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(YouTube)   What's your opinion on John Cage's 4'33"? Should it be considered "music"? Does it deserve applause when "performed"?   (youtube.com) divider line
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142 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 19 Oct 2021 at 3:35 PM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-10-19 2:53:53 PM  
yes
 
2021-10-19 3:02:09 PM  
It's a very important work in post-WW2 avant-garde music by one of that era's bleeding edge composers.

Yes, it is music.

No, you don't have to like it.
 
2021-10-19 3:07:01 PM  
There should only be applause if there's an encore.
 
2021-10-19 3:13:31 PM  
Experimental music important because it raises questions about music and art. What is music, what is art? Saying that everything is art, that any sounds are music is simplistic; there is clearly more going on than that. A urinal as sculpture makes you think about what is/isn't art, but the decision to enter it in a show was the real artistic moment and it shouldn't lead to everyone having urinals on display in our homes. Unless that's your thing.

4'33" is music in the sense that Cage made a deliberate decision about it. The particular idea is played out, and I would go so far to say that you're not making much of a statement by "playing" it. The piece should be something to free you to explore your own thing, to make your own decision about where the line is between art and not-art.
 
2021-10-19 3:20:24 PM  
I've performed it once, just to try it out. It's kind of weird, of course, to be in that suspended state of performance but not be doing anything. In my mind you have to have an instrument at the ready to really qualify as performing it, but I suppose a Capella is valid enough. But, imho, it's different than just sitting quietly for four and a half minutes.
 
2021-10-19 3:35:03 PM  
Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.
 
2021-10-19 3:38:44 PM  
It's art, but not music?

/just my 2c
 
2021-10-19 3:42:17 PM  

bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.


A recording is the capturing of a performance, not the music itself, so your analogy falls part.  4'33" is four and a half minutes of playing rests, which are a valid note.  It would be no different than playing four and a half minutes of quarter notes in F sharp.  If the latter would fall within the general sphere of music, the former does also.
 
2021-10-19 3:43:17 PM  

bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.


An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.
 
2021-10-19 3:44:58 PM  
th.bing.comView Full Size
 
2021-10-19 3:52:41 PM  
I think it's brilliant and that it checks the technically music box for me and that's close enough. In the context of time it really is a thoughtful piece.
Imagine putting on your tux, shining up your brass, gathering on stage
and performing silence with all of your skills...
with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Priceless.
 
2021-10-19 3:57:58 PM  
A while back, my grandma saw part of 4'33" on YouTube.  She was not impressed and did not like it.
 
2021-10-19 4:01:41 PM  

12349876: bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.

An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.


Wait... it doesn't? As in, it's just *absent* of sound? Not a recording of quietness?

Then it's not music. It is performance art.
 
2021-10-19 4:02:03 PM  

Chuck87: A while back, my grandma saw part of 4'33" on YouTube.  She was not impressed and did not like it.


Valid take.  Liking music is personal.  Though are you sure she didn't just forget to turn the speakers on?
 
2021-10-19 4:02:33 PM  
I should say, on a recorded medium.

In person, well... it's still not music any more than no pie is a pie.
 
2021-10-19 4:02:45 PM  

Garza and the Supermutants: It's art, but not music?

/just my 2c


Yeah, I kind of agree with you, maybe, it's "performance art"?
 
2021-10-19 4:02:51 PM  

puffy999: 12349876: bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.

An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.

Wait... it doesn't? As in, it's just *absent* of sound? Not a recording of quietness?

Then it's not music. It is performance art.


All music is, by definition, performance art.
 
2021-10-19 4:03:39 PM  

phalamir: puffy999: 12349876: bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.

An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.

Wait... it doesn't? As in, it's just *absent* of sound? Not a recording of quietness?

Then it's not music. It is performance art.

All music is, by definition, performance art.


But not all performance art is music. That's where this lays.

Not all *sounds* are music, either.
 
2021-10-19 4:05:12 PM  

puffy999: I should say, on a recorded medium.

In person, well... it's still not music any more than no pie is a pie.


It isn't no pie.  It is pie made with all the usual air, but none of the liquids or solids.  Conceptually, compeltely different.  A null set is different from the empty set.
 
2021-10-19 4:05:50 PM  
Like Zappa's _Welcome to the United States_, it's as much a satire of 'New Music' as it is a piece thereof.
 
2021-10-19 4:07:31 PM  

12349876: bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.

An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.


Yes.

4'33" is not four and a half minutes of silence. The only scored notes are rests, but the environment is part of the performance, including the natural ambient sounds.

If blank paper on its own isn't art, a wall in a gallery left blank might be.

Then again, I own this record, so what do I know?
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-10-19 4:12:52 PM  
Needs more audience farts.
 
2021-10-19 4:13:45 PM  

bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.


That's a clever turn of phrase for someone with such an artistically ignorant viewpoint.

In music school the 80's I wrote a piece around 3 minutes long composed of nothing but rests used in place of notes. The performer is the only one who can perceive the cadence and rhythm signatures. The audience's experience is watching the performer respond as they read the score, instrument at the ready. The most rewarding instrument to watch is the violin, since the musician must be so poised for motion at eye level. The fact that I was anticipated by 70 years by Schulhoff didn't hurt my feelings a bit.
 
2021-10-19 4:15:26 PM  

puffy999: Not all *sounds* are music, either.


Is a pause a sound?  If you are saying "no", realize that virtually every act of measured utterance is invalid in your paradigm.  Because, under your paradigm,

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die-to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream-ay, there's the rub:

AND

TobeornottobethatisthequestionWhethert​isnoblerinthemindtosufferTheslingsanda​rrowsofoutrageousfortuneOrtotakearmsag​ainstaseaoftroublesAndbyopposingendthe​mTodietosleepNomoreandbyasleeptosaywee​ndTheheartacheandthethousandnaturalsho​cksThatfleshisheirtotisaconsummationDe​voutlytobewishdTdietosleepTosleepperch​ancetodreamaytherestherub

are exactly the same thing in every particular.  And, boyo, if you are claiming THAT, you be buggin'.  4'33' is an accumulation of all the pauses that makes the first one beauty and grace.  It is distilled rhythm and harmony, minus all the distracting dross that usually gets in the way.
 
2021-10-19 4:16:08 PM  
phalamir:  All music is, by definition, performance art.

The stuff that gets played on the radio lately is not art. Might not even be music.
 
2021-10-19 4:17:07 PM  

12349876: bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.

An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.


4' 33'' autotuned
Youtube -hebSoZSLxQ
 
2021-10-19 4:18:07 PM  
Cage 4 33 Jazz
Youtube ZrjKYX3Cs7c
 
2021-10-19 4:18:54 PM  

Stands With A Tiny Fist: phalamir:  All music is, by definition, performance art.

The stuff that gets played on the radio lately is not art. Might not even be music.


That's no way to talk about music from the 60s.  Bad, Fist, no cookie.

/And I know of several radio stations that won't play anything released past December 31, 1969, so "lately" still applies.
 
2021-10-19 4:29:31 PM  
We, as the audience, got lectured by the conductor for being too quiet during a performance of 4'33".

I'm not shy, so I said, "The fact that we treasured and enjoyed four and a half minutes of silence speaks volumes".

I got a smile and a, "Okay, good point" out of that.

My mission to no longer get invited to these things was thus a miserable failure.
 
2021-10-19 4:34:18 PM  

puffy999: 12349876: bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.

An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.

Wait... it doesn't? As in, it's just *absent* of sound? Not a recording of quietness?

Then it's not music. It is performance art.


From what I remember, the idea for 433 came from Cage attending a concert and noticing the the ambient noises of the hall. People shifting in their seats, coughing, sneezing, the sound of the AC system, etc. His thought was that all of these things, this background noise, became effectively part of the performance in a way. So he removed the "music" from the equation.

It's not 4'33" of silence. It's 4'33" of the ambient noise of a concert venue.
 
2021-10-19 4:36:13 PM  
Yes, it's music. I like to think of it as being in the same category as the silence at the beginning and end of a piece, or the fermata in a piece like the overture to Tristan und Isolde. They introduce tension into the performance.
Some audiences (notably the Met) have a nasty habit of applauding as soon as the last note has been played, sometimes sooner, rather than waiting for the baton to drop. It ruins the ending.
And yes, the ambient sounds of the venue also come into play.
 
2021-10-19 4:38:23 PM  
It is music.

It consists entirely of rests which is a musical notation that denotes the absence of sound.

When a professional orchestra performs the piece, you can see them counting the rests.

Here is the score

i.imgur.comView Full Size


(or as much of the score as I could screenshot)

Note it has a key signature (C#), a time signature and a tempo.

It is music.

End of discussion.
 
2021-10-19 4:39:56 PM  
I don't know that I'd call it music per se.  The point of the "song," such as it is, is to experience whatever ambient sounds exist within the silence.  In effect, everything but the instruments becomes the "music," thus subverting the concept of music itself.  It is only music to the extent that its absence makes it conspicuous.

Or, put another way, it is music in the same way that an empty plate is a steak dinner.
 
2021-10-19 4:45:18 PM  

Snapper Carr: It is music.

It consists entirely of rests which is a musical notation that denotes the absence of sound.

When a professional orchestra performs the piece, you can see them counting the rests.

Here is the score

[i.imgur.com image 850x375]

(or as much of the score as I could screenshot)

Note it has a key signature (C#), a time signature and a tempo.

It is music.

End of discussion.


Apparently there are a couple versions of the score.

The one that I'm aware of has it divided into three movements and just has the word "tacet" for each. Like so:

qph.fs.quoracdn.netView Full Size
 
2021-10-19 4:57:54 PM  

Stands With A Tiny Fist: phalamir:  All music is, by definition, performance art.

The stuff that gets played on the radio lately is not art. Might not even be music.


Nobody involved in it thinks so - it's product and nothing else.
 
2021-10-19 5:03:06 PM  
I get it, but did he have to look like he was shiatting the silence out slowly through his fingertips?
 
2021-10-19 5:04:32 PM  

Markoff_Cheney: I get it, but did he have to look like he was shiatting the silence out slowly through his fingertips?


I guess I should read the thread a bit.
 
2021-10-19 5:06:09 PM  
It's the epitome of "It's not the notes he plays, it's the notes he doesn't play."
 
2021-10-19 5:08:07 PM  

Stands With A Tiny Fist: phalamir:  All music is, by definition, performance art.

The stuff that gets played on the radio lately is not art. Might not even be music.


It's commerce.  Filler between advertisements.
 
2021-10-19 5:17:39 PM  

Billy Liar: Stands With A Tiny Fist: phalamir:  All music is, by definition, performance art.

The stuff that gets played on the radio lately is not art. Might not even be music.

It's commerce.  Filler between advertisements.


When did you notice that?
 
2021-10-19 5:21:04 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size

What John Cage music might look like
 
2021-10-19 5:42:20 PM  

Psychopusher: I don't know that I'd call it music per se.  The point of the "song," such as it is, is to experience whatever ambient sounds exist within the silence.  In effect, everything but the instruments becomes the "music," thus subverting the concept of music itself.  It is only music to the extent that its absence makes it conspicuous.

Or, put another way, it is music in the same way that an empty plate is a steak dinner.


It's an interesting argument for philiophical reasons, but is extreme enough to be absurd.

I could be a meta and put 4 eggs,
jar of peanut butter and some sugar on a table and ask if these are cookies. Mix them all together and you can make cookies. All the ingredients are there, when does it become cookie?

Playing all rests is having a bowl of nothing in a kitchen and asking if they are cookies. You do need air for baking. The heat has to transfer to the matter. In the same way a rest is a needed space in a musical piece.

One thing does not equate to anything where more than 1 thing is needed to even begin to ask if something composed of multiple things is a thing.
 
2021-10-19 5:54:51 PM  
One of my favorite obscure pieces of music.  With actual sound.
John Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine - BBC Proms 2014
Youtube 5LoUm_r7It8
 
2021-10-19 6:13:45 PM  
I like it more as I get older. Beats what the kids today call music!
 
2021-10-19 6:16:22 PM  
IMO what makes art is the frame. The frame here is declaring that period of time to be a piece. Anyone can be a composer. Specify a period of time and put sounds in there. Or, let the environment do that like Cage did.

I'm curious what people think of these pieces in relation to this topic?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dis​i​ntegration_Loops?wprov=sfti1

It's more concept than content really.
 
2021-10-19 6:23:56 PM  

Garza and the Supermutants: It's art, but not music?

/just my 2c


Because you don't have a grasp on music. Your perspective is that of a listener. Music is the sound that comes from a box.
You don't think of this:
s3.amazonaws.comView Full Size
 
2021-10-19 6:24:22 PM  
2 things about music that are universally and completely true.

1) Good composers borrow. Great composers steal.
2) The silence between notes is at least as important as the note itself.

I've got another dozen or so but these are the only 2 that matter right now.
 
2021-10-19 6:25:16 PM  

puffy999: phalamir: puffy999: 12349876: bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.

An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.

Wait... it doesn't? As in, it's just *absent* of sound? Not a recording of quietness?

Then it's not music. It is performance art.

All music is, by definition, performance art.

But not all performance art is music. That's where this lays.

Not all *sounds* are music, either.


No it doesn't
 
2021-10-19 6:26:42 PM  

mcmnky: 12349876: bloobeary: Calling a recording with nothing on it a piece of music is like calling a blank piece of paper a great drawing.

The only artist here is a con artist.

An accurate recording of 4:33 would have a microphone that picks up some ambient room noise.

Yes.

4'33" is not four and a half minutes of silence. The only scored notes are rests, but the environment is part of the performance, including the natural ambient sounds.

If blank paper on its own isn't art, a wall in a gallery left blank might be.

Then again, I own this record, so what do I know?
[Fark user image image 425x413]


That
People have been trained to have a very narrow, conservative view of music.
 
2021-10-19 6:29:50 PM  

Shostie: Snapper Carr: It is music.

It consists entirely of rests which is a musical notation that denotes the absence of sound.

When a professional orchestra performs the piece, you can see them counting the rests.

Here is the score

[i.imgur.com image 850x375]

(or as much of the score as I could screenshot)

Note it has a key signature (C#), a time signature and a tempo.

It is music.

End of discussion.

Apparently there are a couple versions of the score.

The one that I'm aware of has it divided into three movements and just has the word "tacet" for each. Like so:

[qph.fs.quoracdn.net image 473x504]


And the pianist read the score and kept time just as they would any other work.
 
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