John Cage Q & A Interview (Audio)

John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist, artist, printmaker, and amateur mycologist and mushroom collector. A pioneer of chance music, electronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives.

Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, the three movements of which are performed without a single note being played. The content of the composition is meant to be perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed,[6] rather than merely as four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence, and the piece became one of the most controversial compositions of the twentieth century. Another famous creation of Cage’s is the prepared piano (a piano with its sound altered by placing various objects in the strings), for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces, the best known of which is Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48).

His teachers included Henry Cowell (1933) and Arnold Schoenberg (1933–35), both known for their radical innovations in music and coincidentally their shared love of mushrooms, but Cage’s major influences lay in various Eastern cultures. Through his studies of Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the late 1940s, Cage came to the idea of chance-controlled music, which he started composing in 1951. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text on changing events, became Cage’s standard composition tool for the rest of his life. In a 1957 lecture, Experimental Music, he described music as “a purposeless play” which is “an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living”.

Click On The Links Below To Hear The Interview

Part 1

Part 2

Many Thanks To UbuWeb!

Frank Zappa On Crossfire (Video Interview)


Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, electronic, orchestral, and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.”

Frank Zappa on Crossfire.

Thanks to Internet Archive.

Bell Telephone Labs Computer Speech 7″ 33-1/3 RPM Record

Synthesized Speech

From the album liner notes written by D.H. VanLenten:
“This recording contains samples of synthesized speech – speech artificially constructed from the basic building blocks of the English language. A machine which produces synthesized speech is called, fittingly, a talking machine. There are many possible kinds of speech synthesizers or talking machines. Instead of building and testing a variety of them, scientists at Bell Telephone Laboratories simulate their behavior with a high-speed, general purpose computer. The computer is instructed (programmed) to accept in sequence on punched cards the names of the speech sounds which make up an English sentence. It then processes this information, in accordance with the linguistic rules governing the English language, and produces an output analogous to the output of the talking machine it is programmed to simulate. The talking machine simulated by the computer in this recording would normally be operated by continuously feeding it a set of nine control signals. The signals correspond to voice pitch, voice loudness, lip opening and other speech variables. When every instant of sound is specified, and every variable accounted for, such a machine produces human-sounding speech.

Setting up the computer to simulate this talking machine requires two sets of instructions or, more precisely, a two-part computer program. One part of the computer program performs the actual sound making function – it imitates the “talking’ of a talking machine. The second part consists of rules for combining individual speech sounds into connected speech, and for producing the nine control signals that activate the talking machine. Scientists at Bell Telephone Laboratories have developed a computer program that permits them to feed the names of speech sounds into the computer on punched cards. They also have devised a phonetic code using the letters of the alphabet. At present, it is made up of 22 consonant and 12 vowel sounds:

CONSONANTS: P – B – T – D – K – G – M – N – NG (as in sing) – F – V – S – Z – SH (as in she) – ZH (as in azure) – H – W – R – L – Y – TH (as in thin) – DH (as in then)

VOWELS: EE (as in bee) – I (as in ill) – AY (as in rate) – E (as in end) – AE (as in add) – AH (as in ah) – AW (as in jaw) – (as in go) – OO (as in foot) – UU (as in food) – UH (as in up) – ER (as in her)

Each speech sound is specified on a separate punched card. When a sequence of cards is fed into the computer, it “operates’ on the information – following the rules set up in the second part of its program – to produce the nine control signals that activate the talking machine program. For example, if the sequence of cards, H – EE – S – AW – DH – UH – K – AE – T, is fed into the computer, the machine will say “He saw the cat,’ in flat monotones. Proper inflection and phrasing are achieved by specifying on each card the changes in pitch and timing natural to human speech.

By specifying the pitch of the sounds, it also is possible to make the computer sing. In two of the samples recorded, the computer first sings a familiar tune and then, singing the same song, is accompanied by music played by another computer. The “speech’ of the simulated talking machine comes out of the computer as tiny magnetized spots on half-inch magnetic tape. The tape is fed to another machine which converts the spots to a tape suitable for playing on an ordinary tape recorder.

The first eight and very last samples of synthesized speech on this recording are part of a research program aimed, principally, at formulating a minimum set of rules for making plausible English speech. The ninth and tenth selections were produced by analyzing a person’s speech and re-constructing it synthetically on a computer. The objective of this program is to duplicate the sounds and transitions made by a human speaker, including his accent and dialect.

Knowledge developed through such research programs may be useful in devising new techniques for transmitting speech more efficiently over communications systems. In the near future, for example, a person may be able to type on a keyboard and cause a typing machine thousands of miles away to speak for him. There is also the possibility that talking machines may be built for people who are unable to speak.”
Link To MP3