Aleotoric is a term used to describe the use of chance to create something. Influenced by Zen Buddhism, composer John Cage often used aleotoric methods in his work, believing music with structure that creates a sense of emotion or imagery for a listener was old news. His approach opened up opportunities for audiences to hear sounds as they are, leaving it up to chance to determine the performance outcome. One example of this method can be found in his Music of Changes, a piano work that uses the Chinese I-Ching method of tossing coins to determine the outcome.
Another aspect of aleotoric music is indeterminacy. Indeterminacy leaves certain aspects of a piece unspecified so that the outcome is up to the performer’s interpretation. The composer may provide various graphics or instructions in the score but the performance will vary each time it is played. Cage’s infamous 4’33’’ discussed in one of my January blog posts is a great example of this.
Here is an excerpt from Cage’s Music of Changes. So what do you think? Music? There's no wrong answer, I'm curious to hear all opinions!