John Cage: How To Get Started (2010)

26 December 2015, dusan

“John Cage’s first and only performance of How to Get Started on 31 Aug 1989 was conceived of almost as an afterthought–a performance substituting for another that had been previously planned. In his performance, delivered at a sound design conference in Nicasio, California, Cage talks about the difficulty of initiating the creative process, and about improvisation, a subject about which he had long been deeply ambivalent. He proposes a collaborative framework in which sound engineers capture and subsequently layer his extemporized monologue, which consisted of ten brief commentaries on topics then of interest. This amounted to an experiment having to do with thinking in public before a live audience.”

The publication also features commentaries by Laura Kuhn, Aaron Levy and Arthur J. Sabatini.

Publisher Slought Books, Philadelphia, and John Cage Trust, 2010
Open access
ISBN 0981540961, 9780981540962
19 pages



Igor Stravinsky: Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons (1942–) [English, Spanish]

13 October 2014, dusan

Cover of 1956 edition

This book collects Stravinsky’s lectures written together with Alexis Roland-Manuel and Pierre Souvtchinsky and presented at Harvard University in 1939-40. Providing a wide-ranging account of Stravinsky’s music theory it discusses such subjects as Wagnerism, the operas of Verdi, musical taste, musical snobbery, the influence of political ideas on Russian music under the Soviets, musical improvisation as opposed to musical construction, the nature of melody, and the function of the critic of music.

First published in French as Poétique musicale, 1942

English edition
Translated by Arthur Knodel and Ingolf Dahl
With a Preface by Darius Milhaud
Publisher Harvard University Press, Cambridge/MA, 1947
OCLC 155726113
142 pages

Poetics of Music (English, trans. Arthur Knodel and Ingolf Dahl, 1947, 6 MB)
Poética musical (Spanish, trans. Eduardo Grau, 1952)

Gary Peters: The Philosophy of Improvisation (2009)

1 November 2012, dusan

Improvisation is usually either lionized as an ecstatic experience of being in the moment or disparaged as the thoughtless recycling of clichés. Eschewing both of these orthodoxies, The Philosophy of Improvisation ranges across the arts—from music to theater, dance to comedy—and considers the improvised dimension of philosophy itself in order to elaborate an innovative concept of improvisation.

Gary Peters turns to many of the major thinkers within continental philosophy—including Heidegger, Nietzsche, Adorno, Kant, Benjamin, and Deleuze—offering readings of their reflections on improvisation and exploring improvisational elements within their thinking. Peters’s wry, humorous style offers an antidote to the frequently overheated celebration of freedom and community that characterizes most writing on the subject. Expanding the field of what counts as improvisation, The Philosophy of Improvisation will be welcomed by anyone striving to comprehend the creative process.

Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2009
ISBN 0226662780, 9780226662787
198 pages

review (Andy Hamilton, The Wire)
review (Martin Lussier, Critical Studies in Improvisation)

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