Tag Archives: Morton Feldman

Morton Feldman and Persian carpets

Repetition and variation are important components of the music of Morton Feldman—components that he extracted from his observation of Persian carpet designs.

Rug design and music are arts that use symbolic language to express certain concepts with a focus on the idea of unity in multiplicity. The designs of some Persian carpets are based on the weaver’s mind map, which resembles Feldman’s musical approach. Key elements of these carpet patterns correspond directly to Feldman’s use of repetition and symmetry in his works.

This according to “A study on the rug patterns and Morton Feldman’s approach” by A.A. Javadi and M. Fujieda (International journal of music science, technology and art II/1 [2020] 48–53; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2020-3041). Many thanks to Improbable research for bringing this study to our attention!

Above, a comparison of selected carpets with excerpts from Feldman’s Crippled symmetry; below, a performance of the work.

Related post: Morton Feldman’s The viola in my life

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Morton Feldman’s “The viola in my life”


Morton Feldman’s four compositions with the title The viola in my life comprise a series-like cycle.

Unlike his earlier Intermissions, this series is constituted less through compositional and representational procedures than through small pregnant melodic objects that are assembled montage-like in the solo viola part over a homogeneous sonic background; these formal strategies show parallels to the combine paintings of Robert Rauschenberg.

This according to Morton Feldman: The viola in my life (1970–71) by Oliver Wiener (Saarbrücken: Pfau-Verlag, 1996).

Today would have been Feldman’s 90th birthday! Above, the composer in 1976; below, a performance of The viola in my life 2.

Related post: Morton Feldman and Persian carpets

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Source: Music of the avant-garde

The journal Source: Music of the avant-garde was and remains a seminal source for materials on the heyday of experimental music and arts. Conceived in 1966 and published until 1973, it included some of the most important composers and artists of the time: John Cage, Harry Partch, David Tudor, Morton Feldman, Robert Ashley, Pauline Oliveros, Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Steve Reich, and many others.

A pathbreaking publication, Source documented crucial changes in performance practice and live electronics, computer music, notation and event scores, theater and installations, intermedia and technology, politics and the social roles of composers and performers, and innovations in the sound of music. Special features included custom typography, multiple paper stocks, multicolored scores, 10 inch LPs, 35mm slides, fur, and shotgun holes.

Source: Music of the avant-garde 1966–1973, a 396-page collection of reprints from the journal, was issued by the University of California Press in 2011. Below, a performance of Feldman’s revolutionary percussion work The king of Denmark.

Related article: John Cage unbound


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