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John Cage «Williams Mix»
John Cage, «Williams Mix», 1952
Photography | © John Cage

 John Cage
«Williams Mix»

Cage’s first composition for tape recorder already goes to the limits of the medium. Commenting on his score, Cage explains: «This is a score (192 pages) for making music on magnetic tape. Each page has two systems comprising eight lines each. These eight lines are eight tracks of tape and they are pictured full-size so that the score constitutes a pattern for the cutting of tape and its splicing. All recorded sounds are placed in six categories ... Approximately 600 recordings are necessary to make a version of this piece. The composing means were chance operations dervied from the I-Ching.»
(source: John Cage, Werkverzeichnis Edition Peters, New York 1962, p. 41.)

The only realization of this score to date was carried out by Cage himself. In spite of the assistance of Earl Brown and David Tudor, with editing and splicing the recorded tapes, completing this four-minute-long sound montage took approximately a year. Used for the premiere performance were 4 stereo tape recorders and 8 speakers.


Dieter Daniels