James Pritchett: Writings on Cage (& others)

A chronological list of the musical works of John Cage

James Pritchett

This is a list of all the completed musical works of John Cage (1912-1992). The list is presented in chronological order by date of completion. In cases where a work was composed over a period of two or more years, this is noted in the "notes" column.

This list is of known, completed works only; incomplete works are not listed. There are a number of works which are known by reputation, but for which there are no surviving scores or other documentation; these are also not listed. My definition of a "work" could probably be argued with. Works that exist in multiple transcriptions are listed under the original (oldest) version, with notes indicating the dates of the transcriptions. There are works that were written, one part at a time, over an extended period of time (e.g., Ryoanji). I list these as a single work with an extended composition date. Finally, Cage created many once-only performances and events; only the most prominent of these are listed. Unpublished works are listed (in blue) if they were completed and well-documented.

This list is based heavily on the work of Dr. Paul van Emmerik. The work list from his dissertation (Thema's en variaties: Systematische tendensen in de compositietechnieken van John Cage, University of Amsterdam, 1996) is highly recommended for those wanting more detail, plus information about all the "non-works" I left out of my list. All the virtues of this list come from Dr. van Emmerik; all the faults are my own.

Finally, I think of this as something of a work-in-progress. Some of the pieces I have listed as unpublished may very well be published by now, since C. F. Peters has been bringing a number of these titles out in the years since Cage's death. I would appreciate any feedback about errors of this sort, so that I can correct the list. I also plan to add annotations and commentaries about some of the works as I think of them.

Date Title Forces Notes
1932 Greek Ode voice and piano
1933 Three Songs Texts by Gertrude Stein
Three Easy Pieces piano
Sonata for Clarinet
Sonata for Two Voices 2 or more instruments
1934 Composition for Three Voices 3 or more instruments
Solo with Obbligato Accompaniment of Two Voices in Canon, and Six Short Inventions on the Subjects of the Solo 3 or more instruments Arranged for 7 instruments, 1958
1935 Two Pieces for Piano Revised, 1974
Quartet 4 percussionists
Three Pieces for Flute Duet
Quest piano
1936 Trio 3 percussionists
1938 Metamorphosis piano
Five Songs for Contralto alto, piano Texts by e e cummings
Music for Wind Instruments flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon
1939 Imaginary Landscape No. 1 4 percussionists with electronics
First Construction (in Metal) 6 percussionists
1940 A Chant with Claps voice
Second Construction 4 percussionists
Bacchanale prepared piano
Imaginary Landscape No. 2 3 percussionists Withdrawn
Fads and Fancies in the Academy piano, 4 percussionists
Living Room Music 4 percussionists Text by Gertrude Stein
1941 Double Music 4 percussionists Collaboration with Lou Harrison
Third Construction 4 percussionists
1942 Jazz Study piano
Imaginary Landscape No. 3 6 percussionists
Imaginary Landscape No. 2 5 percussionists
The City Wears a Slouch Hat 6 percussionists Radio play by Kenneth Patchen
Credo in Us 4 percussionists
Forever and Sunsmell voice, 2 percussionists Text by e e cummings
Totem Ancestor prepared piano
And the Earth Shall Bear Again prepared piano
The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs voice, closed piano Text by James Joyce
Primitive prepared piano
In the Name of the Holocaust prepared piano
1943 Four Dances voice, prepared piano, percussion
Amores prepared piano, 3 percussionists
Ad Lib piano
Our Spring Will Come prepared piano
She is Asleep voice, prepared piano, 4 percussionists
A Room piano/prepared piano
Tossed as it is Untroubled prepared piano
Triple-paced No. 1 piano
1944 The Perilous Night prepared piano
Prelude for Meditation prepared piano
Root of an Unfocus prepared piano
Spontaneous Earth prepared piano
Triple-paced No. 2 prepared piano
The Unavailable Memory of prepared piano
A Valentine out of Season prepared piano
A Book of Music 2 prepared pianos
Four Walls (M. Cunningham) voice, piano
1945 Crete piano
Dad piano
Party Pieces Collaboration with Hentry Cowell, Lou Harrison, Virgil Thomson
Soliloquy piano
Experiences No. 1 2 pianos
Mysterious Adventure prepared piano
Three Dances 2 prepared piano
Daughters of the Lonesome Isle prepared piano
1946 Ophelia piano
Prelude for Six Instruments in A Minor flute, bassoon, trumpet, piano, violin, cello
Two Pieces for Piano
1947 Music for Marcel Duchamp prepared piano
The Seasons orchestra
Nocturne for Violin and Piano
1948 Experiences No. 2 voice
Sonatas and Interludes prepared piano (1946-1948)
Dream piano
In a Landscape harp/piano
Suite for Toy Piano
1950 Works of Calder prepared piano, tape Film by Herbert Matter
String Quartet in Four Parts (1949-1950)
Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard
A Flower voice, piano
1951 Sixteen Dances flute, trumpet, 4 percussionists, piano, violin, cello (1950-1951)
Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra (1950-1951)
Imaginary Landscape No. 4 12 radios
Music of Changes piano
1952 Waiting piano
Imaginary Landscape No. 5 tape
Seven Haiku piano (1951-1952)
Two Pastorales prepared piano
Water Music piano
Music for Carillon No. 1
Black Mountain Piece multi-media event
For M.C. and D.T. piano
4' 33'' tacet for any instruments Revised, 1960
Williams Mix tape
Music for Piano 1
1953 Music for Piano 2
Music for Piano 3
Music for Piano 4-19
59 1/2" for a String Player any four-stringed instrument
Music for Piano 20
1954 Music for Carillon No. 2
Music for Carillon No. 3
34' 46.776'' for a Pianist
31' 57.9864'' for a Pianist
1955 26' 1.1499'' for a String Player any four-stringed instrument (1953/1955)
Music for Piano 21-36/37-52
Speech 1955 5 radios, newsreader
1956 27' 10.554'' for a Percussionist
Music for Piano 53-68
Music for Piano 69-84
Radio Music 1-8 radios
1957 Winter Music 1-20 piano
For Paul Taylor and Anita Dencks piano
1958 Haiku any instruments
Variations I any instruments
Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957-1958)
Solo for Voice 1
Music Walk piano (1 or more players)
TV Köln piano
Fontana Mix tape
Aria voice
1959 Sounds of Venice solo television performer
Water Walk solo television performer
1960 Theatre Piece 1-8 performers
Music for Amplified Toy Pianos
WBAI operator of machines
Music for "The Marrying Maiden" tape play by Jackson MacLow
Cartridge Music electronics
Solo for Voice 2 1 or more voice
1961 Variations II any instruments
Music for Carillon No. 4
1962 Atlas Eclipticalis orchestra
Music for Piano 85 piano
0' 00'' (4' 33'' No. 2) solo performer with amplification
1963 Variations III any instruments
Variations IV any instruments
1964 Electronic Music for Piano piano with electronics
1965 Rozart Mix tape loops
Variations V audiovisual performance
1966 Variations VI 1 or more sound systems
Variations VII mixed-media performance Not notated until 1972
1967 Music for Carillon No. 5
Newport Mix tape loops
Musicircus mixed-media performance
1968 Reunion electronics
1969 HPSCHD 7 harpsichords, tapes (1967-1969) collaboration with Lejaren Hiller
33 1/3 record players
Cheap Imitation piano Orchestrated, 1972; arranged for violin, 1977
1970 Song Books (Solos for Voice 3-92)
1971 Sixty-two Mesostics RE Merce Cunningham voice
Les chants de Maldoror pulvérisés par l'assistance même francophone public Text by Lautréamont
1972 Bird Cage 12 tapes
1973 Etcetera orchestra, tape
1974 Score (40 Drawings by Thoreau) and 23 Parts any instruments
1975 Etudes Australes piano
Child of Tree amplified plant materials
Lecture on the Weather 12 voices, tapes
1976 Branches amplified plant materials
Renga any instruments
Apartment House 1776 any ensemble excerpts arranged for violin, piano, 1986
Quartets I-VIII orchestra arranged for concert band and 12 amplified voices
1977 Telephones and Birds 3 performers with tapes
Inlets 3 performers with conch shells, conch trumpet, sound of fire
Forty-nine Waltzes for the Five Boroughs performer(s) or listener(s) or record maker(s)
Alla ricerca del silenzio perduto prepared train
1978 Chorals violin
Etudes Boreales cello/piano
Variations VIII no music or recordings
A Dip in the Lake performer(s) or listener(s) or record maker(s)
Sound Anonymously Received any instrument
Some of "The Harmony of Maine" organ
1979 Hymns and Variations 12 voices
____, ____ ____ circus on ____ any ensemble work realized as Roaratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake, tape
Paragraphs of Fresh Air radio event
1980 Improvisation III cassette players
Furniture Music etcetera 2 pianos
Litany for the Whale 2 voices
1981 Thirty Pieces for Five Orchestras
1982 Improvisation IV 3 cassette players
Dance/4 Orchestras
Postcard from Heaven 1-20 harp(s)
1983 Ear for EAR 2+ voices
Souvenir organ
Thirty Pieces for String Quartet
1984 Perpetual Tango piano
Haikai flute, zoomoozophone
Nowth upon Nacht voice, piano
A Collection of Rocks voices, orchestra
Eight Whiskus voice violin version, 1985
Exercise orchestra
Selkus2 voice
Mirakus2 voice
1985 Aslsp piano
Sonnekus2 voice
But what about the noise of crumpling paper which he used to do in order to paint the series of "Papiers froissés" or tearing up paper to make "Papiers déchirés?" Arp was stimulated by water (sea, lake and flowing waters like rivers), forests percussion ensemble
Etcetera 2/4 orchestras
Ryoanji oboe/voice/flute/double bass/trombone with percussion/orchestra (1983-1985)
1986 Improvisation A+B voice, clarinet, trombone, percussion, cello
Hymnkus chamber ensemble
Rocks various electronic devices
Haikai gamelan
Essay tape
1987 Music for       variable chamber ensemble (1984-1987)
Two flute, piano
Organ2/Aslsp organ
Europeras 1 & 2
One piano
1988 Five any 5 instruments or voices
Four Solos for Voice
Seven flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello
Twenty-three string orchestra
Five Stone Wind 3 performers
1O1 orchestra
1989 Swinging piano
Four string quartet
Three 3 recorders
Two2 2 piano
Sculptures Musicales any sounds
One2 piano
One3 solo performer
1990 cComposed improvisations electric bass, snare drum, one-sided drums
One4 percussion
Fourteen piano, chamber ensemble
One5 piano
One6 violin
Europeras 3 & 4
Seven2 bass flute, bass clarinet, bass trombone, 3 percussion, cello, double bass
Scottish Circus traditional Scottish musicians
Four2 SATB
One7 any instrument
Freeman Etudes violin (1977-1980/1989-1990)
1991 Europera 5
One8 cello
108 orchestra
Eight flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba
Five2 english horn, 2 clarinet, bcl, timpani
Lullaby music box
Four3 piano, rainsticks, violin, silence
Three2 3 percussion
One9 sho
Two3 sho, conch shells
Two4 violin, piano/sho
103 orchestra
Six 6 percussion
Five3 trombone, string quartet
Five4 soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, 3 percussion
Five5 flute, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, percussion
Four4 4 percussion
Four5 saxophone ensemble
Ten flute, oboe, clarinet, trombone, percussion, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello
Two5 tenor trombone, piano
Five Hanau Silence environmental sounds of Hanau
Twenty-eight wind ensemble
Twenty-six 26 violins
Twenty-nine 2 timpani, 2 percussion, piano, 10 violas, 8 cellos, 6 double basses
Twenty-eight Twenty-six, and Twenty-nine orchestra
1992 Eighty orchestra
Sixty-eight orchestra
One10 violin
Fifty-eight wind orchestra
Four6 4 performers
Seventy-four orchestra
Two6 violin, piano
Thirteen chamber ensemble