Just as you go along the beach and pick up pretty shells that please you, I go into the piano and find sounds I like. – John Cage
The Sonatas and Interludes (1946-1948) for prepared piano were influenced by Cage’s reading of the works of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy and “attempt the expression in music of the ‘permanent emotions’ of Indian traditions: the heroic, the erotic, the wondrous, the mirthful, sorrow, fear, anger, the odious and their common tendency toward tranquility.” The preparation of the piano involves the placement of bolts, screws and other objects and materials between the strings, emphasizing percussive qualities over pitch. In fact, the sound of prepared piano is similar to eastern percussive music, especially the traditions of Indonesian gamelan.
4′ 33″ was also performed.