John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist and philosopher. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, he was instrumental in the development of modern dance through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, Cage's romantic partner for most of their lives. Cage is best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, performed in the absence of deliberate sound; the content of the composition is not "four minutes and 33 seconds of silence," as is assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance. The work's challenge to assumed definitions about musicianship and musical experience made it a popular and controversial topic both in musicology and the broader aesthetics of art and performance. Cage was a pioneer of the prepared piano, for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces.
The best known of these is Interludes. His teachers included Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg, both known for their radical innovations in music, but Cage's major influences lay in various East and South Asian cultures. Through his studies of Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the late 1940s, Cage came to the idea of aleatoric or chance-controlled music, which he started composing in 1951; the I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text on changing events, became Cage's standard composition tool for the rest of his life. In a 1957 lecture, Experimental Music, he described music as "a purposeless play", "an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but a way of waking up to the life we're living". Cage was born September 1912, at Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown Los Angeles, his father, John Milton Cage Sr. was an inventor, his mother, Lucretia Harvey, worked intermittently as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times. The family's roots were American: in a 1976 interview, Cage mentioned that George Washington was assisted by an ancestor named John Cage in the task of surveying the Colony of Virginia.
Cage described his mother as a woman with "a sense of society", "never happy", while his father is best characterized by his inventions: sometimes idealistic, such as a diesel-fueled submarine that gave off exhaust bubbles, the senior Cage being uninterested in an undetectable submarine. John Milton Sr. taught his son that "if someone says'can't' that shows you what to do." In 1944 -- 45 Cage wrote two small character pieces dedicated to his parents: Dad. The latter is a short lively piece that ends abruptly, while "Crete" is a longer melodic contrapuntal work. Cage's first experiences with music were from private piano teachers in the Greater Los Angeles area and several relatives his aunt Phoebe Harvey James who introduced him to the piano music of the 19th century, he received first piano lessons when he was in the fourth grade at school, but although he liked music, he expressed more interest in sight reading than in developing virtuoso piano technique, was not thinking of composition. During high school, one of his music teachers was Fannie Charles Dillon.
By 1928, Cage was convinced that he wanted to be a writer. He graduated that year from Los Angeles High School as a valedictorian, having in the spring given a prize-winning speech at the Hollywood Bowl proposing a day of quiet for all Americans. "By being hushed and silent, he said,'we should have the opportunity to hear what other people think'," anticipating 4′33″ by more than thirty years. Cage enrolled at Pomona College in Claremont as a theology major in 1928. Crossing disciplines again, though, he encountered at Pomona the work of artist Marcel Duchamp via professor José Pijoan, of writer James Joyce via Don Sample, of philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy and of Cowell. In 1930 he dropped out, having come to believe that "college was of no use to a writer" after an incident described in the 1991 autobiographical statement: I was shocked at college to see one hundred of my classmates in the library all reading copies of the same book. Instead of doing as they did, I went into the stacks and read the first book written by an author whose name began with Z.
I received the highest grade in the class. That convinced me. I left. Cage persuaded his parents that a trip to Europe would be more beneficial to a future writer than college studies, he subsequently sailed to Le Havre, where he took a train to Paris. Cage stayed in Europe for some 18 months. First he studied Gothic and Greek architecture, but decided he was not interested enough in architecture to dedicate his life to it, he took up painting and music. It was in Europe that, encouraged by his teacher Lazare Lévy, he first heard the music of contemporary composers and got to know the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, which he had not experienced before. After several months in Paris, Cage's enthusiasm for America was revived after he read Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass – he wante
Graphic notation (music)
Graphic notation is the representation of music through the use of visual symbols outside the realm of traditional music notation. Graphic notation evolved in the 1950s, can be used either in combination with or instead of traditional music notation. Composers rely on graphic notation in experimental music, where standard musical notation can be ineffective. Other uses include pieces where an undetermined effect is desired. One of the earliest pioneers of the technique, along with John Cage, was Earle Brown, who sought to liberate performers from the constraints of notation and makes them active participants in the creation of the music. Graphic notation first appeared in the 1950s as an evolution of movement of Indeterminacy as pioneered by John Cage; the technique was used by avant-garde musicians and manifested itself as the use of symbols to convey information that could not be rendered with traditional notation such as extended techniques. Graphic scores have, since their conception, evolved into two broadly defined categories, one being the invention of new notation systems used to convey specific musical techniques and the other the use conceptual notation such as shapes and other artistic techniques that are meant to evoke improvisation from the performer.
Examples of the former include Stockhausen's Prozession. Examples of the latter include Earle Brown's December 1952 and Cardew's Treatise, written in response to Cage's 4'33" and which he wrote after having worked as Stockhausen's assistant; the score consists of 193 of rectangles on a white background where. Here the lines represented elements in space and the score was a representation of that space at a given instant. In Europe, one of the most notable users was Sylvano Bussotti, whose score were often displayed as pieces visual art by enthusiasts. In 1969, in an effort to promote the movement of abstract notation, John Cage and Allison Knowles published an archive of excerpts of scores by 269 composers with the intention of showing "the many directions in which notation is now going". Other notable pioneers of graphic notation include composers such as Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, Mauricio Kagel, György Ligeti, Krzysztof Penderecki, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff.
In 2008, Theresa Sauer edited a compendium featuring graphic scores by composers from over fifty countries, demonstrating how widespread the practice has become. Time-based pictographic scores such as Waterwalk by John Cage, uses a combination of time marking an pictographic notation as instruction on how and when to perform certain actions. Line staves showing approximate pitch, with the actual pitches being decided upon performance. Altered notation can be seen in George Crumb's work, where he uses traditional notation but presents the music on the page in a graphic or nontraditional manner such as spirals or circles; this device, was not an innovation of the twentieth century. It is found, for example, in some pieces composed by Baude Cordier in the late 14th century, in a piece by Joseph Haydn in the late eighteenth century. New specific notation system, that is, a new of and graphically notate musical actions like that of Xenakis' Psappha. Time-based abstract representation, can be seen in Hans-Christoph Steiner's score for Solitude in which the music is represented using symbols and illustrations.
Note that here, time is still represented horizontally from left to right like in a pitch graph system, thus implies that the piece as a specific form. Time-based abstract notation, such as Rudolf Komorous's Chanson utilises abstract notation with time indication, or least a direction in which the piece is read and therefore implies a form. Free Abstract Representations, such as Brown's December 1952, where the form, pitch material and instrumentation are left up to the performer. Free Abstract Notation, such as Mark Applebaum's "The Metaphysics of Notation" and where elements of traditional music notation are melded with abstract designs. Notable practitioners of graphic notation include Aphex Twin Mark Applebaum Cathy Berberian John Bergamo Anthony Braxton André Boucourechliev Herbert Brün Randolph Coleman Brian Eno Eric Ewazen Goldie Jerry Goldsmith Michail Goleminov Jonny Greenwood Barry Guy Alfred Harth Panayiotis Kokoras Bruno Liberda Helmut Lachenmann Yuri Landman Anestis Logothetis Robert Moran Luigi Morleo Conlon Nancarrow Roberto Paci Dalò Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta Randy Raine-Reusch Bernard Rands Roger Reynolds Sven-David Sandström Leon Schidlowsky R. Murray Schafer Netty Simons Stuart Saunders Smith Wadada Leo Smith Juan Maria Solare Allen Strange Steve Vai Jennifer Walshe John Williams John Zorn Iancu Dumitrescu Eye music Oramics Indeterminacy Aleatoric Music John Cage Cage and Alison Knowles.
Notations. New York: Something Else Press. Lieberman, David 2006. Game Enhanced Music Manuscript. In GRAPHITE'06: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Australasia and South East Asia, ACM Press, Australia, 245 - 250. Sauer, Theresa. Notations 21. New York: Mark Batty Publisher. ISBN 978-0-9795546-4-3 David Schidlowsky Musikalische Grafik—Graphic Music: León Schidlowsky. Berlin: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag. ISBN 978-3-86573-620-8. Pictures of Music at Northwestern University Bergstroem-Nielsen, Carl: Experimental improvisation and notation practise 1945-1999. Online bibliographies. Real-time interpretation of Rainer Wehinger visualization of György Ligeti's electronic work Artikulation An online collection of graphic scores curated by the New York Miniaturist Ensemble Notations21, an an
In C is a musical piece composed by Terry Riley in 1964 for an indefinite number of performers. He suggests "a group of about 35 is desired if possible but smaller or larger groups will work". A series of short melodic fragments, In C is cited as the first minimalist composition, it was first performed by Steve Reich, Jon Gibson, Pauline Oliveros and Morton Subotnick at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. In C consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases, lasting from half a beat to 32 beats; each musician has control over which phrase they play: players are encouraged to play the phrases starting at different times if they are playing the same phrase. In this way, although the melodic content of each part is predetermined, In C has elements of aleatoric music to it; the performance directions state that the musical ensemble should try to stay within two to three phrases of each other. The phrases must be played in order; as detailed in some editions of the score, it is customary for one musician to play the note C in repeated eighth notes on a piano or pitched-percussion instrument.
This functions as a metronome and is referred to as "The Pulse". Steve Reich introduced the idea of a rhythmic pulse to Riley, who accepted it, thus radically altering the original composition by Riley which had no rhythm. In C has no set duration; the number of performers may vary between any two performances. The original recording of the piece was created by 11 musicians, while a performance in 2006 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall featured 124 musicians; the piece begins on a C major chord with a strong emphasis on the mediant E and the entrance of the note F which begins a series of slow progressions to other chords suggesting a few subtle and ambiguous changes of key, the last pattern being an alteration between B♭ and G. Though the polyphonic interplay of the various patterns against each other and themselves at different rhythmic displacements is of primary interest, the piece may be considered heterophonic; the first UK performance of In C was on 18th May 1968 at Royal Institute Galleries by the Music Now Ensemble directed by Cornelius Cardew as part of a series of four Music Now, Sounds of Discovery Concerts, during May 1968.
The piece has been recorded a number of times: Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble produced an album of remixed versions of In C. A discussion of the In C remixing project including music played from three of the remixed versions can be heard in Radiolab's podcast on In C from December 14, 2009; the remixers included Jad Abumrad, Mason Bates, Jack Dangers, Dennis DeSantis, R. Luke DuBois, Mikael Karlsson/Rob Stephenson, Zoë Keating, Phil Kline, Glenn Kotche, David Lang, Michael Lowenstern, Paul D. Miller, Nico Muhly, Todd Reynolds and Daniel Bernard Roumain. Carl, Robert. 2009. Terry Riley's in C. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-532528-7 doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325287.001.0001 Reed, S. Alexander. 2011. "In C on Its Own Terms: A Statistical and Historical View". Perspectives of New Music 49, no. 1: 47–78. Doi:10.7757/persnewmusi.49.1.0047
Zyklus für einen Schlagzeuger is a composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, assigned Number 9 in the composer's catalog of works. It was composed in 1959 at the request of Wolfgang Steinecke as a test piece for a percussion competition at the Darmstadt Summer Courses, where it was premièred on 25 August 1959 by Christoph Caskel, it became the most played solo percussion work, “inspired a wave of writing for percussion”. The work is written for one percussionist playing a marimba, vibraphone, 4 tom-toms, snare drum, güiro, 2 African log drums, 2 suspended cymbals of differing sizes, hi-hat, 4 almglocken, a suspended "bunch of bells", at least 2 high pitched triangles and tam-tam; the title of Zyklus is reflected in its form, circular and without a set starting point. The score is spiral-bound, there is no "right-side up"—it may be read with either edge at the top; the performer is free to start at any point, plays through the work either left to right, or right to left, stopping when the first stroke is reached again.
The instruments are arranged in a circle around the performer, in the order they are used in the score. The notation is only conventional in some details, an early review of this first graphic score by Stockhausen remarked that “The initial impression is that one is looking not at a score, but at a drawing by Paul Klee”. Zyklus contains a range of notational specificity, from fixed at one extreme, to open, “variable” passages at the other. Stockhausen composed these elements using a nine-degree scale of statistical distribution, but states that the listener is not "supposed to identify these nine degrees when you hear the music the music that results from such a method has particular characteristics...". In principle, the percussionist decides on the starting point and direction through the score only at the moment of commencing a performance, but in practice this is universally worked out well in advance. Only the percussionist/composer Max Neuhaus claims to have given “spontaneous” versions.
Brandt and Michael Hynes. 2014. Stockhausen: Complete Early Percussion Works. Steven Schick, James Avery, Red Fish Blue Fish. DVD recording, region 0, NTSC, Dolby 5.1 surround/DTS 5.1 surround, aspect ratio 16:9, color. Mode 274. New York: Mode Records. Frisius, Rudolf. 2008. Karlheinz Stockhausen II: Die Werke 1950–1977. Mainz, Berlin, New York, Prague, Toronto: Schott Musik International. ISBN 978-3-7957-0249-6. Kurtz, Michael. 1992. Stockhausen: A Biography. Translated by Richard Toop. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-14323-7. Lewinsky, Wolf-Eberhard von. 1959. “Klausur, Studio und Forum in Kranichstein.” Melos 28:302. Neuhaus, Max. 2004. Liner notes to Four Realizations of Stockhausen’s Zyklus. Alga Marghen CD ALGA 054CD. Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1989. Stockhausen on Music: Lectures and Interviews. Edited by Robin Maconie. London and New York: Marion Boyars. ISBN 0-7145-2887-0 ISBN 0-7145-2918-4. Gerber, Stuart W. 2003. "Karlheinz Stockhausen's Solo Percussion Music: A Comprehensive Study". DMA diss. Cincinnati: University of Cincinnati.
Gill, Michael James. 1988. "Zyklus: A Performer's Analysis" "A Video Taped Timpani Method Utilizing Computer Assisted Instruction for Ear Training". Ph. D. diss. Hattiesburg: The University of Southern Mississippi. Silberhorn, Heinz. 1977. "Analyse von Stockhausens Zyklus für einen Schlagzeuger". Zeitschrift für Musiktheorie 8, no. 2:29–50. Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1964. "Nr. 9: Zyklus für einen Schlagzeuger." In his Texte zur Musik, vol. 2, edited by Dieter Schnebel, 73–100. DuMont Dokumente. Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg. Williams, B. Michael. 2001. "Stockhausen: Nr. 9 Zyklus". Percussive Notes 39, no. 3: 60–62, 64–67
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time; the Bach family counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After becoming an orphan at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph Bach, after which he continued his musical development in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar—where he expanded his repertoire for the organ—and Köthen—where he was engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, he composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum.
From 1726 he published some of his organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened in some of his earlier positions, he had a difficult relation with his employer, a situation, little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by King Augustus III of Poland in 1736. In the last decades of his life he extended many of his earlier compositions, he died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65. Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint and motivic organisation, his adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include hundreds of both sacred and secular, he composed Latin church music, Passions and motets. He adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs, he wrote extensively for other keyboard instruments. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra.
Many of his works employ the genres of fugue. Throughout the 18th century Bach was renowned as an organist, while his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was appreciated for its didactic qualities; the 19th century saw the publication of some major Bach biographies, by the end of that century all of his known music had been printed. Dissemination of scholarship on the composer continued through periodicals and websites devoted to him, other publications such as the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis and new critical editions of his compositions, his music was further popularised through a multitude of arrangements, including for instance the Air on the G String, of recordings, for instance three different box sets with complete performances of the composer's works marking the 250th anniversary of his death. Bach was born in the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, into a great musical family, his father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, was the director of the town musicians, all of his uncles were professional musicians.
His father taught him to play the violin and harpsichord, his brother Johann Christoph Bach taught him the clavichord and exposed him to much contemporary music. At his own initiative, Bach attended St. Michael's School in Lüneburg for two years. After graduating he held several musical posts across Germany: he served as Kapellmeister to Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, a position of music director at the main Lutheran churches and educator at the Thomasschule, he received the title of "Royal Court Composer" from Augustus III in 1736. Bach's health and vision declined in 1749, he died on 28 July 1750. Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, the capital of the duchy of Saxe-Eisenach, in present-day Germany, on 21 March 1685 O. S.. He was the son of Johann Ambrosius Bach, the director of the town musicians, Maria Elisabeth Lämmerhirt, he was the eighth and youngest child of Johann Ambrosius, who taught him violin and basic music theory. His uncles were all professional musicians, whose posts included church organists, court chamber musicians, composers.
One uncle, Johann Christoph Bach, introduced him to the organ, an older second cousin, Johann Ludwig Bach, was a well-known composer and violinist. Bach's mother died in 1694, his father died eight months later; the 10-year-old Bach moved in with his eldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach, the organist at St. Michael's Church in Ohrdruf, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. There he studied and copied music, including his own brother's, despite being forbidden to do so because scores were so valuable and private, blank ledger paper of that type was costly, he received valuable teaching from his brother. J. C. Bach exposed him to the works of great composers of the day, including South German composers such as Johann Pachelbel and Johann Jakob Froberger. During this time, he was taught theology, Greek and Italian at the local gymnasium. By 3 April 1700, Bach and his schoolfriend Georg Erdmann—who was two years Bach's elder—were enrolled in the prestigious St. Michael's School in Lüneburg, some two weeks' travel north of Ohrdruf
Morton Feldman was an American composer. A major figure in 20th-century music, Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers including John Cage, Christian Wolff, Earle Brown. Feldman's works are characterized by notational innovations that he developed to create his characteristic sound: rhythms that seem to be free and floating, his works, after 1977 begin to explore extremes of duration. Feldman was born in Queens into a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, his parents, Irving Feldman and Frances Breskin Feldman, immigrated to New York from Pereyaslav and Bobruysk. His father was a manufacturer of children's coats; as a child he studied piano with Vera Maurina Press, according to the composer himself, instilled in him a "vibrant musicality rather than musicianship." Feldman's first composition teachers were Wallingford Riegger, one of the first American followers of Arnold Schoenberg, Stefan Wolpe, a German-born Jewish composer who studied under Franz Schreker and Anton Webern.
Feldman and Wolpe spent most of their time talking about music and art. In early 1950 Feldman heard the New York Philharmonic perform op. 21. After this work, the orchestra was going to perform a piece by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Feldman left disturbed by the audience's disrespectful reaction to Webern's work. In the lobby he met John Cage, at the concert and had decided to step out; the two became friends, with Feldman moving into the apartment on the second floor of the building Cage lived in. Through Cage, he met sculptor Richard Lippold and artists Sonia Sekula, Robert Rauschenberg, others, composers such as Henry Cowell, Virgil Thomson, George Antheil. With Cage's encouragement, Feldman began to write pieces that had no relation to compositional systems of the past, such as traditional harmony or the serial technique, he experimented with nonstandard systems of musical notation using grids in his scores, specifying how many notes should be played at a certain time but not which ones. Feldman's experiments with chance in turn inspired Cage to write pieces like Music of Changes, where the notes to be played are determined by consulting the I Ching.
Through Cage, Feldman met many other prominent figures in the New York arts scene, among them Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston and Frank O'Hara. He found inspiration in the paintings of the abstract expressionists, in the 1970s wrote a number of pieces around 20 minutes in length, including Rothko Chapel and For Frank O'Hara. In 1977, he wrote the opera Neither with original text by Samuel Beckett. Feldman was commissioned to compose the score for Jack Garfein's 1961 film Something Wild, but after hearing the music for the opening scene, in which a character is raped, the director promptly withdrew his commission, opting to enlist Aaron Copland instead; the director's reaction was said to be, "My wife is being raped and you write celesta music?"Feldman's music "changed radically" in 1970, moving away from graphic and arhythmic notation systems and toward rhythmic precision. The first piece of this new period was a short, 55-measure work, "Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety", dedicated to his childhood piano teacher, Vera Maurina Press.
In 1973, at the age of 47, Feldman became the Edgard Varèse Professor at the University at Buffalo. Until Feldman had earned his living as a full-time employee at the family textile business in New York's garment district. In addition to teaching at SUNY Buffalo, Feldman held residencies during the mid-1980s at the University of California, San Diego, he began to produce long works in one continuous movement shorter than half an hour in length and much longer. These include Violin and String Quartet, For Philip Guston and, most extreme, the String Quartet II; these pieces maintain a slow developmental pace and are very quiet. Feldman said. In a 1982 lecture, he asked, "Do we have anything in music for example that wipes everything out? That just cleans everything away?" Feldman married the Canadian composer Barbara Monk shortly before his death. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1987 at his home in Buffalo, New York, after fighting for his life for three months. See: List of compositions by Morton Feldman Feldman, Morton.
1968. Give My Regards to Eighth Street, Artnews Annual. Included in Give my regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman, The Music of Morton Feldman, elsewhere. Gagne and Caras, Tracey. 1982. Interview with Morton Feldman. In: Soundpieces: Interviews with American Composers, 164–177. Metuchen, New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press Inc, 1982. Available online. Hirata, Catherin. 2002. Morton Feldman. In: Sitsky, Larry, ed. 2002. Music of the Twentieth-century Avant-garde. Greenwood Publishing Group. Revill, David. 1993. The Roaring Silence: John Cage – a Life. Arcade Publishing. ISBN 1-55970-220-6, ISBN 978-1-55970-220-1. Ross, Alex. 2006. American Sublime; the New Yorker, June 19, 2006. Available online. Zimmerman, Walter, ed. 1985. Morton Feldman Essays. Kerpen: Beginner. Cline, David; the Graph Music of Morton Feldman. Cambridge Universit
The I Ching or Yi Jing known as Classic of Changes or Book of Changes, is an ancient Chinese divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics. Possessing a history of more than two and a half millennia of commentary and interpretation, the I Ching is an influential text read throughout the world, providing inspiration to the worlds of religion, psychoanalysis and art. A divination manual in the Western Zhou period, over the course of the Warring States period and early imperial period it was transformed into a cosmological text with a series of philosophical commentaries known as the "Ten Wings". After becoming part of the Five Classics in the 2nd century BC, the I Ching was the subject of scholarly commentary and the basis for divination practice for centuries across the Far East, took on an influential role in Western understanding of Eastern thought; the I Ching uses a type of divination called cleromancy, which produces random numbers. Six numbers between 6 and 9 are turned into a hexagram, which can be looked up in the I Ching book, arranged in an order known as the King Wen sequence.
The interpretation of the readings found in the I Ching is a matter of centuries of debate, many commentators have used the book symbolically to provide guidance for moral decision making as informed by Confucianism and Buddhism. The hexagrams themselves have acquired cosmological significance and paralleled with many other traditional names for the processes of change such as yin and yang and Wu Xing; the core of the I Ching is a Western Zhou divination text called the Changes of Zhou. Various modern scholars suggest dates ranging between the 10th and 4th centuries BC for the assembly of the text in its current form. Based on a comparison of the language of the Zhou yi with dated bronze inscriptions, the American sinologist Edward Shaughnessy dated its compilation in its current form to the early decades of the reign of King Xuan of Zhou, in the last quarter of the 9th century BC. A copy of the text in the Shanghai Museum corpus of bamboo and wooden slips shows that the Zhou yi was used throughout all levels of Chinese society in its current form by 300 BC, but still contained small variations as late as the Warring States period.
It is possible. The name Zhou yi means the "changes" of the Zhou dynasty; the "changes" involved have been interpreted as the transformations of hexagrams, of their lines, or of the numbers obtained from the divination. Feng Youlan proposed that the word for "changes" meant "easy", as in a form of divination easier than the oracle bones, but there is little evidence for this. There is an ancient folk etymology that sees the character for "changes" as containing the sun and moon, the cycle of the day. Modern Sinologists believe the character to be derived either from an image of the sun emerging from clouds, or from the content of a vessel being changed into another; the Zhou yi was traditionally ascribed to the Zhou cultural heroes King Wen of Zhou and the Duke of Zhou, was associated with the legendary world ruler Fu Xi. According to the canonical Great Commentary, Fu Xi observed the patterns of the world and created the eight trigrams, "in order to become conversant with the numinous and bright and to classify the myriad things."
The Zhou yi itself indeed says nothing about its own origins. The Rites of Zhou, however claims that the hexagrams of the Zhou yi were derived from an initial set of eight trigrams. During the Han dynasty there were various opinions about the historical relationship between the trigrams and the hexagrams. A consensus formed around 2nd century AD scholar Ma Rong's attribution of the text to the joint work of Fu Xi, King Wen of Zhou, the Duke of Zhou, Confucius, but this traditional attribution is no longer accepted; the basic unit of the Zhou yi is a figure composed of six stacked horizontal lines. Each line is either unbroken; the received text of the Zhou yi contains all 64 possible hexagrams, along with the hexagram's name, a short hexagram statement, six line statements. The statements were used to determine the results of divination, but the reasons for having two different methods of reading the hexagram are not known, it is not known why hexagram statements would be read over line statements or vice versa.
The book opens with yuán hēng lì zhēn. These four words, translated traditionally by James Legge as "originating and penetrating and firm," are repeated in the hexagram statements and were considered an important part of I Ching interpretation in the 6th century BC. Edward Shaughnessy describes this statement as affirming an "initial receipt" of an offering, "beneficial" for further "divining"; the word zhēn was used for the verb "divine" in the oracle bones of the late Shang dynasty, which preceded the Zhou. It carried meanings of being or making upright or correct, was defined by the Eastern Han scholar Zheng Xuan as "to enquire into the correctness" of a proposed activity; the names of the hexagrams are words that appear in their respective line statements, but in five cases an unrelated character of unclear purpose appears. The hexagram names could have been chosen arbitrarily from the line statements, but i