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Who was John Zorn, and what did he contribute to music?

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enotes | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 9, 2014 at 9:34 PM via web

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Who was John Zorn, and what did he contribute to music?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 13, 2014 at 7:00 PM (Answer #1)

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John Zorn is an experimental musician. He plays multiple instruments but is most widely known as a saxophonist. Because he has played and continues to play in a diverse range of styles and mixing genres, his music is generally characterized as experimental or avant garde. Growing up, Zorn was interested in film scores, classical music, jazz, and eventually many other forms of music including punk, heavy metal, hardcore, and the more experimental artists such as John Cage. 

Zorn experimented with forms and procedures of music writing. For example, while at the Soho Music Gallery, he created "game pieces" which allowed musicians to improvise within a specific set of rules. This is somewhat comparable to the experimental writing techniques of groups like Oulipo who introduced certain rules (such as writing without using the letter "e") in order to see what happens with such experimentation and divergence from traditional forms. 

Naked City is a good example of Zorn's blending of jazz. Spillane is more avant garde: a mixture of dialogue, samples, sound effects, and a mix of different musical styles. Zorn has also been featured on countless albums of other artists. And the diversity of their styles shows Zorn's malleability and influence as a multi-genre musician. 


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laurto | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:19 PM (Answer #2)

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John Zorn is a American musician. He is notable for incorporating diverse styles in his compositions which he identifies as experimental. He performed with many artists developing experimental methods f composing new music. He has written music for many diverse acts, from hardcore bands to classical ensembles. 

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