The Creative Principle - 64 Hexagrams

The structure you hear is a complete cycle of the I Ching's 64 hexagrams and a repetition of the first hexagram. An extra percussion part is added at the beginning of each of the eight sections so that you can follow the progression. If you'd like to play along, pick up two stones one in each hand, clap hands or if you prefer tap with one hand. Get ready to start tapping according to the musical notation. Tap one tap for a solid line and two taps for a broken line. Begin with the center hexagram and tap the changing lines from its bottom to its top. Now proceed clockwise making the round of the circle. Try to keep an even rhythm throughout. This cycle is the original arrangement of the hexagrams by the ancient Chinese philosopher Fu Hsi and is about 4,500 years old.

In memory of John Cage.

I originated this system of sounding the hexagrams in 1980 and have used it in a number of works and collaborations with some success. Advanced tappers can apply their own rhythmical motives to the solid and broken lines for each of the eight sections. In this respect the 64 hexagrams function as an algorithm, if not indeed one of the earliest recorded algorithms.