Indeterminate Music

Music composed with chance procedures

"Indeterminate Music" is a musical concept in which composers intentionally incorporate elements of chance or randomness into their compositions, resulting in unpredictability and variation during performance.

Indeterminate Music is characterized by composers relinquishing precise control over certain aspects of their compositions, allowing performers to generate unique interpretations and expressions during the act of performing. This approach challenges the conventional methods of music composition by transferring decision-making power to performers and chance factors.

Composers may employ various methods to introduce indeterminacy. For instance, they could use random number generators, dice rolls, drawing lots, or design visual symbols and graphic notations to guide performers' interpretations and executions. Such practices ensure that each performance becomes distinct, and each performer's interpretation and execution may differ.

The introduction of Indeterminate Music aims to expand the possibilities of music, exploring different approaches to composition and expression. It emphasizes musical improvisation, creativity, and freedom, while also prompting performers and audiences to engage with music from fresh perspectives.

This genre has roots in the 20th-century modern music movement, and many composers, particularly figures like John Cage and Christian Wolff, have extensively explored and developed Indeterminate Music. These composers often encourage performers to be actively involved in the creative process of music-making, interpreting and performing works in creative ways.

Example of Indeterminate Music

John Cage "Water walk"