Why Experimental? Why me?

Authored by: Christopher Fox

The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9780754662822
eBook ISBN: 9781315172347
Adobe ISBN: 9781351697583


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In 1990 I was asked to contribute an article to a forthcoming issue of Contemporary Music Review about English experimental music. They wanted something written from the perspective of a composer who was too young to have been in the Scratch Orchestra but for whom the work of composers like Cornelius Cardew, Gavin Bryars and Howard Skempton was an important influence. I wrote a few thousand words under the provisional title, ‘Here Comes Everybody: beyond Cage and beyond’, but then the issue was shelved and I gave up midway through the article, at the point where I was about to start discussing aspects of my own music. At the start of 2000 I was asked for something similar and wrote more of what appears here, only for that project also to founder. Returning to these words for a third time I have made minor revisions to what I already had and brought matters more or less up to date, but I have resisted the temptation to disguise the long evolution of my ideas. Indeed, as I will suggest later, the shifts in emphasis between the three generations of this text tell their own story.

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