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Exposition of Music – Electronic Television (Paik, Nam June), 1963Random Access Music; Exposition of Music – Electronic Television (Paik, Nam June), 1963Schallplatten-Schaschlik; Exposition of Music – Electronic Television (Paik, Nam June)
Vexations (Satie, Erik), 1893

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of six types of sound are to appear in the montage. In one case a section of tape a quarter of an inch long (one-sixth of a second) had to be assembled out of 1,097 tape particles. Cage applies the specific characteristics of technology in order to discover unconventional structures during the transformation of an idea into sounding reality.

In 1963 the Fluxus artist Nam June Paik extended Cage's principle of indeterminacy[24] by placing Schaeffer's technologies into an installation situation at his «Exposition of Music—Electronic Television.» «In most indeterministic pieces of music the composer grants the decision of will or freedom to the interpreter, but not to the audience.»[25] «Random Access,» for example, enabled listening to tapes, which had been stuck to the wall, with a freely moving recording head. During «Schallplattenschaschlik» visitors would help themselves to records rotating simultaneously using the stylus of a phono pickup. Paik's sculptures had a refreshingly contradictory effect because they were created out of profane consumer media in a crude, handcrafted fashion, while their interactive operation so obviously stood in the way of the one-way communication of mass media.


Musique d'ameublement

More than forty years prior to Paik, the French composer Erik Satie drew up a similar critical scenario. In pamphlets, which have since become famous, he suggested extremely functional music intended to fill embarrassing pauses in conversations during dinner or to cover up unpleasant interfering sounds. Satie criticized that department store music, which at the time was still played live by musicians, was a simplified adaptation of concert music. In a letter written in March 1920 he took up the musical climate of his piano piece «Vexations» (1893), which allowed for 840 repetitions of two rows of notes. «We now want to introduce music that satisfies the ‹useful› needs. Art does not belong to these needs. ‹Musique d'ameublement› generates vibrations; it has no other purpose; it performs the same role as light, warmth—and comfort in every form.»[26], Hofheim, 1994, p. 124. On March 8, 1920 in the Barbazanges Gallery in Paris, Satie used fragments from pieces by Ambroise Thomas and Camille Saint-Saëns to produce such ‹musique d'ameublement.› According to an account written by Darius Milhaud, the experiment went wrong: Satie could not keep the visitors from listening to the music.[27], Regensburg, 1974, p. 227.

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