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5 1/2 Weird Ways That Experimental Composers Write Music

How the 20th century musical avant-garde broke free from traditional notation.

The creation of the 5 line music staff allowed music to be shared between musicians visually via an easy to understand standardized format. Yet for all its merits, this system is restrictive for a number of different reasons, and in the mid 20th century, a number of experimental composers strove to explore the realms beyond its strict grid. These were now seminal figures of modern music like John Cage, Steve Reich and Brian Eno who created wildly expressive, messy and often colorful visual systems for their unusual music.

Smithsonian Magazine has a rundown of 5 1/2 of these experimental systems. Check it out here.

Read more: The Composers Who Make Music Out Of Silence

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