• John Cage
  • Variations IV (1963)

  • Henmar Press, Inc. (World)

Duration is variable.

  • Any Number of Players, Any Sounds or Combinations of Sounds produced by Any Means, with or without other activities
  • 30 min

Programme Note

This work was originally used as music for the choreographed piece by Merce Cunningham, Field Dances, with stage and costume design in the original version by Robert Rauschenberg (from 1967 the designer was Remy Charlip).

Variations IV is the second work in a group of three, of which Atlas Eclipticalis is the first (representing ‘nirvana’, according to Hidekazu Yoshidaʼs interpretations of Japanese Haiku poetry) and 0′00″ is the third (representing ‘individual action’). It represents ‘samsara’, the turmoil of everyday life.

As in the earlier Variations pieces, the materials here are transparencies (1 sheet with 9 points and 3 small circles) and a short written instruction. All points and circles are cut up for the creation of a program; 7 points and 2 circles are needed, which are all (except for one circle, which is placed anywhere on the map) to be dropped on a map of the performance space, creating places where actions might be performed. Lines are drawn from the placed circle to the points. The second circle is only used if one of the lines intersects it (or is tangent to it). The result is a graphic representation of where sounds may occur. Cage indicates that sounds may be produced inside and outside the performance space. There are no indications of durations, dynamics, etc.

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