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The Cow Piece (2009, 30 minutes)

Created and performed by Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion.


The principle behind the making of The Cow Piece was - 'Overwhelmed by scores'.

The piece uses the same structure as the Burrows&Fargion performance Cheap Lecture, borrowed from John Cage's Lecture on Nothing. It is what Cage called a rhythmic structure, made up of smaller units of 7, 6, 14, 14 and 7, which are then repeated 7, 6, 14, 14 and 7 times so that the larger shape reflects the smaller shape.

In some of the scores for The Cow Piece you will see the numbers 7,6,14,14 and 7 written down the left hand of each page, against which is written or drawn what must happen on that beat.


The performers stand at two tables and each follows their own score while always being aware of what the other person is doing. Many materials now coincide precisely, but this togetherness was arrived at slowly over many performances.


The materials include: 12 plastic cows, speaking, singing, playing melodeon, mandolin, harmonium, mouth organ, whistle and tin can.


Each page has a score for a different material, and each score is written differently.


© Burrows&Fargion 2023

The Cow Piece Matteo's score for the opening (2009).jpg
The Cow Piece Jonathan's score for the opening (2009).jpg
The Cow Piece, Jonathan's score for laughing (2009).jpg
The Cow Piece, Matteo's score for laughing (2009).jpg
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