Par Hasard: Chance Compositions 1913-1951 LTM Recordings (the album cover features a Modernist-style photmontage against a blue background).

Various - Par Hasard: Chance Composition 1913-1951


  • £12.99

Par Hasard is a unique collection of avant-garde music by Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes and John Cage, all composed during the first half of the 20th century using chance techniques and operations, and performed on piano and prepared piano. 

Iconic French conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp conceived both of his Musical errata in 1913. One consists of notes drawn at random from a hat; for the second, balls are dropped through a funnel into wagons drawn by a toy train. "Execution," Duchamp confided, "is rather pointless, in any event." In fact both pieces are strangely beautiful. 

The remarkable pieces by artists Francis Picabia and Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes were first performed at the Festival Dada in Paris on 26 May 1920. Consisting of three notes repeated to infinity, prankster Picabia described The American Nurse as "musique sodomiste", while Ribemont-Dessaignes worked with "a sort of pocket roulette wheel that had a dial on which notes were written instead of numbers. By noting the results of the spins of the wheel, I had my melody and the necessary duration. It could have gone on forever." 

Several decades later radical American composer John Cage took a similarly iconoclastic approach to music. A friend of Duchamp since 1942, Cage conceived Music of Changes with the aid of the I Ching; the piece is presented here in its complete form. "The Music of Changes is an object more inhuman than human since chance operations brought it into being," Cage wrote later. "Sounds come together to control a human being and give the work an alarming aspect of a Frankenstein monster." 


  1. Marcel Duchamp - Musical Erratum (1913) 
  2. Ribemont-Dessaignes - Le nombril interlope (1920) 
  3. Ribemont-Dessaignes - Pas de la chicorée frisée (1920) 
  4. Francis Picabia - La nourrice américaine (1920) 
  5. John Cage - Music of Changes Book I (1951) 
  6. John Cage - Music of Changes Book II (1951) 
  7. John Cage - Music of Changes Book III (1951) 
  8. John Cage - Music of Changes Book IV (1951) 


  • CD housed in jewel case 
  • Includes booklet with archive images and detailed historical notes  




also available in the LTM Recordings avant-garde series: 
Musica Futurista: The Art Of Noises   CD 
Festival Dada Paris   CD 
A Young Person's Guide To The Avant-Garde   2CD 
The French Avant-Garde In The 20th Century   2CD 
The American Avant-Garde In The 20th Century   2CD 


see also: 
Steffen Schleiermacher & Josef Christof - John Cage: Piano Works   CD 
John Cage - Silence: Lectures And Writings   paperback 


browse collections: 
Unclassical & Modern Composition collection 
Experimental & Avant-Garde collection 



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