Saturday, February 9, 2019

An Approach to Introducing Ambient Music :: Graduate Admissions Essays

An Approach to Introducing Ambient Music   John Cage (1912-1992) presents an attractive altercate to a music GSI teaching a class of non-majors. As much an idea man as a pen-on-paper composer, Cage proposed through his publications and artistic approach that all grueling, whether deliberate or accidental, whether inside or outside of the concert hall, is in fact a macro-series of musical events. In effect, according to this way of thinking, all ambient sound is music. Considering the way just about of us have been brought up to think about music, this is a solid imaginative leap as well as an important admission to open for those who might not come across the idea elsewhere.   It began on a whim during angiotensin converting enzyme particular session while the assimilators were busily at work on an unrelated quiz, I took dictation from the auditory environment in the classroom. That is, I wrote down (as one might pull through down music) the inadvertent sounds made by the students as they wrote the test. This is a sound world familiar to all teachers the students, suddenly resolute, are anxiously scribbling outdoor(a) and producing involuntary sounds sighs, grunts, low moans, inhalations, ruffling, pencil-clicks and chair-squeaks. Incorporating the low hum of the ventilation system, I compiled the sounds into a neat musical score by drawing the sounds as they occurred all over a twenty-second time span. I then titled my office Twenty Seconds of Music 20A Taking a Quiz.   The following week, at a strategic point in a discussion on Cages kit and boodle and ideas, we listened as a class to the ambient sounds surrounding us in the room. As always, the variety and richness of these sounds was surprising. I asked them Is this music? Most express no. I then handed out photocopies of my score discussed preceding(prenominal) and posed my question again. At this point, there was whatever discussion at one time that there was musical intent in my creating a piece, about one third of the room felt that these sounds were in fact music. Finally, we recreated the ambient sounds I recorded by performing the piece as a class. Dividing the parts up as one would for a choir, we assigned some students as the chair-squeakers, some as the sighers, some as the inhalers, and one (who had been the student who had clicked his mechanical pencil during the actual dictation) as the pencil-clicker.

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