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Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond (Music in the Twentieth Century) Paperback – 29 Jul 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (29 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521653835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521653831
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 1.2 x 24.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Nyman's book remains a privileged window into that strange world, and its republication will be a boon to a new generation.' BBC Music Magazine

'… a welcome reissue of the book … Above all, Experimental Music is a useful source book for a period of radicalism in musical practice in which the rule was to break the rules.' Music Teacher

Book Description

Composer Michael Nyman's classic 1974 account of postwar experimental music. He traces the revolutionary attitudes developed by composers such as John Cage towards concepts of time, space, sound, and composer/performer responsibility within a tradition that also bore the seeds of musical minimalism. New edition includes an introduction by Brian Eno, an up-to-date discography by Robert Worby and an historical overview by Michael Nyman.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
In this opening chapter I shall make an attempt to isolate and identify what experimental music is, and what distinguishes it from the music of such avant-garde composers as Boulez, Kagel, Xenakis, Birtwistle, Berio, Stockhausen, Bussotti, which is conceived and executed along the well-trodden but sanctified path of the post-Renaissance tradition. Read the first page
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By bethanylowe@bun.com on 9 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
Until this second edition (belatedly) appeared, copies of this stimulating book were variously borrowed, photocopied and stolen from each other by musicians and music students! What the rather weighty publisher's review of this book fails to convey is the sheer whimsy and enterprising spirit of much of the music of this period, well expressed in the book. Though a worthwhile and interesting read on Cage, Stockhausen, and so on, its outstanding value for many of us is based on the last chapter, which describes experimental music in Britain in the 60s and 70s under such composers as Cornelius Cardew, John White, and Howard Skempton. It is an entertaining and eye-opening read about such performing groups as the Scratch Orchestra and the Portsmouth Sinfonia, for which there was no need to be able to play an instrument... The results were often hilarious (as well as brave and socially revolutionary) and are well conveyed by Nyman *who was there at the time* and hence conveys it all with a freshness like it was yesterday (which it more-or-less was at the time of the first edition). This book remains the authority on British experimental music of the period, and new scholarly books on the subject are only now about to emerge (judging from a session at 2001's conference on twentieth-century music). Buy quickly, before you have to wait for a third edition!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
In this work originally published in 1974, Nyman discusses the work of composers and performers who shifted the boundaries of music as regards notation, time, space, and the roles of the composer, performer and audience. The author seeks to identify and explain a whole body of musical work that existed outside the classical tradition and the avant-garde orthodoxies that flowed from it. He thus explores the Anglo-American musical tradition loosely associated with John Cage. Since 1974 this book has been considered the classical work on the radical alternative to the mainstream avant-garde as represented by Berio, Boulez and Stockhausen. Many of the current popular composers like Glass and Reich trace their root to this experimental school. The most fascinating chapter to me is "Minimal Music, Determinacy And The New Tonality" in which the Theatre Of Eternal Music (Tony Conrad, La Monte Young, Marion Zazeela and John Cale) as well as the work of Terry Riley is discussed. Photographs, illustrations and musical notations enliven the text and the book concludes with a selected source bibliography, a discography of experimental music and a bibliography of publications since 1974. Brian Eno has contributed an interesting foreword to this edition. The text can get a bit technical for the non-musician, but it remains a detailed work on a radical musical direction that has borne great fruit in the years since it was first analysed in this thorough and scholarly work.
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By blackrel on 26 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
Excellent. (To the Printer ...not good enough quality ! deserves better.)
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By A Tomps on 1 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
A good book for anyone interested in experimental music
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wil's on 24 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
The book condition was great and shipped quite fast. At first I was scared to buy it, but it turn out to be alright. Just make sure to enter the data correctly and address, so nothing bad will happend. Defenitely worth buying.
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