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Old 07-08-2014, 07:37 PM   #1
willT08
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John Cage: Setting Silence In Sound

EDIT: I once knew a D# with bad balance. He fell flat into a G major

Right boys,

Since I've now got you all rethinking your whole approach to music we can talk about something interesting instead of what chords are in an mioxycotin counter harmony bassline.

The one thing that can be taken from the last thread that we could perhaps talk about civilly would be John Cage's work, 4'33''. Some of you called it the musical Emperor's New Clothes, others an attempt to dupe the audience, others called Cage talentless and his work stupid.

Jazzrockfeel began to explain what he'd come to understand of the piece and his lengthy and informative post is contained in the following spoilers:
show


Some other questions gleamed from Elintasokas' ideas about the piece include: What is art? When are we experiencing art and when 'life'?

I'll begin to post what I've come to think of the piece as it becomes relevant to the discussion.
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Last edited by willT08 : 07-08-2014 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:56 PM   #2
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Dupe was a reference to the comic that, apparently, nobody read. I wasn't being serious.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:58 PM   #3
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That's all good It wasn't just you anyway I don't think. Either way a load of people really thought it was dumb but now they don't wanna tell me why
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duaneclapdrix
Dupe was a reference to the comic that, apparently, nobody read. I wasn't being serious.

I knew you were joking, but it's a very common criticism not just of Cage, but of a lot of modern art, so I thought it still needed addressing.


Obviously a lot of my initial thoughts are already there, but in the spirit of Elinkostakos' (or whatevers) statements, I struggle with whether or not this is music. Most of the time I think it is, but sometimes I wonder. I've never considered that it's not art though. If it isn't music it's certainly a form of performance art and that's where my question lies:

Does it matter whether we call this music or whether we call it performance art? Does it affect the impact of the piece or is it mostly irrelevant? Do we understand it the same way in either case?
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:31 PM   #5
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Thought: Does the sounds through time definition of music include poetry? Or reading a book out loud?

Whatever 4'33" is it serves it's purpose. It forces you to think about a lot questions that don't have answers, which are the ones that you learn the most from.

So says Confucius.

I'll see if I can come up with an answer while I'm sleeping with my insomnia tonight.
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:13 AM   #6
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I mentioned that I think 4'33 is a case of the Emperor's New Clothes.

I imagine a group of highly intellectual musicologists sitting around listening to it only to have one of their children walk in and ask them what they are doing. When told that they are listening to an important musical composition he replies "but there's no music".

The most common response to that kind of reaction to 4'33 is "you just don't get it, you don't understand what it's all about" - it's esoteric.

There have been some excellent and interesting posts made, particularly from Jazz_Rock_Feel in a previous thread. I enjoyed reading it very much and thought it made some very insightful views. I am not trying to say that he's wrong because I don't believe that there is a right or wrong.

As with all art it is subjective and musically speaking I guess I must be a regressive luddite. I feel all the same points that can be made in regard to 4'33 could equally have been made in regard to the Emperor's clothes, but at the end of the day -he was still naked.
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:37 AM   #7
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^ Little surprised by 20Tigers' response.

I think I get 4'33. It's not music. It is performance art. It works. It makes you think about what art is. It's a very, very clever piece. But it's a once-only thing. Silence isn't a form with any scope for progression or development. I can't write a three-movement piece that's silence (or Cage will ****ing sue ).
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:27 AM   #8
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^^^ Mate I'd be surprised if that song is protected by copyright.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehannum
^ Little surprised by 20Tigers' response.


It is what it is, and that's all it is.
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Old 07-09-2014, 01:27 PM   #10
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when defining art (or anything-when you think about it) as Donovan once put it, its one persons opinion of moonlight..then the emotional, intellectual and even scientific views get expressed and soon several tangents take form and the original definition morphs into several never ending circles of pointless distorted logic which then begs to be argued with to protect its own existence.

thanks to Mr Dylan for giving me the clear definition of art
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Old 07-09-2014, 01:56 PM   #11
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I found it interesting that John Cage was serious about "4:33" because most think it must be a joke. I agree with 20Tigers completely but also agree that John Cage's "music" is like Abstract Art or Black Metal because most people don't get it's artistic value. It's a very interesting subject indeed.

Here's a death metal drum cover of 4:33 (just for laughs and critique). I found it on Youtube.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:11 PM   #12
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^I cannot stress enough how much that video is only 3 minutes and 21 seconds long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
^^^ Mate I'd be surprised if that song is protected by copyright.

A guy paid out a six figure settlement to John Cage's trust for infringing on it. Granted they publisher had absolutely no case, admitted that, and the guy was a millionaire that decided to make a donation to the John Cage trust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by duaneclapdrix
Thought: Does the sounds through time definition of music include poetry? Or reading a book out loud?

Whatever 4'33" is it serves it's purpose. It forces you to think about a lot questions that don't have answers, which are the ones that you learn the most from.

That's the thing: at what point does the distinction between different art forms become irrelevant?

And you're bang on about that last bit. Just the fact that people hate it makes it a success. As long as they think about why they hate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 20Tigers
As with all art it is subjective and musically speaking I guess I must be a regressive luddite. I feel all the same points that can be made in regard to 4'33 could equally have been made in regard to the Emperor's clothes, but at the end of the day -he was still naked.

The reason I don't buy the Emperor's clothes analogy is Cage isn't pretending anything. He's not trying to convince you of anything. He's trying to make you think and he's trying to make you sit for 5 minutes in silence and appreciate the sounds around you because he deeply loves those sounds and wants to share them with you. I just think the motivations of 4'33" and the Emperor's clothing are very different.




How about this as food for thought: 4'33" has been credited as the genesis of noise music.
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
^I cannot stress enough how much that video is only 3 minutes and 21 seconds long.


Not only that, he doesn't even start playing until 1:10.

I hate covers which mess with the original too much. Is nothing sacred any more?!?!?!
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
Not only that, he doesn't even start playing until 1:10.

I hate covers which mess with the original too much. Is nothing sacred any more?!?!?!

What's the point of making a cover if it's identical to the original? Isn't it more interesting if the musician adds their own touch to it?
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:00 PM   #15
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well played
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
The reason I don't buy the Emperor's clothes analogy is Cage isn't pretending anything. He's not trying to convince you of anything. He's trying to make you think and he's trying to make you sit for 5 minutes in silence and appreciate the sounds around you because he deeply loves those sounds and wants to share them with you. I just think the motivations of 4'33" and the Emperor's clothing are very different.
Cage is not the designer in that analogy. He is the Emperor. Esoteric intellectual/academic elitism is the designer.
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elintasokas
What's the point of making a cover if it's identical to the original? Isn't it more interesting if the musician adds their own touch to it?

For a musical piece sure, but I'd argue that 4'33" doesn't need different interpretation as it's more of a piece of incidental music, with the interpretation left in the hands of the audience.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister A.J.
For a musical piece sure, but I'd argue that 4'33" doesn't need different interpretation as it's more of a piece of incidental music, with the interpretation left in the hands of the audience.

LOL, yeah. I meant covers and music in general. It's hard to make a different interpretation of 4'33" because it's just silence (and audience)

But what if there is no one in the audience? Then what is 4'33"? Nothing? I guess it cannot exist without an audience.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elintasokas
LOL, yeah. I meant covers and music in general. It's hard to make a different interpretation of 4'33" because it's just silence (and audience)

But what if there is no one in the audience? Then what is 4'33"? Nothing? I guess it cannot exist without an audience.

It can. It's simply an interpretation left to the world around you at that point. It's definitely a difficult piece to describe. I'm proud to say I learned that entire thing completely by ear though.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
^I cannot stress enough how much that video is only 3 minutes and 21 seconds long.




That's why, at the end, he jokes about having taken a faster tempo than the original.
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