I Ching Inspirations

Music, Art & Ideas inspired by the I Ching.

Music of Changes is a piece for solo piano by John Cage, one of the 20th century’s greatest composers, innovators and explorers of sound. Composed in 1951 for pianist and friend David Tudor, it is Cage’s earliest fully indeterminate instrumental work. The process of composition involved applying decisions made using mathematics determined by chance, derived through the I Ching. The chance aspect of the I Ching divination was applied to large charts of sounds, durations, dynamics, rhythms and densities to create the musical score.

Hear John Cage’s “Music of Changes” here.

Learn more about the I Ching inspired work of Cage, Merce Cunningham and Philip K. Dick here.

Read about the influence the I Ching had on the ideas and creative works of musicians, authors, historical figures and intellects of note here, including George Harrison and Bob Dylan, German Mathematician and Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, Danish Physicist Niels Bohr, authors Hermann Hesse, Terence McKenna, Philip Pullman, Douglas Adams, American poet Allen Ginsburg and British poet Alan Baker, the hip-hop music group Dead Prez, the television series “Lost”. In 2012, the television series “Mad Men” included an episode with I Ching references, scripted as an office party where the hippie daughter of one of the partners is offering I Ching reading almost as foreplay in seeking a random encounter. It portrayed an angle on the exotic aspect of the I Ching’s rise during the 60’s. Be that as it may, the I Ching has always been and continues to be a profoundly important historic and spiritual/social/philosophical text.

Carl Jung wrote the forward to the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of the I Ching, in which he discusses the meaning of “synchronicity”.

This list is but a fraction of the vast amount of I Ching inspired work that has been created by people all over the world.



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