10. Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonatas I-III - Cage

How did Cage want to develop music in the 20th century?
He wanted to develop the use of percussion, exploit elements of chance and indeterminacy in performance, explore new sound sources and use new forms of graphic notation.
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What did Cage do during the late 1930's?
He started to compose for percussion instruments.
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What different things did Cage explore whilst writing for prepared piano?
Different materials, different placements, use of pedals and a change of pitch and timbre and the combination of effects.
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What does the content of this composition refer to?
The permanent emotions of Indian aesthetics, including heroic, wonder, ******, rejoicing, anxiety, fear, anger, loathing, and the tendency of all these emotions to resolve towards a state of tranquility.
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What is important about the instrumentation?
The prepared piano was created by Cage as a percussion ensemble capable of being performed by one player.
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Which four ways did Cage outline how preparing the piano affects the sound?
It quietens it, it changes its timbre, it splits it into two or three sounds, and it shortens its duration.
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Which instrument is the piano also connected to?
A percussion kit, which can be played by one player.
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What was also very interesting about the piano?
The fact that it could produce melodic and percussive sounds.
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What is one of the most skilful features of this piece?
The handling of silence.
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What happens as a result of the texture?
A fragile world of sound is created, where the spaces between gestures are just as important as the gestures themselves.
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How can the overall texture be described?
The textures of these movements are often sparse.
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Which types of textures can be found?
Homophonic chords (Sonata I, bar 1), monophony (Sonata II, bar 1), treble movement over static accompaniment such as ostinato or pedal note (Sonata II, bar 17; Sonata III, bar 1), layered textures (Sonata II, bar 30).
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Which structure do all three movements follow?
Binary form
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Arch shaped melodies are common in this piece. Give two examples of where they can be found.
Sonata I - bars 15-16. Sonata II - bars 1-2.
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In which sonata is there a ritardando?
Sonata I. The ritardando compensates for the fact that there is a missing quaver because of the use of 9/8 in bar 11.
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What does the presence of the 3/8 bars in Sonata II do?
They punctuate the phrases, and the departure from the underlying pattern at the close.
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How is tonality easily described?
Tonality does not exist, on the basis that notations alone are destroyed by the actual sounds produced.
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How did Cage describe the use of harmony?
He dismissed harmony as a tool of Western commercialism.
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What did Cage like to use instead of conventional harmony?
He decided to focus on the more natural elements of music such as pitch, volume, duration and timbre.
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Which chords are used at the beginning of the piece?
G7.
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Where are parallel chords used?
Bar 22.
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Where are arch shaped melodies used?
Bars 15-16 (Sonata I), bars 1-2 (Sonata II).
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How is a pentatonic scale suggested, and where?
The use of limited pitches, Sonata II, bars 1-8.
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Where is chromaticism used?
Sonata III, bar 18.
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In which Sonata is conjunct movement used?
Sonata III.
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How do the rhythm and the metre wok together?
Rhythmic patterns are placed unpredictably against the metre.
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Where are off beat effects used?
Sonata II, bar 4.
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What happens to the metre throughout the piece?
It changes frequently, usually prompted by the demands of structural rhythm.
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How is silence used?
Significant periods of silence punctuate each section.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What did Cage do during the late 1930's?

Back

He started to compose for percussion instruments.

Card 3

Front

What different things did Cage explore whilst writing for prepared piano?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What does the content of this composition refer to?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is important about the instrumentation?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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