Solo for Piano App


Explore John Cage's Solo for Piano with the Solo for Piano Web App

Designed to be used by anyone interested in Cage’s music - from students and amateur musicians, to professional performers, composers and musicologists - the Solo for Piano App provides users a way of directly interacting with Cage's notations, to try out possibilities for performance, and to generate music which may be used in performance.

The app presents each of Cage's 84 notations (including repetitions) in an uncluttered, responsive, dynamic user interface, allowing the user to rapidly create realisations through familiar modes of interaction (button clicks, mouse events, gestures, etc.). Each notation has been carefully transcribed from the original score into digital format, with the accompanying instructions in each case serving as the algorithmic basis for generating realisations. The app thus also has the additional role of clarifying, both graphically and musically, a work which has seemed to many impenetrable, revealing a lucidity of vision and intentionality entirely consistent with the composer's more familiar output.

As a means to gain a better understanding of Cage’s score, and as a tool for generating realisations for performance, it is hoped above all that the Solo for Piano app is used in a spirit of adventure and curiosity, inspiring many more possibilities for performance than the app is directly able to offer.

Click here to launch the app (opens in a new tab). For detailed usage instructions please see the User Guide, while for the impatient there is the Quickstart.

Concert Player App

The Concert Player App allows the user to explore any and all of the possible instrumental combinations of Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchetra, as well as the number, sequence and duration of pages. Unlike existing recordings, each of which by necessity effectively 'fixes', or documents, one arrangement only, the Player app allows the user to hear the work in myriad forms and durations, creating a fresh experience of the piece each time it is heard.

Each part is designated as a ‘Solo’ and these may be combined differently, as solos, duos, trios, quartets and so on, up to the full ensemble of fourteen players, with a total of 16,383 possible instrumental combinations. The Solo for Piano is treated differently, as fixed sequences of pages arranged in fifteen parts, allowing the user to hear it as a complete sequence, from the first page to the last, if desired.

The sounds themselves were recorded by members of the ensemble Apartment House, whose time and expertise have been vital in realising this project. In this way the app also represents one particular reading of the Concert for Piano and Orchestra.