John Cage initially developed the concept for the music to Cunningham's "Signals" as follows:
1. The music should be performed by four musicians.
2. Each musician composes his/her part of the piece before each performance. This is done independantly of the other musicians.
3. Each musician prepares a performance score consisting of a series of timed musical activities. One way of preparing a score is to create a timing chart consisting of "start" and "stop" times and then assigning each time boundary an activity.
4. What these musical activities are and how many will be performed is up to the musician. Silence is considered an activity.
5. If repetitions of a given activity occur within a given performance, close attention should be given to maintaining the activity's principle features. An important feature the musician/composer must pay particular attention to is the activities dynamic content.
6. A stop watch should be used in performance - the fist movement of the curtain in time 0.00.
As White Oak was to be performing with "canned" music (something which, as yet, Cunningham's company has not done), the musicians preparing the tapes needed to consider the problem of maintaining the degree of indeterminacy necessary to any Cunningham piece. This was solved by preparing several tapes, each with a different "performance" of the piece, and playing them back simultaneously. An I Ching generated time-score was used to determine which tracks were to be brought in and out at what times and at what dynamic level. In this way, the White Oak audio engineer was creating a real-time "performance" using the source material provided by the Cunningham musicians.
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This page was last updated on January 5, 2001. For more information contact: John D.S. Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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