Will composers run out of new combinations of musical notes to create original melodies? Or are there endless combinations? (following)
Jeff dickens Strachan, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom
Previous responses (November 13) to this question contained some commendable arithmetic, but there was no mention of composer John Cage’s simple demonstration that the answer must be yes: there are endless combinations.
Cage provided us with his coin 4 ′ 33 ″ (4 minutes and 33 seconds), a work in three movements, for any instrument or combination of instruments, in which the ensemble does not play a single note. Instead, we are invited to witness the space thus created.
By logical extension, there must exist an infinity of other compositions, because any other work could be considered as 4 ′ 33 ″ with an infinity of different durations and an infinity of added sounds.
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