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#1
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:

Oh man. Well, first of all silence was something that Cage was really fascinated by and it was an important structural aspect of a lot of his earlier music (Duet for Two Flutes, Concerto for Prepared Piano and Orchestra, Sonatas and Interludes and more). In the late 40s he gave a one minute of silence talk where he just stood in front of a window.
“ to compose a piece of uninterrupted silence and sell it to Muzak Co. [. . .] It will open with a single idea which I will attempt to make as seductive as the color and shape and fragrance of a flower. The ending will approach imperceptibility.”
But he felt that a piece of silence would be incomprehensible in a Western context (surprise). And for those people who call it being duped or whatever:
“I wanted to mean it utterly and be able to live with it.”
Then he went to a silence chamber in 1951
“I heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation.” “Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue after my death. One need not fear about the future of music.”
And he realized the impossibility of silence. That's one of the profundities of 4'33". It's a piece of silence, but silence does not exist.

He viewed duration as being the fundamental building block of all music. It's the only element shared by both silence and sound and is present in all music, regardless of culture. He saw music as an organized sequence of "time buckets" filled with sound, silence or noise. Are the rests in Beethoven part of the music, or do they only exist in relief of sound? At what point does the length of the rest in a piece of music render it "silly"? Is it 2 seconds? 5 seconds? 10 seconds? A minute? 4'33" is the emancipation of silence. Much like Schoenberg tried to emancipate dissonance from only existing in relief of consonance, Cage tries to emancipate silence from only existing because there's no sound. He saw silence as being just as valid as sound in music and just as vital to the aesthetic.

There's also an aspect of Art-Political commentary. Essentially he's commenting on the social regiment of a modern concert. He's taking advantage of the idea of a prestigious venue, social status of composer/performer/audience. The heightened expectation allows him to focus an entire audience on silence just as much as they would on Beethoven 9 or Brahms 2. The social construct of a concert forces the audience to sit and listen to 4 and a half minutes of silence. In this way the work is defined by the behaviour of the audience (the audience fills the time buckets).

I don't buy that so much because Cage was so serious about silence (and I've never read anything by Cage suggesting this was a motivation). I really don't think he would reduce it to making a commentary on the culture of classical music. Another ultimate irony. The one piece that takes more invective than any other about the culture of classical music refuses to make a comment on that culture.

The other thing is pure indeterminism. How can a composer relinquish more control over a piece? This aspect comes from his interest in Eastern philosophy and taking the composer out of the compositional process.
They missed the point. There's no such thing as silence. What they thought was silence, because they didn’t know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds. You could hear the wind stirring outside during the first movement. During the second, raindrops began pattering the roof, and during the third the people themselves made all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked or walked out.


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.
Last edited by willT08 at Jul 8, 2014,
#3
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
#4
Quote 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?
#5
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.
#6
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.
Si
#7
^ 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 ).
#8
^^^ Mate I'd be surprised if that song is protected by copyright.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#9
Quote by Jehannum
^ Little surprised by 20Tigers' response.


It is what it is, and that's all it is.
Si
#10
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
#11
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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUzI3Ui1Eok
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#12
^I cannot stress enough how much that video is only 3 minutes and 21 seconds long.

Quote 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 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 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.
#13
Quote 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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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
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Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#14
Quote 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?
#15
well played
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#16
Quote 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.
Si
#17
Quote 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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#18
Quote 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.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Jul 9, 2014,
#19
Quote 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.
Join the 7 String Legion!

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#20
Quote 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.
#21
Quote 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)

I disagree to an extent. The venue makes a big difference, the size of the audience makes a big difference, the size of the ensemble performing it makes a big difference, the way the performer sits and acts makes a big difference. It's a hugely visual piece live and has a very different feel depending on a lot of factors.

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

This is a good question. What is any art without an audience?

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

Ah, I'll admit I didn't actually watch it. Good joke.
#22
Quote by jazz_rock_feel

This is a good question. What is any art without an audience?

Art for the sake of the artist?
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#23
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
What is any art without an audience?
Art must have both an artist and an audience. However the same person can be both at the same time so....

or does it???

a painter paints a painting blindfolded then covers the work. He then sets it on fire and completely destroys it without ever having seen it. Was the painting a work of art? (the painted image that was never seen) Or is it concept art/performance art?
Si
#24
Quote 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)

based on the nature of the piece (and exactly what you described as "just silence (and audience)" i'd say this means that every single interpretation is different

if anything, it's impossible to not create a different interpretation
Last edited by :-D at Jul 9, 2014,
#25
Quote by :-D
based on the nature of the piece (and exactly what you described as "just silence (and audience)" i'd say this means that every single interpretation is different

if anything, it's impossible to not create a different interpretation

Basically, yes.
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#26
Quote 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.


I thought he was making a (very good) joke.

Mine was a (bad) joke too, fwiw. I don't necessarily think that covers should be 100% as the original. There's definitely a bit of a catch-22 thing going on with covers, where if it's too different people will claim the coverer isn't treating the original material with enough respect, but if it's not changed enough the coverer will be asked, "What was the point in covering that if you just did it exactly the same?"

Quote by jazz_rock_feel

Ah, I'll admit I didn't actually watch it. Good joke.


You missed the count-in at the start (of when he started to play the piece, around 1:10), then. I felt that was maybe a bit heavy-handed (the joke, I mean), but
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#27
Quote by 20Tigers
Art must have both an artist and an audience. However the same person can be both at the same time so....

or does it???

a painter paints a painting blindfolded then covers the work. He then sets it on fire and completely destroys it without ever having seen it. Was the painting a work of art? (the painted image that was never seen) Or is it concept art/performance art?

He still interacted with it. He perceived it in some way, and you could argue that means he was an audience for it.

What if a random-painting robot painted a picture in a sealed chamber and then destroyed it without humans interacting at all? If art is created in a forest, and no one is around to interact with it, is it art? Does art only become art when you observe it, like a weird quantum wave of creativity?
#28
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
I disagree to an extent. The venue makes a big difference, the size of the audience makes a big difference, the size of the ensemble performing it makes a big difference, the way the performer sits and acts makes a big difference. It's a hugely visual piece live and has a very different feel depending on a lot of factors.

that these things make a difference (and they do) tells you something about the piece that it doesn't seem like many of you have thought about.

In a couple of posts people have noted without a second thought that "yeah it makes you think about what art is and stuff but..."

To me it seems that the piece is about context. When you're writing whatever crap music with notes and stuff it's written and considered in terms of when there will be a note, how long for, and how much gap there is until the next note. Nothing is said about how the gaps should sound, they're just assumed as moments of no sound.

To me 4'33'' is a way to reveal what the gaps are. After all, all sound becomes known by rising out of them, making itself distinct. If you're not considering from where the sound will emerge from then...well it's prob just a good idea to

EDIT: Thinking about 4'33'' has never lead to considering random-painting robots
Last edited by willT08 at Jul 10, 2014,
#29
Quote by willT08

To me it seems that the piece is about context. When you're writing whatever crap music with notes and stuff..........

Yeah, **** that, right? Silence or random noise is real music!! Using notes is so outdated.
#30
Quote by Elintasokas
Yeah, **** that, right? Silence or random noise is real music!! Using notes is so outdated.
every time music is discussed as something more than just notes that you can study, one of you completely loses your shit

yes, i do actually believe it's an outdated practice that'll continue to be popular in the mainstream but adding nothing to the world of music other than bloating out the middle ground
#31
Quote by willT08

In a couple of posts people have noted without a second thought that "yeah it makes you think about what art is and stuff but..."

I also feel like there's not enough appreciation for just this. Even if this question was all there was to the piece it's not like, "oh yeah there's this I guess" it's like, "woah, this guy created a piece that has confounded people for 60+ years and continues to make people question the limits of art." That's not some thing to just throw away, that's impressive as hell.


To me 4'33'' is a way to reveal what the gaps are. After all, all sound becomes known by rising out of them, making itself distinct. If you're not considering from where the sound will emerge from then...well it's prob just a good idea to

That's an interesting way to think about it, "revealing what the gaps are." I've always thought of it as an appreciation of the gaps, but maybe it's just an awareness of them.
#32
Quote by willT08
every time music is discussed as something more than just notes that you can study, one of you completely loses your shit

"Discussing music as more than just notes that you can study" is quite different than "whatever crap music with notes and stuff". The first is thoughtful and open the latter is dismissive and derogatory. It's pretty clear that you chose your words to get a reaction.

There is also a difference between a passing sarcastic comment on an asinine statement and someone "losing their shit". But if inflating the significance of a mild reaction makes you feel you are some sort of progressive revolutionary, then by all means go right ahead.

Quote by willT08
yes, i do actually believe it's an outdated practice that'll continue to be popular in the mainstream but adding nothing to the world of music other than bloating out the middle ground
Is that the point of music, to explore the boundaries of what is considered music? Where does this idea that music must continually expand come from?

Is there some objective musical goal that musicians have some responsibility to be moving toward? Is it reasonable to assume that music can not evolve from within the centre of the bloated middle? Is the only way to add to the world of music by standing on the outskirts and pushing against a boundary that doesn't exist? Is it impossible to be an individual with a unique voice in a sea of people crying out to be heard?

Personally I think that an individual can rise up from the bloated middle ground with a unique voice and be heard above the sea of crying masses, and in doing add to the world of music.

Other's feel they need to move out to where the crowd is thinner in order to be heard. Out there where the voices are fewer and the motley roar of the mainstream is so far away they can hear themselves more clearly.

The sound of their own voice in their own ears is enough to make some of those people pretty arrogant about their own importance. The likelihood of them adding anything significant to the world of music are not improved at all. They have merely traded their voice being lost in a crowd for their voice being lost in the wilderness.

Most of the progressive modernist music today is nothing more than shaking bushes and turning over rocks in a land that's already been mapped. Rehashing the same seventy year old ideas is no more important to the future of music than rehashing the same four hundred year old ideas.

It doesn't really matter where you situate yourself, the mainstream or the wilderness, the chances of making a significant contribution to the world of music are small. But if that's what is driving your musical journey then good luck to you.
Si
#33
Quote by 20Tigers

Is that the point of music, to explore the boundaries of what is considered music?
I don't know
Where does this idea that music must continually expand come from?
It's not that it must, it's that it's human nature to make it do so.

Is there some objective musical goal that musicians have some responsibility to be moving toward?
No. I don't think I've ever said it was some moral imperative.
Is it reasonable to assume that music can not evolve from within the centre of the bloated middle?
I think so to some extent. At least not without what Voorvelt calls 'abuse' in a really good essay on innovation in popular music called "New Sounds, Old Technology". It deals with this topic pretty specifically and yeah, it's quite short so worth a read.

Personally I think that an individual can rise up from the bloated middle ground with a unique voice and be heard above the sea of crying masses, and in doing add to the world of music.
Why are we talking like it's an epic novel now

Other's feel they need to move out to where the crowd is thinner in order to be heard. Out there where the voices are fewer and the motley roar of the mainstream is so far away they can hear themselves more clearly.
I don't think that's true at all. It's just where some people choose to talk. It's not because there's less people there or anything

The sound of their own voice in their own ears is enough to make some of those people pretty arrogant about their own importance. The likelihood of them adding anything significant to the world of music are not improved at all. They have merely traded their voice being lost in a crowd for their voice being lost in the wilderness.
How we mean "contributed to the world of music" is different.

Most of the progressive modernist music today is nothing more than shaking bushes and turning over rocks in a land that's already been mapped.
Seems like an odd thing for you to say since you seem to show no interest in that side of sound.
#34
Honestly willT08 you're pretty narrow minded. Don't you think it's possible to combine the old and the new? Why does it have to be one extreme. Either completely traditional or experimental noise clusterf*ck?

You could mix traditional and experimental passages, etc. Why start avoiding traditional theory like cancer? (other than the obvious answer that you just need an excuse not to learn it)
#36
Quote by Elintasokas
Honestly willT08 you're pretty narrow minded.
lol i don't think you're getting what's happening

(other than the obvious answer that you just need an excuse not to learn it)

I could give you the real reason I never learned theory, here it is, it's shocking:

It's dull and I didn't want to.





And since I've grown up I've found no use for it whatsoever

EDIT: ^ This guy gets it more but I actually just don't know any theory.
Last edited by willT08 at Jul 11, 2014,
#37
I'll begin my entrance to this thread by stating that I like the definition of 'music' that was presented in an earlier thread- 'framed sound'. 4'33" is sort of like an empty frame- but the fact that the frame is even there makes it music in a sense. It's a giant rest note, if you must confirm it to the traditional confines of music theory. It's intent is what gives it a musical quality, as even with the lack of sound, it is sonic in its design. Of course, music is not easily defined, and I still struggle with it myself. Is recited poetry music? Not in my mind- that's oral literature. Yet on a technical level it could be music. It is framed sound. Rap is most definitely music- distinctive to me by its rhythmic accentuation, which may reflect some sort of traditional bias in my views towards what defines music. /thinking out loud

Moving on towards what this thread has turned into, I think many of you are misunderstanding what Will (other Will >_> is saying. Nobody is explicitly stating that traditional theory is completely useless. I myself follow more traditional guidelines- I began as a 'RIM' musician and I continue to play 'real instruments'- my songwriting generally uses melodies that could be analysed through scales and modes, etc. I myself still do not know much music theory, as I find it to be rather pointless and very limiting. This does not mean that it is completely useless- I find it useful for understanding chord theory, it is great for analysing past work, and still works for many modern artists.

But when we apply it to 'modernist' music, it's practicality is certainly put to the test. There are so many works with layers upon layers of atonal music that manage to sound good. Rhythms and sonic textures, enhanced by the endless compositional possibilities offered by modern instrumentation allow us to go beyond traditional boundaries. Traditional theory could be used, but it is not necessary. And adherring so strictly to the most overused diatonic and modal forms in the form of traditional music can create a very bloated middle ground. That doesn't mean that no good will continue to arise from this bloated ground, or that 'traditional performance music' will be useless in the future- just that it for the best that we challenge it like we are in this thread.

The problem is that all of you seem to be taking this as a personal attack. It is merely offering a different viewpoint. I just find efforts to view 'modernist' music through these lenses to be misguided.
Last edited by slipknot5678 at Jul 11, 2014,
#38
^ Top shelf post.

Quote by 20Tigers

Is that the point of music, to explore the boundaries of what is considered music? Where does this idea that music must continually expand come from?

Well it's probably been longer, but the turn of 17th century is a good starting point. Music started to turn from being essentially skilled labour to being art and since then forward progression has been in the consciousness of every composer.

Other's feel they need to move out to where the crowd is thinner in order to be heard. Out there where the voices are fewer and the motley roar of the mainstream is so far away they can hear themselves more clearly.

I can personally guarantee that this has never been the motivation for a composer literally ever (and let's face it, by "others" you mean contemporary classical composers).
Quote by Elintasokas
Honestly willT08 you're pretty narrow minded.

Everyone is narrow minded. Everyone thinks their path is correct otherwise they wouldn't be on it.
#39
Everyone is narrow minded. Everyone thinks their path is correct otherwise they wouldn't be on it.

Ha! I love that.

4'33" is a polarizing piece (as this thread demonstrates) - always has been. There really are no wrong viewpoints on this (IMO). I think of it like an Andy Warhol piece - where the statement being made by his art is more important than the art itself.

Let's not forget that we're talking about a guy who would have rather been a botanist than a composer. Seriously, he was more into mushrooms than music.
#40
i think we should really get down to placing this work in a strict subgenre.

i suggest midwest emo.
i don't know why i feel so dry
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