Take a chance…

As part of their exploration of 20thC avant garde music Year 9 have been looking at aleatory music. The word is taken from the Latin ‘alea’ meaning ‘dice’ so, as you can imagine, composers of aleatory music introduced an element of chance or choice in their scores, leaving some aspects up to the performer to decide and often writing their scores in a graphic format, using symbols and shapes. This of course places the onus on the performer to interpret and create rather than simply reproducing the sounds and rhythms specified in conventional notation. Year 9 had a go at interpreting a real aleatoric score in the form of Stockhausen’s ‘Zyklus’, composed in 1959. The piece has no set starting point (hence the title) and can be read back to front or upside down. Here is what some students made of an extract from the score:

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