4 percussions

Composed in 1941 and dedicated to Xenia Kashevaroff-Cage, to whom Cage was then married and who played in his percussion orchestra. Scored for four percussionists using:

  • Player 1: wooden North West Indian rattle, five graduated tin cans, three graduated drums (tom toms), claves, large suspended Chinese cymbal, maracas, teponaxtle.
  • Player 2: three graduated drums (tom toms), five graduated tin cans, claves, two cowbells, wooden Indo-Chinese rattle with many separate chambers, lion’s roar.
  • Player 3: three graduated drums (tomtoms), tambourine, five graduated tin cans, quijadas, claves, cricket callers (split bamboo), blown conch shell.
  • Player 4: tin can with tacks (rattle), five graduated tin cans, claves, maracas, three graduated drums (tom toms), wooden ratchet, bass drum roar.

The rhythmic structure is 24 times 24 measures. In each parts the phrase structure follows differrent proportion series, each of them being a rotation of the other: player 4: [8,2,4,5,3,2], player 1: [2,8,2,4,5,3], player 3: [3,2,8,2,4,5] and player 2: [5,3,2,8,2,4].