MS 5562
Text John Cage: Variations I or II, graphical constellation
Description MS in English on paper, USA, 1961-1962, 1 p 8x13 cm, graphic notation of lines and dots, identified by Cage to be from Variations I or II, inscribed to Roland Fischer, autograph, signed.
Provenance 1. Roland Fischer (1962-) and heirs; 2. Sotheby's 7.12.2015:149.
Commentary John Cage (1912-1992) pioneer in graphic notation, indeterminacy in music and electro-acoustic music, composed "Variations I" in 1958 and "Variations II" in 1962-1963. These works are among the earliest examples of graphic musical notation. "Materials for Variations II consist of 5 small transparencies with a single point on each, and 6 larger transparencies each with one line. These may be superimposed in any way, creating a configuration of points and lines, to be interpreted as a way of producing sounds. This is achieved by dropping perpendiculars from the dots to all the lines". The configuration on the present autograph is two vertical lines, two horizontal lines and one transversal line for any instrumental combination, as well as seven points denoting sounds. "Measurements of the perpendiculars are used to obtain readings for frequency, amplitude, timbre, duration, points of occurrence and number of sounds". (Database of Works from John Cage's website).
Place of origin USA
Dates 1961-1962 AD