automated system? Is my music going to be better because I jumped over hurdles to set up a simple grand staff?

On the contrary, I can improve if I am not wasting my time on such things and even more if I am not wasting my time arguing with people about a very logical design improvement.

In reply to by Rockhoven

No, like I have said multiple times, if you personally prefer computer-generated titles rather than ones you choose yourself, I encourage you to find a plugin programmer willing to code something up for you. Probably wouldn't take but an hour or two.

And once again, we all agree that someday it might be nice to have a "generate new score of my favorite type"
button. No argument necessary. But it's pretty unlikely this would do the title the way you prefer though, because that's just not useful to most people and would be a step backwards as they would have to delete that title in order to enter a meaningful one. When creating design improvements, its important to consider the needs of the many, not just the few. Still, if some day int he future many people request this, sure, no doubt that could be added too.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

They could switch the mode in preferences. There could be a composer's mode and a transcriber's mode

Yes, there is nothing to argue about, but there is a lot to discuss, and it's very relevant to the development. (Put that one to a pop tune.)

Marc- You say that just because I am doing something it doesn't mean that other people are doing it that way, but then you assume that they are doing it your way. This is just as false as the notion that developing new notation systems is "unpopular." The fact is that the method I have described is immensely more popular than yours because many more people use handheld audio recorders for notating musical ideas. the method is to click a button, the recorder sets the "score" and it automatically files the item for you. And since these people are using recorders they are not here, which leaves you with the false impression on this forum that your ideas are "popular" when they are not.

Do you want some data to back this up? We have a record of how many downloads have occurred? Then we'll ask around and find out how many musicians use handheld recorders to notate their music. And how is that music developed? By loading it into DAW. This is the reality of the situation and it all began with audio recording and then the multitrack method developed by Les Paul. Les Paul and the Beatles, along with Cage and Stockhausen established the foundations for 21st century common practice.

In reply to by Rockhoven

It's true I assume I assume people do things the way MuseScore, Sibelius, Finale, and pretty much all other notation programs work. And I do think it's a pretty reasonable assumption. Aft6er all, they really have no choice but to work this way, because the type of workflow you describe isn't supported by any other notation program I am aware of. And since notation programs are developed by people who write music, and since their development is informed by feedback from users, the fact that notation programs are designed this way is decent evidence that this what users of notation programs want. I've also read tens of thousands of forum threads here over the past decade and can't remember a single other request for the sort of automatic logging feature you advocate.

It's true that people not using notation programs use something like you describe, but that's not as relevant to the design of notation programs as the experiences of people who are using notation software. Just as I wouldn't take feature included in notation programs as must-haves in handheld audio recorders. Plus, handheld audio recorders don't prompt for titles almost by necessity, because their user interface doesn't include a QWERTY keyboard, so entering titles is awkward.

So anyhow, yes, it's "just" an assumption on my part, but one that is pretty well backed up by evidence I think. Still, I'm not attached to this thought. if new evidence comes in that some previosuly-silent majority actually does want the feature you describe, then no doubt it will get implemented. I'm not trying to impose my will on anyone, I'm just trying my best to read the pulse of the thousands of users who post here or in the other forums where I interact with them, to help make MuseScore the best program it can be to meet the needs of the most.

Again, if you want the feature for yourself, probably you can hire a programmer to create you a plugin you can start using next week. If you want to sell other people on the idea, see if you can drum up support here. Then if enough people really do say they love it and want to see it in MuseScore, I have no doubt it will happen.

Anyhow, if someday a new logging feature gets added, I just ask we don't label it composer versus transcribe, because it has absolutely nothing to do with that. I composer a lot. I trandscribe a lot. I do a lot of other things at lot. At no time do I personally yearn for a new mode, so a mode named after the activity makes no sense. What you describe is logging, so call it what it is - a log. Whether it's a "mode" or just a single command is also something yet to be determined, but right now I'm not seeing any advantage to a whole new mode for this relatively simple feature.

Again, for all clarity and in all openness. Your requested daily log functionality has been available as a plugin for over 2 weeks now. This is already your third post in which you claim this functionality is missing in MuseScore you need a 1-click solution.

The plugin gives you a 0-click solution after initial setup. Try getting less than that.

il mio pensiero, anziché andare sull'evoluzione della scrittura musicale e di conseguenza dei software dedicati a questa, va purtroppo, alla consapevolezza che c'è una totale assenza di compositori validi. Meditiamo...
Buona musica a tutti.

Jeetee - Who developed this plug in?

Claudio Riffero - No one can say what is classical. Bob Dylan is pure classical if you go back to the Greek tradition of the poet who recites to the harp. In that sense Hip Hop is pure classical because the music is subordinated to the lyrics. After Equal Temperament got it's footing, even before in the Baroque period, music became very elaborate, assumed dominance over the words, and became "classical.'

Cage is certainly a genius, if genius is to have produced a work that is both simple and profound. Yesterday he changed chords and today we are still on that chord. He attempts to ensure that his music will play longer than Bach's - over half a millennium.

In reply to by Claudio Riffero

...4′33″ è una composizione del compositore statunitense John Cage (1912-1992), composta nel 1952 per qualunque strumento musicale o ensemble; lo spartito dà istruzione all'esecutore di non suonare per tutta la durata del brano. Nelle intenzioni dell'autore, la composizione consiste dei suoni emessi dall'ambiente in cui viene eseguita.
La durata particolare della composizione è un riferimento allo zero assoluto: infatti, quattro minuti e trentatré secondi corrispondono a 273 secondi e lo zero assoluto è posizionato a -273.15 °C, temperatura irraggiungibile, come il silenzio assoluto.
...quella che preferisco, scherzo ;)

In reply to by Rockhoven

Hey Rockhoven,

The plugin was written by me specifically to address the request you had made. I figured out it was fairly easy to write such a plugin and that way you won't have to wait for MuseScore to have such a function built-in (if it ever does, which imho is currently not on the schedule).

I haven't heard Marc's music. I spose it would have to be 21st century because living in the 21st century, we only have 21st century common practice as a resource. Even if you try to produce 16th or 17th century counterpoint, it's not going to be the genuine article. It's going to be 21st century.

What is 21st century common practice? It would seem that we would have to review 20th century common practice to learn this. After our explorations, I think we will arrive at digital technology. The use of music writing software, forum sharing, digital recorders and the DAW are all 21st century common practice. Still, it might be useful to trace all of this back to the 20th, to the first Edison cylinder recorders. We could even trace back to sheet music, Tin Pan Alley and the piano roll. How is music made and distributed? Then, of course, we will have to get into the Bolshevik Revolution and the fall of the world economy. Who knows where this could lead? Wherever it goes, BSG will be out there in front!

In reply to by Rockhoven

Don't know if you're slamming me or praising me. I am (stylistically) a very conservative composer, although I do use digital aids such as MuseScore, and, notably, Virtual Pipe Organs, which comprise (IMO) an even Rockhoven-radical sea change in the workflow of composing organists. I'm not sure I believe in the relevance of either of the terms "classical" or "common practice" any more (for 20th and 21st century art).

In reply to by BSG

The term "common practice" has been used to describe aspects of music of the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries In terms of what combinations of notes, intervals, chords etc. were used, without regard to what type of pens, parchment, paper, even instruments, employment or religious or rehearsal situations or other workflow issues composers used, or the origin, purpose, and meanings of their works. I think since 1920 or so there is nothing remaining common in (even Western) music in that regard, although some musics resemble music of the past more than others. To arrogate and repurpose this term to describe workflows and hardware/software and assert some kind of linking continuity with its past use seems (to me) intellectual chicanery.

In reply to by Rockhoven

That's a fine use of your and my and others' time. I looked at your profile -- it is empty. The number of people who enjoy or learn from your nonexistent work is zero. I don't understand your purpose here, and the message you just typed almost certainly violates terms-of-service. I make music here, and teach others who thank me daily for my help with traditional composition. Other than starting flame wars, I don't understand what you do here. You are quick to call others "trolls".

In reply to by Rockhoven

Believe it or not, I have no interest in arguing (!), just helping users get the most out of MuseScore and helping improve MsueScore to meet even more of the needs of even more users. Sometimes that does indeed mean having hard discussions about what users actually want, but I should mention I'm just one developer. If you really want to influence the future direction of MuseScore, the way to do that is by participating in the various threads started by our head designer, @tantacrul, where he is showing ideas and collecting feedback.

FWIW, regarding my music - I would call it 21st century in the truest sense of meaning, I take my influences from all music that has preceded me and try to add my own voice to that. So you will see me creating some music that is directly inspired by the music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, or Romantic eras, some music that derives more from 20th century "classical" composers, also a healthy dose of jazz (both notated and improvised), plus the pop/rock music I grew up with, and also influences from the music of other cultures such Hindustani music etc.

For me personally, this happens to all revolve around either improvised or notated music, not so much building music through recording technology. Not that I have anything against it, it's just not my medium of choice.

I have been contemplating this piece by Cage since the chord changed. I have never heard this piece and never will. No one ever will. If this piece is played twice, Cage's music will still be around more than 1250 years from now, and no one will have actually heard it, except for very tiny bits of it.

The name of the piece is As Slow As Possible, so we can imagine that the chosen tempo for the first play will be superseded by an even slower tempo in the second play. Therefore, it is easily conceivable that Cage's music will be played 2000 years from now without anyone having heard it. That is pure genius. It is not complicated. It is simply simple and yet deeply profound.

Those of you who have an unshakable faith in the written score should be proud. This pushes the written score to it's maximum limits, if there are limits.

In reply to by Rockhoven

It seems to me that if this were genius, then anyone should be able to see it. But I think it a sure thing that had I written this, there would be a big yawn from the world. No one would try to play it. No one would give it a first glance. The Only reason this getting played is because it is Cage.
The same ting would happen if I dumped a few cans of paint on a canvas. No one would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for it. Even if it looked just like one produced by a famous artist.
"Unshakable faith in the written score" is a curious statement. It is the only way for real musicians to perform most music. How do you foresee an orchestra performance without printed music?

Bob - There was a time when I would have made the same judgments on all of modern art.

xavierjazz - Yes, this is a work of art in the same sense that Bach's Cantatas and the Art of the Fugue are works of art. That does not eliminate them as music. ASAP is a work of art and a musical piece, originally written for piano and runs from 20 to 70 minutes because it has no tempo marking, unless the title is a tempo marking. So, since it is written music and is performed on a piano or organ, it is music, and music is art. So it's both. But it's good that you take note of that. You and eye may eventually see i to i.

This piece raises many philosophical and physical questions. Spose this piece is performed 10 times, with a deceleration of tempo each time? Spose they just keep decreasing the tempo 25,000 or 200,000 years from now? Cage says that this piece is akin to 4' 3" in that they are related by silence. That makes sense. If you decrease the tempo until it is "as slow as possible" won't the pitch descend? It would seems to be so since eventually the waves themselves would become distorted by elongation and a longer wave is going to sound at a lower pitch. The work also appears to be designed to disintegrate into silence, like a Picasso sculpture will disintegrate over time from oxidation.

I say it's genius because it is both simple and profound.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.