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us: Aleatory music


  • Here are entered musical compositions which have been created by chance methods or which may be performed in random or indeterminate style. The heading is used as a second heading for those works having a specifically named medium of performance, e.g. [1. Piano music. 2. Aleatory music.]

  • URI(s)

  • Instance Of

  • Scheme Membership(s)

  • Collection Membership(s)

  • Variants

    • us: Aleatoric music
    • us: Chance compositions
    • us: Chance music
    • us: Indeterminate music
  • Broader Terms

  • Narrower Terms

  • Closely Matching Concepts from Other Schemes

  • Earlier Established Forms

    • Chance compositions
  • Sources

    • found: New Grove (Aleatory: term applied to music whose composition and/or performance is, to a greater or lesser extent, undetermined by the composer; "aleatoric" represents an etymological distortion; x-refs. from Chance, Indeterminacy)
    • found: New Harvard dict. of music (Aleatory music; the term "chance music" is preferred by many composers)
    • found: RILM abstracts (Aleatory music; x-ref from Chance music)
    • found: Ox. dict. of music, 2nd ed. (Aleatory music: synonym for indeterminacy. Indeterminacy: much the same as aleatory, but specifically the principle by which a decision of the performer of a composition replaces a decision of the composer. Chance: see Aleatory)
    • found: New Ox. companion to music (Aleatory: indeterminate. Indeterminate music: music over which the composer has to some degree relinquished control, perhaps by leaving some aspects to chance or to the performer's decision. Chance operations: term introduced by John Cage for techniques which open the compositional process to chance)
    • found: Baker's dict of music (Aleatory music: chance music, either in the compositional process or the performer's realization. Chance operations: the practice, highly developed by Cage, of composing music via chance means, resulting in works devoid of compositional taste or intentions. Indeterminacy: with ref. to composition, denotes a conventional score produced by chance; with ref. to performance, a score which leaves much to be determined by performers)
    • found: Thames and Hudson encyc. of 20th-cent. music (Aleatory: adj. used of music in which the composer deliberately makes room for chance occurrences or choices by performers; normally reserved for 20th-cent. music beginning with Ives. Indeterminacy: term introduced by Cage and preferred by him to aleatory composition. Chance operations: term used by Cage for compositional methods dependent largely on chance)
    • found: Brewer's twentieth-cent. music (Aleatorism: practice of employing an element of chance in the performance of a piece of music; interest in the genre faded somewhat after the 1960s. Indeterminacy: concept introduced by Cage in preference to the term "aleatorism")
    • found: OED (Aleatoric, Aleatory; in 1961 quotation: indeterminate, or aleatoric music)
  • General Notes

    • Here are entered musical compositions which have been created by chance methods or which may be performed in random or indeterminate style. The heading is used as a second heading for those works having a specifically named medium of performance, e.g. [1. Piano music. 2. Aleatory music.]
  • Change Notes

    • 1986-02-11: new
    • 1998-08-20: revised
  • Alternate Formats

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