In re: Experimental Analysis

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This article begins by considering the interaction of notation and analysis by means of a comparison of scores from the 1950s. This discussion leads to the domains of error, value, and ethics. An ‘experimental’ mode of analysis is proposed, which takes taxonomy and statistics as a basis; from this one acquires an understanding that is observational rather than evaluative. A philosophical basis is noted in pragmatism, in the writings of James and Peirce. The consequences of this approach are explored through detailed study of Music for Piano and the compositional process that Cage employed; certain anomalies emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539–55
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Music Review
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2015


  • John Cage
  • analysis
  • experimental music
  • error
  • pragmatism

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