Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Australasian Computer Music Association (ACMC)


Faculty of Education and Arts


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) / Music Research Group




Hope, C. A., James, S. G., & Vickery, L. R. (2012). New digital interactions with John Cage's Variations IV, V and VI. Proceedings of Australasian Computer Music Conference (ACMC). (pp. 23-30). Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Australasian Computer Music Association (ACMC). Available here


To celebrate the centenary of John Cage’s birth in 1912, Western Australian new music ensemble Decibel undertook the realization of the American composer John Cage’s (1912 – 1992) complete Variations I – VIII. The works offer a unique insight into the development of Cage’s approach to composition practice, aleatoric approaches, spatial arrangements and the use of electronics. Entitled the “John Cage Complete Variations Project”, Decibel created a performance of the eight pieces in around an hour. The preparation and reading of the scores that make use of transparent sheets (Variations I, II, III, IV and VI) has been adapted using digital score creators and readers. This permits real time generation of measurements and graphics, as well as the assemblage of performance symbols, that can occur during the actual performance of the works. This paper examines the approach to the Variations whose instructions result in the employment or creation of maps: Variations IV (1963), V (1965) and VI (1966).

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