The Rhythmicon was a musical keyboard instrument built in 1931 by Leon Theremin at the request of composer/theorist Henry Cowell. Here we present a virtual Rhythmicon that you can perform in your web browser.
Charles Ives's spatial music
Charles Ives's "Unanswered Question" of 1906 was the first piece of the 20th Century using spatial separation as a major element of the composition. Now imagine you are Charles Ives at the mixing board. Where would you place each instrumental grouping for maximum effect?
Harry Partch's instruments
Play the Partch instruments, listen to Partch explain each instrument, and hear musical examples.
View4'33 by John Cage
4'33 | Margaret Leng Tan talks about John Cage and 4'33
Margaret Leng Tan Web site
Margaret Leng Tan performs John Cage's classic piece 4'33 on her toy piano.
Margaret Leng Tan and the Prepared Piano
DSL/Cable modem 56k modem (12:37s)
Margaret Leng Tan Web site
Watch Margaret Leng Tan demonstrate how to prepare the piano for John Cage's "Bacchanale."
L'inhumaine: the audience riots!
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This video clip from the 1923 French film "L'inhumaine" was actually filmed at a George Antheil concert, presumably without his knowledge. There had been riots at previous Antheil events, so the crafty filmmaker Marcel L’Herbier planted friends in the audience to incite another one. He set up several cameras to catch the action. An actress stepped on stage during the Antheil's performance (to match the plot of the film) which added to
the confused looks on the audience's faces. Many famous people of the 1920s Paris art scene can be seen in this film. Ezra Pound, Fernand Léger, Erik Satie, Darius Milhaud, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Francis Picabia, The Prince of Monaco, James Joyce, and Sylvia Beach are supposed to be visible. Can you spot them? Let us know.
The Bowed Piano Ensemble
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For over 25 years Stephen Scott has been bowing and plucking the inside of the piano. Watch his 12 piece ensemble play "Entrada." This video was created by MPR's own Amy Scott of Marketplace (Stephen's daughter.)
Reconstructing Ballet Mécanique
Watch the newly reconstructed 1924 film with George Antheil's score, plus read an interview with Paul Lehrman merged the film and music.
Alison Knowles of "Fluxus"
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Watch Alison Knowles show off her newly made instrument--handmade paper filled with beans.
Fred Ho and the Voice of the Dragon
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Combining music, theater and fantastic Chinese martial arts, Voice of the Dragon is a heroic 17th Century martial arts legend of the betrayal of the legendary Shaolin Temple by a renegade monk. It is composer Fred Ho's newest action-adventure music/theater/ballet epic.
Shoot the Player Piano
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Annie Gosfiled's fantasy about out of whack mechanical instruments.
Kitundu's musical art
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Kitundu makes music with pidgens, and creates dynamic instruments out of DJ turntables.
Paul Dresher: Soundstage
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Performed by Zeitgeist, Paul Dresher and Tom Linker
Pamela Z and the BodySynth
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Pamela Z creates solo works combining operatic bel canto and experimental vocal techniques, with found percussion objects, spoken word, and sampled concrête sounds triggered with a MIDI controller called The BodySynth™, which allows her to manipulate sound with physical gestures.
Nick Didkovsky and Dr. Nerve
DSL/Cable modem 56k modem (7:14s) (2001, exerpt)
"The Monkey Farm" is guitarist/composer/facilitator Nick Didkovsky's setting for stories written by Chuck W Vrtacek. With theatre director Valeria Vasilevski reading and realtime voice warping using special software designed by Phil Burk, Robert Marsanyi, and Didkovsky. Performed with the ensemble Doctor Nerve.
Hy Cage or John Cage?
Hy Cage created many forward thinking musical cartoons in The Etude magazine in the early 1930s. At the same time John Cage was studying to be a graphic artist. The themes in both Cages' work are strikingly similar. Are they the same person, or just an amazing coincidence? Either way, Hy's work seems to contain uncanny predictions of John's ideas over the next few decades.
Carl Ruggles paintings
Ruggles spent the last 20 years of his life painting, not composing. Can you see and hear the similarities?
Essays by music critic and author Kyle Gann
"What is a maverick?"
"What's American about American music?"
"Oh, to be popular!"
"Don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing"
"If you build it, they will come."
"West meets East"
"If Jackson Pollock Wrote Music"
"To Repeat or Not Repeat, That is the Question"
"The Do-It-Yourself Composer "
"From Moog to Mark II to MIDI to Max"
"Is It Music If Nobody Hears It?"
"Between a Rock and a Hard Place"
An interview with Charles Amirkhanian by Alan Baker
An interview with Henry Brant by Alan Baker
An interview with Milton Babbitt by Gabrielle Zuckerman
An interview with Wendy Carlos by Alan Baker
An interview with Elliott Carter by Alan Baker
An interview with Chou Wen Chung by Preston Wright
An interview with Annie Gosfield by Preston Wright
An interview with David Del Tredici by Tom Voegeli
An interview with Michael Gordon by Alan Baker
An interview with Lou Harrison by Alan Baker
An interview with Joshua Kosman by Alan Baker
An interview with Chris Mann by Preston Wright
An interview with John Morton by Alan Baker
An interview with Paul Lehrman by Preston wright
An interview with Pauline Oliveros by Alan Baker
An interview with Steve Reich by Gabrielle Zuckerman
An interview with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela by Gabrielle Zuckerman
Eleanor Hovda remembers Lucia Dlugoszewski with Philip Blackburn
For more interviews, try the Listening Room
Harry Partch's world by Preston Wright
Genesis of a Music: original 1947 preface by Harry Partch
Just intonation by Preston Wright