Silence by John Cage and Kyle Gann - Read Online
Silence
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Silence, John Cage’s first book and epic masterpiece, was published in October 1961. In these lectures, scores, and writings, Cage tries, as he says, to find a way of writing that comes from ideas, is not about them, but that produces them. Often these writings include mesostics and essays created by subjecting the work of other writers to chance procedures using the I Ching. Fifty years later comes a beautiful new edition with a foreword by eminent music critic Kyle Gann. A landmark book in American arts and culture, Silence has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold over half a million copies worldwide. Wesleyan University Press is proud to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the book’s publication with this special edition.
Published: Wesleyan on
ISBN: 9780819571779
List price: $19.99
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Silence - John Cage

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SILENCE

THE FUTURE OF MUSIC: CREDO

The following text was delivered as a talk at a meeting of a Seattle arts society organized by Bonnie Bird in 1937. It was printed in the brochure accompanying George Avakian’s recording of my twenty-five-year retrospective concert at Town Hall, New York, in 1958.

I BELIEVE THAT THE USE OF NOISE

Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating. The sound of a truck at fifty miles per hour. Static between the stations. Rain. We want to capture and control these sounds, to use them not as sound effects but as musical instruments. Every film studio has a library of sound effects recorded on film. With a film phonograph it is now possible to control the amplitude and frequency of any one of these sounds and to give to it rhythms within or beyond the reach of the imagination. Given four film phonographs, we can compose and perform a quartet for explosive motor, wind, heartbeat, and landslide.

TO MAKE MUSIC

If this word music is sacred and reserved for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century instruments, we can substitute a more meaningful term: organization of