when diagrams become sonorous

John Cage’s diagrams are not simply or even visual but more importantly generators of music and sonic process. The image below is a flattened score made up of 20 pages of notations and relations. Here the diagram’s relationality is both worked on and released. To perform the sounds one has to generate the relations of the score vertically through an implied ‘z’ axis and then extensively to sonic properties (pitch, volume, timbre etc) in a determined manner ( but which also allows for the indeterminate becoming of the diagrams relations). This seems interestingly connected to Guattari’s notion that both mathematics and music are asignifying systems not at all related to language but rather are purely made up of forces and functions.

Here’s an extract of text from the Media Art Net online database about the image below which is a flattened diagram of Cage’s score for ‘Fontana Mix’ from 1958:

“«Fontana Mix» consists of a total of 20 pages of graphic materials: ten pages covered     with six curved lines each, and ten sheets of transparent film covered with randomly-placed points. In accordance with a specific system, and using the intersecting points of a raster screen, two of the pages produce connecting lines and measurements that can be freely assigned to musical occurrences such as volume, tone color, and pitch.”

score for 'Fontana Mix' John Cage 1958

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