Stockhausen's approach. The "field of possibilities" and
"margin of error" mentioned in his article
...how time passes....
Examples of aleatory works:
Boulez and aleatorism. A relativistic point of view
(multiple choices). Stephane Mallarme, Le Livre
Examples of works:
Improvisation as part of Western musical culture: the figured bass, cadenzas
for concerti, jazz. Part of folklore and other traditional cultures.
Freedom given to the performer either to fill in some details (boxes with
instructions) or to re-arrange the modules of a piece. Calder's mobile
Existentialism. Hidegger, Sartre, Camus, etc.
The beatnicks in the US. Be-bop jazz and Lenny Bruce.
- existence precedes essence.
- living in the Present moment.
- the question of suicide
- freedom of choice
- search for truth and intellectual/moral honesty; not taking things for
- personal responsibility - Sartre's The Respectful Whore
- the "bourgeois" morality: Pier Paolo Passolini's Accatone
- indifference: Camus' The Stranger
The Poetics of the Open Work
from Umberto Eco - The Role of the Reader.
- 1. Description of pieces; interpretation and performance.
Field of possibilities
- 2. Openness of various works
- Dante's Letter; Midele Ages - symbols defined clearly
- Renaissance - perspective, a priviledged point of view
- Baroque - no more authorised responses
- Symbolism: Verlaine, Mallarme - suggestiveness
- Kafka - symbols no longer tied to a precise definition
- Joyce, Brecht; Pousseur quote.
- 3. Listener "makes" the composition, different type of openness.
Le livre = the world; no beginning and no end;
work in movement.
- 4. Connection between world view and artistic products.
- Middle Ages - fixed hierarchy, preordained order
- Baroque - shift from essence to appearance (empiricism)
- Symbolists, Le livre - relativity
- Aleatory - indeterminacy, discontinuity; consciousness as a
region of indetermination (Merleau-Ponty)
- Multiple polarity of serial compositions is asking the listener
to create his own auditory relationships.
- 5. Performer completes the work. The work offers possibilities,
a field of relations.
- 6. Degrees of "openness"; works in movement and open works.
The "moment" form. Stockhausen's
Momente; form chart for Momente (pdf)
Alain Robbe-Grillet - Pour a nouveau roman, against
skin-deep reality. Critique of 19th century storytelling.
Alain Resnais, Alain Robbe-Grillet 1961 movie
L'annee derniere a Marienbad the statue scene.
- frozen moments in time - "tableaux vivants"
- the beginning is not a priviledged moment
- errasing the difference between life and art/spectacle, between audience
Regarding art (music) not as an object (commercial) but as a living thing.
Not a ritual (concert) but part of our daily activities (life).
Class of Compositions. An archetype which allows for an
arbitrary number of realizations or variants.
Plus Minus by Stockhausen.
Chance music as a snapshot which is reproduced (viewed) exactly the same
everytime (the piece is performed from a precisely notated score). Aleatory
music and open works as a pattern which is realized everytime in a slightly
- the work as an "universe"
- the more variants you hear, the more you learn about the "universe" and
the better you know the piece.
Textkomposition. Stockhausen - "Aus den sieben Tagen
". Compositions involving only text (instructions or poems).
La Monte Young and his "Compositions 1960".
- the concept more important than the realization
- the letter discussing a painting in lieu of the painting
- meaning, the dictionary definition
- the chair in the picture and its definition
- the artist exposing himself (also: the Russian guy who played dog).
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