C-A-G-E (1993) described by the composer as a “fingering for piano” is dedicated to the memory of John Cage (1912-1992), friend and mentor to Tan Dun and one of the first Western composers to be profoundly influenced by Asian philosophies, particularly through his life-long devotion to chance procedures derived from the ancient Chinese “Book of Changes,” the I Ching. C-A-G-E explores all possible resonances of the piano which can be produced without using the keyboard (for example the production of overtones). Many of the fingering techniques found in C-A-G-E borrow from those of the Chinese plucked string instrument, the pipa. This piece is composed using only the four pitches C, A, G, E in all the different registers of the piano.
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