Please DONATE to help with maintenance and upkeep of the Wind Repertory Project!

Atlas Eclipticalis

From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Cage

John Cage

General Info

Year: 1961
Duration: Indeterminate
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Edition Peters
Cost: Parts – priced individually   |   Score Only (print) - $24.00

Instrumentation (Flexible)

Any combination of instruments drawn from this list:

Full Score
C Piccolo (optional)
Flute I-II-III
Alto Flute (optional)
English Horn (optional)
Bassoon I-II-III
Contrabassoon (optional)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet (optional)
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (optional)
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV-V
Trombone I-II
Percussion I-IX, including:

  • Miscellaneous unspecified non-pitched instruments



None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This work was originally used as music for the choreographed piece by Merce Cunningham entitled Aeon, with stage decors and costume design by Robert Rauschenberg. It was later used for Cunningham's first "Events" performance, Museum Event #1." Atlas Eclipticalis was composed on a commission from the Montreal Festival Society.

Like Winter Music, a work with which it is often performed, each event contains from one to ten notes, divided randomly into two groups. Pitches are notated clearly, though in a somewhat unusual way, i.e., the sizes of notes determine amplitudes. Durations are notated above the events. Tempo is not given, but rather is determined by the conductor.

To compose this piece, Cage used the Atlas Eclipticalis 1950.0 (an atlas of the stars published in 1958 by Antonín Becvár [1901-1965], a Czech astronomer), superimposing musical staves over its star-charts. In any performance, this score may be played in whole or in part by any number of players, up to the full 86 specified.

Atlas Eclipticalis is the first part of a trilogy of which Variations IV is part 2 and 0'00" is part 3.

- Program Note from John Cage website

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works