September 9, 2011

"We've paid our bills and the President's been elected."

"We'd tried the music first, so it seemed only reasonable to start things roundabout, putting the dance first. Later, when thinking-caps were used, it became evident that underneath both music and dance was a common suport: time. This partial truth would have been hard to come by for a choreographer, due partly to the multiplicity of elements in the theatrical dance and due for the rest to the fact that analytical thought in the field of the dance was centered formerly on the problem of notation. Music, on the other hand, was, in those days, a relatively simple art: a succession of pitches in a measured space of time. ... All one had to do was establish a time-structure. Neither music or dance would be first: both would go along in the same boat. Circumstances – a time, a place – would bring them together. We've paid our bills and the President's been elected. Now we get down to business. ... The time-structures we made fell apart: our need faded, so that aesthetic terms have totally disappeared from our language. Balance, harmony, counterpoint, form."
- from John Cage's 1963 essay "Where do we go from here?" in "A Year from Monday: New Lectures and Writings by John Cage", 1969.

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