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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Tudwell wrote:
George wrote:
Oddjectivity wrote:
It's neither music nor terribly original, but it's mildly amusing as a piece of performance art I suppose. That 4:33 of silence is the most famous piece in Cage's oeuvre speaks volumes about his ability as a composer.
:facepalm:


I take this to mean you like some of Cage's other works. I've never listened to him. Anything you can recommend?
i've even played some of his "other" works, yes.
his compositions for prepared piano are both enjoyable, as well as very influential on modern western music.

i think cage was a very clever psychologist in addition to musical philosopher and composer... a lot of his works include an element of surprise that draws the listener in and manages to move one in a very particular way.


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:35 pm 
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Brian B wrote:
I think the point of 4:33 was that Cage wanted to promote the concept that music can be considered, basically, 'the organization of sound in time'. I assume he thought that the structure of sound could be interpreted instead of necessarily being consciously 'composed', and therefore that any structure of sound captured within time could then be defined as music. Basically, I also assume he wanted us to broaden our perception of how we not only define the term 'music', but he wanted us as a result to understand sound experience differently, 'outside of the box', maybe. I wonder how John C. would resolve whether or not narrative of any kind of written literary work could be considered music, as one example of the organization of sound in time, or if this specific structure has specific conditions that exclude it (narrative) from being within his concept of 'music'? Just my whimsical thoughts...


I think Music has always been defined as sound organized in time though (or at least before Cage composed his work). While I would agree with the definition and agree that it is music, it doesn't make the piece necessarily interesting nor refute the idea of Cage as more of a philosopher than great composer.


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:37 pm 
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Brian B wrote:
...the natural extension of accepting 4:33 as 'music' is that any and all sounds can be considered music, without exception. Question: if we accept that, than is there any real difference between sound and music, or are they just different words that both include all sound experience, when we choose (the only difference being an individual choosing to call a specific sound experience 'music' whenever they want to, perhaps)


That's not quite true. Any sounds organized in time yes. But without the organization in time (i.e. having a definite end point), then it is not music. The context of the sounds is what makes music no matter what the sound is. At my school there was a music grad student who played 4'33" for his final recital. He was failed because he didn't close the piano upon the expiration of 4'33" indicating that the piece had concluded.


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:15 am 
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:lol: serves him right


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:54 pm 
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I can't imagine someone programming that for a recital at all, let alone a graded recital in college. This is the chance to show what you've been doing the last several years in the music program. It's an open statement regarding your artistic and technical accomplishments. And you choose that opportunity to sit there like a jackass for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Cage was making a philosophical statement, and that statement has been made. The only statement you're making is that you're an asshole, and I hope you feel as awkward sitting there as we all feel watching you.


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:16 pm 
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4'33: As a professional musician and music educator (B.A., M.A., Music Education, UCLA, plus two teaching credentials), I react in a mixed manner to this piece.

Sure, Cage was a unique musician (to say the least). But my experience with listening to and performing music (pop, jazz, dance, Broadway shows, rock, gospel, classical, etc.) is that I like to actually do something when I'm performing.

The idea of sitting quietly in the audience, watching a performer do nothing but sit at a piano for 4'33, and trying to listen to the ambient noise around me (while trying to observe proper concert hall etiquette), is a little strange.

As an appreciator of music, I love Stravinsky's Rite of Spring for its unconventional harmonies and orchestration. I also love foot-tapping jazz, Beatles and other talented rock musicians, and so on.

With all due respect to Cage's ideas, I still like music (and musicians) doing something!

That's my reaction to 4'33.


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:20 pm 
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musicfunman wrote:
4'33: As a professional musician and music educator (B.A., M.A., Music Education, UCLA, plus two teaching credentials), I react in a mixed manner to this piece.

Sure, Cage was a unique musician (to say the least). But my experience with listening to and performing music (pop, jazz, dance, Broadway shows, rock, gospel, classical, etc.) is that I like to actually do something when I'm performing.

The idea of sitting quietly in the audience, watching a performer do nothing but sit at a piano for 4'33, and trying to listen to the ambient noise around me (while trying to observe proper concert hall etiquette), is a little strange.

As an appreciator of music, I love Stravinsky's Rite of Spring for its unconventional harmonies and orchestration. I also love foot-tapping jazz, Beatles and other talented rock musicians, and so on.

With all due respect to Cage's ideas, I still like music (and musicians) doing something!

That's my reaction to 4'33.

Hi musicfunman, welcome to the forum


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:06 am 
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musicfunman wrote:
4'33: As a professional musician and music educator (B.A., M.A., Music Education, UCLA, plus two teaching credentials), I react in a mixed manner to this piece.

Sure, Cage was a unique musician (to say the least). But my experience with listening to and performing music (pop, jazz, dance, Broadway shows, rock, gospel, classical, etc.) is that I like to actually do something when I'm performing.

The idea of sitting quietly in the audience, watching a performer do nothing but sit at a piano for 4'33, and trying to listen to the ambient noise around me (while trying to observe proper concert hall etiquette), is a little strange.

As an appreciator of music, I love Stravinsky's Rite of Spring for its unconventional harmonies and orchestration. I also love foot-tapping jazz, Beatles and other talented rock musicians, and so on.

With all due respect to Cage's ideas, I still like music (and musicians) doing something!

That's my reaction to 4'33.

Hi musicfunman. I also like music and I certainly appreciate it when musicians do something, so I see a lot of common ground here. Yet your post makes me wonder, whether in your opinion music can only be good if a musician is actually active during its performance. What are your opinions regarding music that is largely created on electronic devices before it is performed in public? What do you think about electronically generated music, music that is actually created by computer with only certain parameters having been predefined by a human composer?


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:30 am 
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Hi pauldrach,

I appreciate your comments. In the past, when I was teaching high school music, I took a UCLA extension class from a bona-fide electronic composer, who brought his Moog synthesizer to class, and showed us how it worked, and how he composed on it.

I also like music that is largely created on an electronic device before being performed in public, because, in my opinion, a skilled composer had to actually do something to create the music. I'm also okay with electronically generated music created by a computer, once the human programmer-composer has predefined search parameters for its composition. In fact, I have several albums of "computer music" on vinyl, and am fascinated and enlightened by it.

As I re-examine my prior comments regarding John Cage's 4'33 -- and with all due respect for Cage's unique form of musical creativity and vision -- it just seems odd to me to sit in an audience, observing proper concert hall etiquette, watch a person come out onto the stage, sit at the piano, lower the keyboard cover, raise it and lower at two more times to signify the beginning and end of the other two movements of the piece, and somehow consider the attending ambient noise around me as part of a musical composition.

Maybe I need to further expand my horizons regarding this kind of thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:02 am 
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Thanks for your reply. I can understand anybody who has his doubts regarding the aesthetic quality of 4'33''. Yet there are certain underlying aspects to the piece that I like a lot: the idea of an audience closely listening complete silence, the question whether complete silence could or could not be considered music, the question whether complete silence even exists. I see it as a tribute to the beauty of silence and silence certainly can be one of the most beautiful things at times. The piece may be based on a single idea, that in itself probably is not that impressive an artistic achievement, but it nevertheless is an interesting artistic statement, and I personally like the idea behind it a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:35 am 
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Great insight, pauldrach! I hadn't thought of some of the points you make.

The idea of an audience listening closely in complete silence . . . I had a student in one of my college evening extension classes on professional business writing skills, write a creative piece, in which she used the phrase: "they listened to the silence." A short but interesting class discussion ensued as to whether one can actually "listen to the silence." We all agreed that, yes, "listening to the silence" is as valid an experience as listening to "non-silence."

I am always open to interesting artistic endeavors, especially those that are not only creative, but verge on the edge of recognized artistic experience.

Are you familiar with the works of Harry Partch? He was a 20th-century composer whose musical ideas were unorthodox enough to lead him to actually design and create new instruments in order to realize his compositional ideas .

If you're interested, check him out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Partch. Pictures of some of the unique instruments which he built can be found here: http://www.corporeal.com/instbro/instintr.html.

It's satisfying to once again be able to discuss classical music in this manner--especially 20th Century avant-garde music. Thanks! :biggrin:


Last edited by musicfunman on Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:01 am 
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Musicfunman, just out of curiosity, do you have any strong affinity for Vaughan Williams? Do you play the clarinet?


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:44 am 
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Hello, john17,

Yes, I've listened to some of Vaughan Williams' works, although it's been some time ago, so I can't remember the exact names -- I think it was a couple of his symphonies. I am intrigued by his 20th-century approach to composition (as you probably can guess, based on some of the content of my prior posts).

One of these days I'll set aside some time to listen to more of his works, as I do have several recordings of them.

With regard to the clarinet -- in the seventh grade, I started learning the orchestral and band instruments, since I was a college prep music major. Clarinet was my first instrument. By the 12th grade I had learned all of the instruments, consistent with my college major.

I'm still very familiar with all the fingerings, and occasionally find myself playing the "air clarinet" -- that is, fingering various pop songs, Sousa marches, etc. at various times during my day. I do the same with most of the other instruments. I guess it's just in my system.

I'm curious as to why you asked about the clarinet: do you play? Do you still play?
:thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:28 pm 
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I asked on a hunch that you were an old poster coming back under a different name, as that poster did many times. He hasn't been back for a long time now, but any time a new poster demonstrates a formal education in music history I'm suspicious. He loved Vaughan Williams and played the clarinet. You are not him. Just curious.

I don't play the clarinet, but I'm a fan because of the Brahms sonatas, trio, and quintet. I play piano and compose (although the farther back my time as an undergrad gets in my rear-view mirror the word "play" is increasingly more appropriate as "played")


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion on John Cage's 4'33
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:08 pm 
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pauldrach wrote:
Thanks for your reply. I can understand anybody who has his doubts regarding the aesthetic quality of 4'33''. Yet there are certain underlying aspects to the piece that I like a lot: the idea of an audience closely listening complete silence, the question whether complete silence could or could not be considered music, the question whether complete silence even exists. I see it as a tribute to the beauty of silence and silence certainly can be one of the most beautiful things at times. The piece may be based on a single idea, that in itself probably is not that impressive an artistic achievement, but it nevertheless is an interesting artistic statement, and I personally like the idea behind it a lot.


I don't think the idea is for the audience to be listening to complete silence though (and if it was then the idea is dead on arrival because such is impossible around a large crowd). I think the idea is more the piece is always different because the noises around will be different. I don't think it is necessarily a tribute to silence (and if it was it would be ironically more effective as a recorded piece).


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