National Collegiate Honors Council


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UReCA: The NCHC Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity:


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Cage’s Dungeon specifically refers to the work of the influential composer, performer, writer, and philosopher, John Cage. More precisely, his later compositional style which emphasized the use of chance operations within a musical composition. Cage was highly influenced by eastern philosophy, Zen Buddhism in particular, and he was fascinated by the chance operations found in the ancient I Ching text. As a result, Cage wrote many works that were nothing more than a set of simple guidelines for the performer to follow, with the outcome of the process creating the piece. These indeterminate compositions are not so much about the technical prowess of the performer or composer, or even about making a profound artistic statement. Instead, Cage’s chance music creates an opportunity for unique and interesting sounds to interact with one another in a unique way.