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Silencing the Sounded Self: John Cage and the Intentionality of Nonintention Christopher Shultis The Musical Quarterly

, Vol. 79, No. 2. (Summer, 1995), pp. 312-350.
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Silencing the Sounded Self: John Cage
and the Intentionality of Nonintention
Christopher Shultis
"What we require is silence; but what silence requires is that I go on talking."

-John Cage, "Lecture on Nothing"

This essay will address John Cage's inclusive desire to allow room for silence in both his musical compositions and his written texts. Cage himself noted that "silence" had been a lifelong concern: I've lately been thinking again about Silence, which is the title of my first book of my own writings. When I was twelve years old I wrote that oration that won a high school oratorical contest in Southern California. It was called "Other People Think," and it was about our relation to the Latin American countries. What I proposed was silence on the part of the United States, in order that we could hear what other people think, and that they don't think the way we do, particularly about us. But could you say then that, as a twelve year old, that I was prepared to devote my life to silence, and to chance operations?It's hard to say. Proving a lifelong devotion to chance operations, Cage's method of achieving silence, would be difficult to accomplish. However, Cage's entire body of work has, from the very beginning, been devoted to the inclusion of silence in an otherwise sound-filled world. One of the first ways in which Cage allowed silence into music was by emphasizing duration instead of harmony. In the 1930s Cage studied with Arnold Schoenberg, who immigrated to Los Angeles just prior to World War 11. Regarding his studies, Cage wrote: "After I had been studying with him for two years, Schoenberg said: 'In order to write music, you must have a feeling for harmony.' I explained to him that I had no feeling for harmony. He then said that I would always encounter an obstacle, that it would be as though I came to a wall through which I could not pass. I said: 'In that case I will devote my life to beating my head against that wall.' "2 Cage found two allies in his battle with harmony: the French composer Erik Satie and Anton Webem, a former student of Schoen-

Siknring the Sounded Self 3 13

berg. In a lecture given at Black Mountain College in 1948, Cage wrote: In the field of structure, the field of the definition of parts and their relation to a whole, there has been only one new idea since Beethoven. And that new idea can be perceived in the work of Anton Webern and Erik Satie. With Beethoven, the parts of a composition were defined by means of harmony. With Satie and Webern they are defined by means of time lengths. The question of structure is so basic, and it is so important to be in agreement about it, that one must now ask: Was Beethoven right or are Webern and Satie right? I answer immediately and unequivocally, Beethoven was in error, and his influence, which has been as extensive as it is lamentable, has been deadening to the art of music.3 For Cage, duration became a means of getting around the difficulty of "having n o feeling for harmony." A n d by citing Webern, Cage was able to use Schoenberg's most famous pupil as a n example of how harmony was a n erroneous method of structuring music. It was silence that pointed Cage away from a harmony and toward duration. According to Cage, harmony as a structuring method does not include silence: If you consider that sound is characterized by its pitch, its loudness, its timbre, and its duration, and that silence, which is the opposite and, therefore, the necessary partner of sound, is characterized only by its duration, you will be drawn to the conclusion that of the four characteristics of the material of music, duration, that is, time length, is the most fundamental. Silence cannot be heard in terms of pitch or harmony: It is heard in terms of time length.4

At this point, one could very well question Cage's logic. Does it follow that since duration, by nature, includes silence, while harmony, in and of itself, does not, duration is the only possible approach to structuring music? Obviously not. However, it does shed light o n Cage's motivation behind believing that such was the case. Harmony requires the imposition of unity upon musical material. It is a humanly contrived method of writing music which cannot be directly found in nature. C-major chords may be naturally derived, but their structural relationships, as found in so-called tonal music, obey a carefully and humanly constructed system of rules. Cage, o n the other hand, was looking for justification outside of any musical tradition. H e was attempting to uncover a structural connection between the making of music and the natural world. It had little to do with how music

3 14 The Musical Quarterly

is conceived; it was instead an attempt to uncover how music is perceived. In other words, Cage was paying more attention to how we actually hear music than he was to how we think about music. When we consider how music is heard, unrelated to how it is made (if that is possible), then, indeed, duration is more fundamental than harmony. We hear sound and silence, and we can do so directly with neither thought nor preconception. To hear harmony, as a preconceived structure of relationships between tones, requires a process that includes a knowledge of certain musical procedures and traditions that have as much to do with thinking as they do with hearing. In 1948, when he wrote his "Defense of Satie," Cage still saw composition as a unifier of experience, "an activity integrating the And, in another text, opposites, the rational and the irrati~nal."~ Cage extends such abstractions into concrete musical terms: "The material of music is sound and silence. Integrating these is composing."6 However, by looking toward natural rather than human designs, he was already on a path away from such ordered procedures: "there is a tendency in my composition means away from ideas of In order toward no ideas of ~ r d e r . " ~ 1958 Cage delivered a lecture at Darmstadt entitled "Composition as Process," from which the previous two citations are drawn. The first part of this lecture discusses changes in his approach to composition. These changes describe a process away from "ideas of order," not away from order itself. The question continually raised in Cage's work is the question of whose order will determine the course of the art experience. And the issue of duration is a first step away from human derivation and human control. From the 1930s onward, Cage used what is known as square root form, one of his first attempts at structuring music by duration rather than by pitch. Macrostructure and microstructure coincide, so that if there are four measures per unit there will be four units; and if the internal phrasing of the bars is 1-2-1, the external division of parts (within the large structure of four units) will also be 1-2-1. For example, in his First Construction in Metal, there are sixteen measures in each structural unit. To make the square root, there are, consequently, sixteen units. The large structure is divided symmetrically as follows: four, three, two, three, four, thus totaling sixteen, and each individual unit is similarly divided. This method, used in most of Cage's music during the 1930s and 1940s, eventually produces a formal structure independent of its content. Content, in this period, was still primarily a matter of taste, as can be seen, for example, in Cage's selection of piano preparations for his Sonatas and Interludes: "The materials, the piano preparations, were chosen as one chooses shells

text second. or what Cage at that time regarded as the integration of mind and heart. of something and nothing: "I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry as I need it. l1 As a formal invention. written soon after he wrote Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48). 6. 7. " ~ The "Lecture on Nothing" uses square root form and is described as such by Cage. an integrating of rational and irrational would see structure (form) as rational and content as irrational. in keeping with my thesis that music and text interact one with another. First and foremost is the distinction between "having nothing to say and saying it"12 and the "integration of opposites."13 This remark. so that it could be as well expressed by the absence of these materials as by their presence." O n the other hand. This lecture is the first published instance in which Cage took structural ideas from music and used them in the creation of texts. in the proportion 7. in a way characteristic of many of his later texts. The form was as natural as my taste permitted. while Cage's innovations regarding compositional form move from music to text." Its . it was conceived. I essentially make use of the same composing means as in my m u ~ i c ." What still applies as a formal idea no longer holds as content. Thus. in fact. Cage wrote: "[Nlothing about the structure was determined by the materials which were to occur in it. certain innovative ideas move from text to music. through an introduction to the published lecture: "There are four measures in each line and twelve lines in each unit of the rhythmic structure."1° We are thus informed of exactly how Cage made the structure. regarding the form of the sonatas.Silencing the Sounded Self 3 15 while walking along a beach. The forty-eight measures of each unit are likewise so divided. demands a very specific intention. also cited above. still present in the relation between form and content. is from the beginning of Cage's "Lecture on Nothing. Cage's writing is nonintentional. In this case. Cage's use of square root form does suggest the direction of music first. 14. The most important of those ideas is the coexistent nature of sound and silence. Cage's "Lecture on Nothing" contains certain important ideas not previously discernible in his musical work. There are forty-eight such units. And it is this approach that characterizes a continuing relationship between Cage's music and his texts through the mid-1970s (at which point this study ends): "In writing my 'literary' texts. whereas integration. "8 Interchangeability of content in a fixed structure is equally apparent in his "Lecture on Nothing" (1950). each having forty-eight measures. 14. However. The whole is divided into five large parts.

from that point on.' " According to Cage. miserable failures. is unitive knowledge of the divine Ground-the knowledge that can come only to those who are prepared to "die to self" and so make room as it were. It was through Gita Sarabhai.316 The Musical Quarterly origin in Cage's aesthetic is twofold. Second. ineffable in terms of discursive thought. "having nothing to say" was the reason that allowed Cage to continue composing. that he would no longer compose music until he found a reason other than communication for writing it. it is a process of diminishing the role of the self in the creative act. if I were communicating. tried to emphasize the removal of separations between West and East."14 After a critic wrote that the last movement sounded like "a woodpecker in a church belfry. for God. this led music away from self-expression and toward selfalteration through the influence of our natural environment: "We learned from Oriental thought that those divine influences are. Consequently. more often than not. The last end of man. In Cage's work. This Absolute is the God-without-form of Hindu and Christian mystical phraseology. Or else." Cage responded: "I had poured a great deal of emotion into the piece. l 7 This book describes a shared religious mysticism found in both East and West: The divine Ground of all existence is a spiritual Absolute." The Perilous Night concerns "a perilous bed which rested on a floor of polished jasper. in fact. an Indian musician who was studying Western music with Cage. then all artists must be speaking a different language. Based on "an Irish folktale he remembered from a volume of myths collected by Joseph Campbell."15 Cage decided. it was of great . Cage's attempts at art as communication were. that he learned "the traditional reason for making a piece of music in India: 'to quiet the mind thus making it susceptible to divine influences. First. The music tells the story of the dangers of the erotic life. according to him. but (in certain circumstances) susceptible of being directly experienced and realized by the human being. the environment in which we are. A prepared piano piece entitled The Perilous Night (1943-44) is a famous example. I thought. A sober and quiet mind is one in which the ego does not obstruct the fluency of the things which come in through our senses and up through our dreams."16 "Having nothing to say" allows that environment the opportunity to speak. and obviously I wasn't communicating this at all. He was especially influenced in this regard by reading Aldous Huxley's anthology The Perennial Philosophy. partially as a result of his studies of Eastern religion and philosophy beginning in the 1940s. l8 Cage. the ultimate reason for human existence. and thus speaking only for themselves.

the written content is nondual in nature: "I have nothing to say and 1 am saying it. after learning the Indian reason for making music. one high and one low. O n one page we are told that everything is indivisibly one Mind. ~ Nonintention had become. it was universal in the original sense of the Found in all cultures. Until I die there will be sounds. he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation. . writes: "At first sight Zen works must seem so paradoxical as to bewilder the reader. Lou Harrison discovered while "reading in an old English text. Thus. although Cage's "Lecture on Nothing" is compositionally dual. About how something and nothing are not . When I described them to the engineer in charge. He used the example of his visit to an anechoic chamber which was supposed to produce a silent environment: "I entered one at Harvard University several years ago and heard two sounds. nondualistic realization of what silence really was. there "was no silence. for Cage.Silencing the Sounded Self 3 17 significance when. his "Lecture on Nothing" is the first ins~ancein which silence is produced through such paradox: within the self via what Cage considered his most important legacy.' "I9 This approach to composition was no longer cultural. And they will continue following my death. such quietude was a reaching out into the world around us. . It implies what Cage makes specific in his "Lecture on Something" (1950): "This is a talk about something and naturally also a talk about nothing. the translator. on another that the moon is very much a moon and a tree indubitably a tree. In his introduction to The Zen Teaching of Huang Po."21 And while silence as a phenomenon outside the self had entered into several of Cage's musical compositions. One need not fear about the future of music. in that form and content still combine rational and irrational." Having nothing to say and saying it goes an important step further than just having nothing to say. in the dualistic sense of sound versus silence."23 His visit had proved to him that." "What silence requires is that I go on talking. a removal of the separation between self and world-a nondual view of reality. I think as old as the sixteenth century . John Blofeld." Such statements are obviously paradoxical and thus obviously influenced by Cage's study of Zen. "having shown the practicality of making works of art n ~ n i n t e n t i o n a l l"22. Cage's first recorded instance of unintended sound was textual: "I have nothing to say and am saying it. he found this reason given for writing a piece of music: 'to quiet the mind thus making it susceptible to divine influences. the low one my blood in circulation." There were only intended and unintended sounds. both in the 1930s and 1940s. a new.

Cage saw it as a way of getting outside the mind altogether. If we leave things to nature. so much so that under natural circumstances a course of events absolutely conforming to specific laws is almost an exception.26 In his foreword to the Richard Wilhelm translation. it did serve as a very effective method of composing. the making of music.27 And while Jung used the I Ching as a means of discovering the unconscious mind within. Cage used the 1 Ching (Book of Changes) as a source of response to his compositional questions. namely. when 4'33" received its premiere. As Cage frequently mentioned. G. the use of chance operations. he does manage to address the idea of nonintentional content in a text before he is able to do so in music. We have not sufficiently taken into account as yet that we need the laboratory with its incisive restrictions in order to demonstrate the invariable validity of natural law. It is through chance operations that Cage begins making unintentional music. a way of allowing nature. namely. And that I would do it with a means that was as strict as sitting cross-legged. we see a very different picture: every process is partially or totally interfered with by chance. seems to be exclusively preoccupied with the chance aspect of things.25 While those conversant with Zen might not view Cage's practice as Buddhism. namely. It was first publicly mentioned in an address entitled "A Composer's . it was an extremely unorthodox way of Zen practice: Blather than taking the path that is prescribed in the formal practice of Zen Buddhism itself. For Cage. The Chinese mind. and the shifting of my responsibility from the making of choices to that of asking questions. Jung writes: The axioms of causality are being shaken to their foundations: we know now that what we term natural laws are merely statistical truths and thus must necessarily allow for exceptions. to respond to his compositional questions. or what Zen would call Mind with a capital M. as I see it at work in the 1 Ching. the idea of a "silent piece" was conceived earlier than 1952. C. the environment. sitting cross-legged and breathing and such things. Beginning around 1950.3 18 The Mwical Quarterly opposed to each other but need each other to keep on goingn2" And while formally Cage does not make nonintentional texts until long after having accomplished this in musical compositions. I decided that my proper discipline was the one to which I was already committed.

set forth by Ananda K. It is a process. It will be 3 or 3f minutes long. or the composer. As such. for . 4'33" allows the unintentional into music. Cage was still making a fixed object. the length of that frame was chosen nonintentionally through chance operations. as in the case of 4/33". the doctrine about Art. " ~ ~ used the I Ching as a way of "imitating nature in her manner of operation. that means that it is not there. The world. . it becomes! It moves." It was Cage's use of chance operations that made possible a formal design to place the silence in. And when one listens to the silence of 4'33". occidental and oriental." and by constructing his 4'33" through chance operations. these being the standard lengths of "canned" music and its title will be Siknt Prayer. He realized that even though 4'33" was made solely of nonintended sounds. 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. However. The ending 28 will approach imper~eptibilit~. following nature in her manner of operation proved to be problematic for Cage. the world as it is. he did indeed find a method of making a process parallel to the seductiveness of "the color and shape and fragrance of a flower. But it is not. . Even if. This eventually ran counter to Cage's notion that things "become" in processes rather than as fixed objects: "You say: the real.Sikncing the Sounded Self 3 19 Confessions. he was still providing the frame. one hears nature. The performer simply sits and listens as the audience listens. that the function of art is to imitate Nature in Cage her manner of ~ p e r a t i o n . existing as an object. for instance. It is more mobile than you can imagine. the real is not an object. several new desires (two may seem absurd but I am serious about them): first. where "something and nothing" are unopposed. and I still do. Coomeraswamy in his book The Transformation of Nature in Art. You are getting closer to this reality when you say as it 'presents itself'. to compose a piece of uninterrupted silence and sell it to the Muzak Co. this piece exemplifies a movement toward the silence of "nothing" and the acceptance of nonintentional sounds. But what about intentional sounds? Are these accepted? A t what point in 4'33" does Cage allow the performer." given on 28 February 1948 before the National Intercollegiate Arts Conference at Vassar College: I have. This "single idea" became a process of making music that Cage learned from Ananda Coomeraswamy: "I have for many years accepted."30 4'33" also insufficiently addresses Cage's professed nondualism. it changes! It doesn't wait for us to change. .

"Variations I I I for one or any number of people performing any actions. the other blank. in this first piece I had had five lines on a single transparent sheet." There are no prescribed genres. If a circle does not overlap at least one other circle. written in the short period of two months. So I did that with Variations I1 but it still involved m e a ~ u r e r n e n t . "We could be performing it right now. Let these fall . and each performer making measurements that would locate sounds in space.320 The Mwical Quarterly that matter.). he once told me over dinner. of course. . is so open. from December 1962 to January 1963. is the measurement of time: Since Cage invariably takes the intellectual leaps his radical ideas imply. he subsequently concluded that not only were any and all sounds "music. At Wesleyan while talking to some students it suddenly occurred to me that there would be much more freedom if I put only a single line or a single notation on a single sheet. on a sheet of paper 8 x 11. Then. though I had had no intention of putting them the way I did. The instruction page then reads: Two transparent sheets of plastic. remove it.32 . rhetorical questions. and in 1958 he began his famous series of Variations: The first one was involved with the parameters of sound. if we decided to do so" . Cut the sheet having circles in such a way that there are forty-two sheets. of course. (Variations I11 [1964]. the transparencies overlaid. except for the fact that it is to be "performed. Something and nothing can be only unopposed if both intention and nonintention equally coexist. either in music or any other medium. I just drew them quickly. each having a complete circle." but the time-space frame of 4'33" was needlessly arbitrary. one of which. ~ ~ Next followed a piece without measurement entitled Variations 111. This sent Cage in the direction of indeterminacy. and as such their answers are obvious. to produce the "something" of intentional sounds? How can something and nothing be unopposed if only "nothing" is allowed? These are. for unintentional music is indeed with us-available to the ear that wishes to perceive it-in all spaces and at all times. The published score includes a title page with the statement." The actions themselves are also undetermined except for the possibility that there will be actions. while I was at Wesleyan University. Richard Kostelanetz implies that Variations 111 solves some inherent problems with the published version of 4'33". Remove also any smaller groups of circles that . one having forty-two undifferentiated circles.

+ Some or all of one's obligation may be performed through ambient circumstances (environmental changes) by simply noticing or responding to them. Starting with any circle. or questions of continuity) or the specific interpenetration of circles. This done. Once printed. such measurement and determination means are not necessarily excluded from the "interpenetrating variables.33 The following brief analysis will show that in this piece Cage produced a truly nondual composition that allows both something and nothing to equally coexist. is fixed. For example. before indeterminacy in performance. there are . Cage's use of transparencies is one of the best methods he ever devised to insure an indeterminate composition. even one where chance procedures determine it. the notation by nature is unchanged. Although my choices 'were controlled by chance operations. in Variations I11 one drops circles on a page. But leave room for the use of unforeseen eventualities. and Cage fully realized that. n o one of them isolated from at least one other. Make an action or actions having the corresponding number of interpenetrating variables (1 n). The usual score. which results in a collection of interpenetrating circles. Even in his Music for Piano series for example. so that a single maze of circles remains. ending. the score need not be initially fixed. where the notations are merely his observations of imperfections in the score paper." Some factors though not all of a given interpenetration or succession of several may be planned in advance. move on to any one of the overlapping circles again observing the number of interpenetrations. performing a suitable action or actions. and so on. observe the number of circles which overlap it. Place the blank transparent sheet over this complex. you see. Though no means are given for the measurement of time or space (beginning. "[A111 the cutting. This was characteristic of an old period. all the splicing of the Williams Mix is carefully controlled by chance operations. however. I was still making an Through transparencies.Silencing the Sounded Self 32 1 are separated from the largest group. However. Any other activities are going o n at the same time. or in the elaborately constructed series of chance operations used to make Williams Mix. for all I was doing then by chance operations was renouncing my intention. This produces an object.

O n the other hand. Or as Cage noted: Just as I came to see that there was no such thing as silence. Such actions can be either planned or unplanned. if one chooses to remain in it. if they intersect. enter into the experience of an ambient circumstance. Even though the score is eventually fixed. Furthermore. that these actions can be of any kind and all I ask the performer to do is to be aware as much as he can of how many actions he is performing." a performance of Variations 111. And Cage himself understood the difficulties: "But what. although Cage does insist that room be left to do both. if there is more than one performer. such as noticing that there is a noise in the environment. in other words. to count. and continue reacting to those circumstances indefinitely. I ask him even to count passive actions. While fixity still exists in Cage's transparency scores. one simply observes how many interpenetrations there are between it and any other connecting circle and then performs an action for each observed interpenetration. there can also be more than one determined score. Observation of "ambient circumstances" can either produce an action or can actually be the action. the variables are so multiple (hence the title "variations") it would be next to impossible to determine what exactly will be fixed and what will remain open.35 . The composer certainly does not determine that. One could follow the score for a time. I ask him. And so I made Variations 111 which leaves no space between one thing and the next and posits that we are constantly active. and with many overlapping actions. need never end. one need not count past an environmental experience. and how many must be removed if they do not. . By looking at one circle. If the score itself seems variably determined.322 The Musical Quarterly multiple possibilities regarding how many circles remain. That's all I ask him to do. once begun. nor does the performer. But I thought that performance was simply getting up and then doing it. In other words the sand in which the stones in a Japanese garden lie is also something . and so wrote the silent piece. The thing I don't like about Variations 111 is that it requires counting and I'm now trying to get rid of that. the performer's interaction with the score is even more variable. it can be fixed differently for each performance. how and why are we counting? Since there are no gaps between one action and another (and many of them . Because there is no indicated time measurement and because "other activities are going on at the same time. We move through our activity without any space between one action and the next. I was now coming to the realization that there was no such thing as nonactivity.

' " He went on to write: "As I see it. in some cases at least. . Richard Kostelanetz wrote in 1968: "What is conspicuously lacking in A Year from Monday [Cage's second book] is an analogous path-breaking gesture that could command as much suggestive influence for literature as his earlier 'musical' demonstration^. as has been suggested here. 'if I put a frame around these bread crumbs.He was saying it wasn't because he connects art with his activity-he connects with himself as an artist whereas I would want art to slip out of us into the world in which we live. Cage implies from the very first that. they coexist in a fabric of art and life completely interwoven one with another. need not matter. while paradoxically staying within its notated structure. The gestation period was long. where rational and irrational coexist without reconciliation. it is equally true that those two compositions point toward Cage's future developments in literature. Thus intention and nonintention equally coexist. but out of a need for poetry. nondual experience is complete: the final impediment. " ~ is. the frame.Silencing the Sounded Self 323 overlap) do we know when something is finished and the next begins? It ~ The situation is i r r a t i ~ n a l . Many composers have also been writers."37 In 4'33" Cage placed a frame around the "bread crumbs. "When M. adding that that would be the most shocking thing I could do. In Variations III. As Cage wrote in his introduction to Silence. I said. that allows the performer to enter into or go out of the piece at will. his writings go beyond musical explanation. If. However."^^ This. the openness of Variations III. poetry is not prose simply because .' And what I'm saying is that it is. Thus it is not a common expectation that a composer's writings must somehow qualify as literature. in fact. the lectures on both "nothing" and "something" inform the musical directions Cage pursues in 4'33" and Variations III. a multiplicity of intentions collectively produce an unintentional and indeterminate piece. and there is usually no consequent claim asserted that somehow the writing must be up to the same level as the music. while. C. due to the several layers of experiences going on at the same time. Cage once spoke of a conversation with the visual artist Willem de Kooning: "I was with de Kooning once in a restaurant and he said. Frequentlyand this is as true of Cage as of many others-the writings are an explanation of what is happening in the music. In Variations III something and nothing really do need each other. Richards asked me why I didn't one day give a conventional informative lecture. that isn't art." thus beginning the process of dismantling dualistic separations such as the one mentioned between art and life. 'I don't give these lectures to surprise people. in and of itself. is removed.

I formulated in my mind while driving a statement having a given number of words. where Cage frequently provided information about how his pieces were written: This text was written on the highways while driving from an audience in Rochester. beginning in 1965 and ending with his eighth diary in 1982. It is not poetry by reason of its content or ambiguity but by reason of its allowing musical elements (time. New York. I drew up somewhere along the road. I also received permission from Cage to use photocopies of pages from the stenographic notepad Cage used to compose this piece. then. and then drove on. only one of which (the diaries) concerns this analy~is. On the other hand. The first place to check for clues is the introduction to the text. His Diary: Audience 1966. I received a request from the editor of Camdun Art for an article having fifteen hundred words. I was on the point of replying that I had no time."39 It is in this context. Wesleyan University Library. he did leave a trail. Since I was busy with a number of projects. These were obtained from the John Cage Literary Archive.324 The Musical Quarterly poetry is in one way or another formalized. sound) to be introduced into the world of words. Cage's textual work in the 1960s had more to do with his developing sensibilities as a poet than it did with trying to equal his achievements in music. the text was finished. and serve as the raw material for this analysis. in various sources. While Cage did not leave detailed information about how those materials were used. is short and uses the same formal structure as his other diaries. through which I will try to reconstruct the compositional process. that one might expect a literary critic (which is the hat Kostelanetz most frequently wears) familiar with Cage's musical inventions to express disappointment in the less revolutionary nature of Cage's texts. while not a part of this series.4~ The diary form was used by Cage for many years. When it had jelled and I could repeat it. two textual inventions are worthy of note: his mesostics and his diaries. to one in Philadelphia. When I arrived in Philadelphia. wrote it down. when I noticed that I would be at the workshop for fifteen days and that if I wrote one hundred words a day it wouldn't be . Following the writing plan I had used for Diary: Emma Lake.4' The full title of the source Cage mentions is Diary: Emma Lake Music Workshop 1965. This introduction reads: Just before setting out for Saskatchewan to conduct a music workshop at Emma Lake in July 1965.

The number of words per day was to equal. For each day. 4": What brings about this ~ n ~ r e d i c t a b i l i is the use of the method estabty lished in the I Ching (Book of Changes) for the obtaining of oracles. even if the decision was not to decide. words and stories. by the last statement written. broken with a circle. straight. chen. I determined by chance operations how many parts of the mosaic I would write and how many words there would be in each. kun. First. Cage described how he used the I Ching in "To Describe the Process of Composition Used in Music of Changes and Imaginary Landscape No. Three coins tossed once yields four lines: three heads. Second. straight. straight with a circle. to exceed one hundred words. two tails and a head. everything but the six is explainable according to the procedures previously described. It is also a diary. broken. And (not coincidentally. However. one thing that characterizes all of Cage's work is that every compositional decision had a reason behind it. with some (but not all) of the corresponding numbers written out below. two heads and a tail. "43 With the information provided by these introductions. 1 965. I believe) in 1965 the approximate driving time from Rochester to Philadelphia was six hours. sun. broken. That diary had fifteen parts. Instead of different type faces. the large structure may have been conceived by writing a hundred words per hour! The first page also has thirteen I Ching derived hexagrams. broken. three tails. broken. that of tossing three coins six times. As will be seen.42 The above-mentioned Diary introduction reads: "It is a mosaic of ideas. analysis can begin. Three coins tossed thrice yields eight trigrams (written from the base up): chien. straight. straight. one for each day of the workshop. in Cage's introduction to "Audience" he writes that it was composed while driving from Rochester to Philadelphia. Why six? Two clues offer a plausible answer. broken. These roman numerals correspond to the six large sections of the text. broken. I used parentheses and italics to distinguish one statement from another.Silencing the Sounded Self 325 too much for me and the magazine would get what it wanted. Cage claims to have followed the same procedure in writing "Audience" that he used for Emma Lake.44 Thus. ken. or. . broken. three broken. three straight. I set the text in a single block like a paragraph of prose. The first page of Cage's notebook (Figure 1) includes the working title "On Audience" and shows a series of numbers to the left of the roman numerals I-VI. kan. statements. Otherwise I used the mosaic-discipline of writing described in the note preceding Diary: How to Improve etc.

straight. straight. broken. straight. tui. broken. li. Three coins tossed six times yield sixty-four hexagrams (two trigrams. straight.326 The Musical Quarterly Figure 1 . straight. the second written above the first) read in reference to a chart of the numbers 1 to 64 in a traditional arrangement having eight divisions horizontally corresponding to the eight lower trigrams and . straight. broken.

following Cage's previous use of at least one hundred words per structural unit. part 1. The next hexagram is t h i ~ . straight) it changes that trigram to chien (straight. In like fashion. one discovers that such a relationship is literally produced "by chance. 47 Consequently. part V1) seems likely to have been planned. they are distinguished by putting the second statement in parentheses.45 In Diary: Audience 1966. The method of distinguishing between statements (see Figure 2) is the same as with the Diary: Emma Lake. First. the second statement is in parentheses.4~ to the roman numeral I. according to the . Cage constructed them in his mind while driving. "48 While such symmetry as well as the number of words in each written statement is chance derived. Thus. Second. little else is. and the fourth is underlined (italicized in the published text). Symmetrical alteration (four texts. broken. A hexagram having lines with circles is read twice. three texts. first as written. then as changed. thirty becomes twenty-one to form the first large part of the Diary. three texts. The method described above was probably chosen arbitrarily within what has been shown to be a chance-derived formal structure. he reverses the pattern of underlining and parentheses).Silencing the Sounded Self 327 eight divisions vertically corresponding to the eight upper trigrams. an analysis of the content placed within this structure shows the composer to be even more actively involved in making choices. the third statement is printed normally. the initial statement is printed normally. straight lines without circles is read only as 1. This procedure obviously demonstrates both consistency and fairness (in the four statements. Each of the six groups has either three or four statements. If there are three statements. three texts. these are not necessarily traits of chanceoperated results. straight lines with circles. then as kun-kun. it is a reading of the changing lines that enables thirteen hexagrams to produce twenty-one numbers. the first hexagram (see Figure 1) corresponds to number sixty-three on the chart and is then placed first next . part V. part 111. whereas chien-chien. part IV. the second is underlined (italicized in the published text). is read first as 1. the third is printed normally. four texts. granting that. However. since the first hexagram has a changing line in the li trigram (straight. and the fourth is in parentheses.t ~However. However. straight) to form the chien-kan hexagram of five. the initial statement is printed normally. the statements are distinguished in two possible ways. 2. chien-chien. however. four texts. part 11. Choosing the texts themselves is obvious enough. straight. If there are four.

I." A f t e r t h e f i r s t performance o f m p i e c e f o r y t w e l v e r a d i o s . e v e r y t h i n g Anyone who e x p e r i e n c e s ( A r t . t h e performing a r e a s l a r g e and s p a c i o u s . s p i n e l e s s v i r t u e s : f l e x i b i l i t y .i d e q ) as r a n an J o y c e r e v e a l i n g b r i d g e s ( t h i s i s Brown's i d e a ) where we t h o u g h t t h a r e w e r e n ' t any. 1 He s a i d . which i n c r e m e s t h e work f o r ua t o do. Answer r T h e r e ' r e many ways t o he1. "You c a n ' t do t h a t s o r t o f Geparstion. g e t s t o and through us.) Theatre? J u a t n o t i c e w h a t ' s around. a p l a y . AUDIENCE 1966 Are we an a u d i e n c e f o r computer a r t ? The a n e r e r ' a n o t No. o u r b i g g e s t problelc i s f i n d i n g s c r a p s o f t h e i n which t o ~ e t it done." S i t i n an audience? W have e n o t h i n g t o do. it1s Yes. "Leave t h e b e a t e n t r a . e q u i p p e d f o r t e l e v i s i o n b r o a d c a s t f o r t h o s e who p r e f e r s t a y i n g a Figure 2 . Each one of u s g e t s a l l o f i t . e e x t r a o r d i n a r y t h a n we a r e . thin^ and IV. Q i t a S v a b h a i t o l d me. It conforms t o no r u l e s . What r e need in a cornpatter t h a t i s n ' t labor-savFng but. a l l you n e a 1.p you. (You s e e ? We're unemployed. V i r g i l Thomson s a i d .328 The Mwical Quarterl) #Y. i s c r i m i n a l Hot even i t s own. that puns ( t h i s is McLuhan8a. turns Us (my i d e a ) n o t "ontg b u t i n t o artists. When our t i r e was z i v e n t o Eiow t h a t we're c h a n g i n g our m h d s . vie have o t h e r Dreems. something n e v e r s e e n before. the guilt. l i f e ' s a dance. i n t e n t on t h i n g s i n v i c i b l e . (If what you w a n t i s one o r two i n I n d i a i s an a u d i e n c e . Dbcovery. "soon again ' t w i l l be. illusion. i n a u d i b l e . r e needed a s t i f f upper l i p and backbone. It i s n o t a q u e s t i o n of s h a r i n e They a s k e d me a b o u t t h e a t r e s They s h o u l d be small f o r t h e t r f e in a u d i e n c e s . N o t i c e a u t i e n c e s a t h i g h a l t i t u d e s and a u d i e n c e s in n o r t h e r n c o u n t r i e s t e n d t o be a t t e n t i v e d u r i n g p e r f o r m a n c e s r h i l e audiences a t sea-level o r i n w a r m countries voice t h e i r f e e l i n g s whenever t h e y have them. 11 1. experience a r t ? Are we. d a i l y e v e n t s . L i l a * WyP. we do i t You'll s e e Audience p a r t i c i p a t i o n ? Awarenese. people. I n d i a n s have k n o m i t f o r a g e s . action.reS* t opened o u r e a r s . Be c r e a t i v e ? ) So what s h a l l we do? W i t e criticism? Now h e ' s no n o r e W used t o have t h e artist up on a p e d e s t a l . Orthodox s e a t i n n a r r a n ~ e m e n t Now m u s i c ' s i n s y n a m ~ u e e . f o r i n s t a n c e . What s h o u l d I do t o e n j o y i t ? I ' d give y you a l i f t . U s t e n i n g t o your music I f h d i t p r o r o k e s me. i f you were g o h g i n m d i r e c t i o n . I f n o t y e t . a work o f art i s as g u i l t y as t h e artist.) n o n e t h e l e s s . s o t o s p e a k . going s o u t h in t h e way r e ( B a r i n g n o t h i n g t o do. i f you want a d e f i n i t i o n o f i t . p h y s i c a l l a b o r . Twentieth-century art's opened o u r e. fluency. i n New Pork. ) I s a i d we c o u l d use them.k . b o t t h e last t h i n g I ' d do would be t o t e l l you how t o u s e your own a e s t h e t i c f a c u l t i e s ." e x p e c t p e o p l e t o pay f o r it.

formulated it and revised it in his head as he drove. According to his written introduction. Cage formulated certain statements. Anyone who visits either of Cage's archives is immediately impressed by the fact that he appears to have saved . There is. checked the length of the next statement and drove on. when one compares the stenographic notebook to both Cage's introduction and Revill's biographical elaboration of it. certain things do not add up. And Cage does indeed do these last four in order from large to small (see n. 46.50 It is unlikely that Cage really finished the Diary by the time he reached Philadelphia and even less likely that he wrote it in the way Revill describes. 17. This is extremely doubtful. some of which were directly related to the topic of the conference where the speech was to be delivered ("The Changing Audience for the Changing Arts"). pulled over and wrote it down.Sikncing the Sounded Self 329 number of words required. 43. and 5 (see Figure 3). If Cage were writing according to the number of words required in each statement. in fact. Cage probably began thinking of things either that he wanted to say or that independently came into his head. and so on-and at the very end there are four numbers left-24. there is a disparity between generated numbers and written texts. When looking at the initial numbers most of them are large-5 1. one would assume that the first text in the notebook would correspond to the first I Ching-derived hexagram number sixty-three. in all likelihood. the piece was This may seem somewhat redundant. he ascertained at the start of each leg of the journey how many words were needed for the next statement of the text. 10. The only other possibility is that Cage worked out of another notebook first and then rewrote everything into the notebook found in his archive. The following is a more likely scenario. he pulled over and wrote them down. the text itself as published in A Year from Monday. Thus. paying attention to whether these statements were long or short approximately according to the I Ching numbers he. the text was finished by the time he arrived in Philadelphia. 50. Instead we find that the first written text in the notebook is fifty-one. generated prior to the trip. After he had worked them into a form he could remember. since when one looks up the author's reference it is. 50). This story seemed so remarkable that David Revill actually comments specifically about it in his biography of Cage: "With characteristic self-discipline. 33. in fact. no correlation between the order of hexagrams drawn on the first notebook page and the order of texts found in the notebook. How do we know that they were approximations and that Cage did not have an exact number of words in his mind? First. By the time he reached Philadelphia. However.

330 The Musicul Quurterlv .

Looking again at Figure 1. 17. circling was therefore unnecessary. What matters is the editing itself. Second. that (as McLuhan says) this is McLuhan's idea (can) puns as well as Joyce (this is) this is Brown's idea revealing bridges where we thought there weren't (none). one notices as further confirmation that the numbers listed to the left of the roman numerals are circled. and saved it in an orderly fashion. If accepted. it's (inevitably) Yes. any. In all probability. do not directly affect this analysis. this reasoning also helps explain both the four numbers (24. ) we sit in an audience ~l computer art and enjoy (it) once it (was)/is made?) not (Don't think) (T)the answer's No. such issues. this notebook is what Cage used to initially write down these texts. This is particularly true with the materials found in the literary archive at Wesleyan. And although it is questionable whether or not Cage could both write and edit each of these texts while at the same time driving to Philadelphia. unlike the previous speculations. the notebooks show that Cage very carefully edited each of the statements until they did match exactly. turns us my idea not "on" but into artists. For comparison (and for reasons of legibility) it is reproduced below (parentheses correspond to text Cage crossed out): (Stet) 61 (Could we do it with a computer? (Not art. Figure 4 shows what reads as number sixty-one but is actually sixty-three and is thus the very first statement in the published text.Silencing the Sounded Self 33 1 everything. I would suggest that these were circled as Cage completed that particular text. . but) I don't mean make computer art Are we an audience for computer art? but Can ( ~ d . most of which were eventually published. and 5) on the last four pages of the notebook and the fact that neither 10 nor 5 is circled: since these were probably the last-completed texts. 10. (What) W(w)e need (is) a computer that isn't labor saving but which increases the work for us to do.

.Figure 4 .

Are we an audience for computer art? The answer's not No. It would be very difficult to determine the order in which Cage made these changes. This excerpt. it's inevitably Yes.52 The difference is remarkable. Cage crosses out all of "Could we do it with a computer? I don't mean make computer art but cd. or did he also edit for reasons of personal taste? By comparing script and differing ways of crossing out words we can reproduce what Cage originally wrote: Could we do it with a computer? I don't mean make computer art but cd. that puns (this is McLuhan's idea) as well as Joyce revealing bridges (this is Brown's idea) where we thought there weren't any. we sit in an audience and enjoy it once it was made?" and changes it to "Are we an audience for computer art?" The original has twenty-seven words while the change has seven. then 4. we sit in an audience and enjoy it once it was made? Don't think the answer's No. The text reproduced above minus nine words would have equaled the required sixtythree.Sikncing the Sounded Self 333 Compare this to the published text: I.53 This leads to the following question: Did Cage edit the text simply to meet the prescribed sixty-three words. It means that Cage would have had ." These numbers are first 9. This is not exactly a time-saving method of removing nine words. Cage needed to remove nine words. What we need is a computer that isn't labor-saving but which increases the work for us to do. If one looks at the top of the page (Figure 4) one can distinguish two crossed-out numbers followed by "-1. Consequently. totals seventy-two words. it's Yes. as is. What we need is a computer that isn't labor saving but which increases the work for us to do. so instead we will follow them as they occur in the text. leaving a difference of twenty words. turns us (my idea) not "on" but into artists. that as McLuhan says can puns as well as Joyce revealing bridges where we thought there weren't none. and the final result (even if the original somehow seems more poetic) does closely resemble Cage's view of poetry as "formalized" prose.

" This shows a remarkable similarity to the crossed-out numbers. It was purposely altered at great additional expense of time." "can. he may simply have not liked the results of his initial editing and one could say that the final product does read "better. he may have wished to alter the original meaning: "any. it also appears to be consistent with Cage's various noticeable styles of crossing out words. which seems unlikely." Two." In addition. it's Yes. especially considering the fact that he reportedly was in a hurry. omitted for the same reason "Ordinary 20th century human beings" was changed: because they are not directly related to "audience." Cage would have made a statement with sixty-three words: Could we do it with a computer? I don't mean make computer art but cd.334 The Musical Quarterly to come up with eleven more words if he accepted the change. but two are probable and important to this analysis." "is. for both numbers forty-three and forty-six. I believe the evidence indicates that Cage initially made this text and then changed it. The five-word page "Orthodox seating arrangement" (see Figure 5) was originally "Ordinary 20th Century human beings. What if Cage instead began by crossing out unnecessary words as follows. although I am by no means a handwriting expert." Looking at the manuscript as a whole. without an alteration of the text: "inevitably. We need a computer that isn't labor saving but which increases the work for us to do. of which only one is selected. . removing "as McLuhan says" leaves one." "can. by crossing out "Don't think" and adding "not" to make "The answer's not No. we sit in an audience and enjoy it once it was made? The answer's not No." "is." "as McLuhan says." the subject of the speech. there are two versions. And. one sees that there are alterations made on every page. The texts respectively have to do with Cage's mother and with television and were. If such were the case. Removing "inevitably. in all likelihood." "what. it's Yes." and "none" leaves four. One. turns us (my idea) not 'on' but into artists" is clearly a text added to suit the addition of "this is McLuhan's idea" and "this is Brown's idea. that puns as well as Joyce revealing bridges where we thought there weren't. " "none. The reasons could be several." "what.

. i t ' s Yes. t h a t puns ( t h i s i s McLuhanVs i d e a ) as w e l l as J o y c e r e v e a l i n g b r i d g e s ( t h i s i s l3. unemployed. ( Y O Us e e ? We're I f n o t y e t . t h a n vre a r e . f o r d i r e c t i o n .e l a s t t h i n g I ' d do would be t o t e l l you how t o u s e y o u r own a e s t h e t i c f a c u l t i e s . N O W m u s i c ' s I I opened o u r e a r s . Maya. . i n s t p n c e .'' So what s h a l l we do? W have e n o t h i n g t o do.Silencing the Sounded Self 335 I I. Are we a n a u d i e n c e f o r c mputer a r t ? The a n s w e r ' s n o t No. ) 11. He s a i d : What s h o u l d L i s t e n i n g t o y o u r music I f i n d i t p r o v o k e s me. t u r n s u s (my i d e a ) n o t "on" b u t i n t o t I artists. Notice audiences a t high a l t i t u d e s and a u d i e n c e s i n n o r t h e r n c o u n t r i e s t e n d t o be a t t e n t i v e Figure 5 . T h e a t e r ? J st n o t i c e w h a t ' s a r o u n d . What we need 4s a computer t h a t i s n ' t l a b o r s a v i n g b u t which i n c r e s e s t h e work f o r u s t o d o . G i t a S a r a b h a i t o l d me. Write c r i t i c i s m ? S i t i n an a u d i e n c e ? Be c r e a t i v e ? ) W used t o have t h e e Now h e ' s no more e x t r a o r d i n a r y a r t i s t u p on a p e d e s t a l . ( I f y what you want i n I n d i a i s a n ' a u d i e n c e .ownqs i d e a ) where we t h o u g h t t h e r e wer_enq . illusion. i f you were g o i n g i n m y I ' d g i v e you a l i f t .a n y . 111. T w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y a r t ' s opened o u r e y e s . I a play. b u t tk. a l l you need i s one o r two p e o p l e . I do t o e n j o y i t ? Answer: T h e r e ' r e many ways t o h e l p you. Lila. "soon a g a i n ' t w i l l be. known i t f o r a g e s : l i f e ' s a Fee.

in my opinion. as though you were looking at it for the very first time. Was Cage trying to produce nonintention in text? His statements lean in that direction. on the other hand. are clearly the result of trying to meet the extraordinary demands of numerical form. CAGE: hope to let words exist. 56 The failure of Cage's earlier text pieces was their acceptance of the symbolism that relies upon memory through the syntactical connections and relationships inherent in language. analogous means. do not necessarily produce similar results. as I have tried to let sounds exist. In 1965 he said. at least predictable. That means." as can be seen in the following exchange between Cage and the French philosopher and musicologist Daniel Charles sometime between 1968 and 1970: You CHARLES: propose to musicate language. I would suggest.55 I A n essential aspect of Cage's approach to sound is away from memory: There is a beautiful statement. are chance-derived. you want language to be heard as music. to look at a Coca-Cola bottle without the feeling that you've ever seen one before. In the mid-1960s he found a connection between Duchamp's approach and that of his nineteenth-century predecessor T h ~ r e a u : ~ ~ . "54 Yet. something more than simply formalized prose.336 The Musical Quarterly Thus what initially appears to be an improvised and haphazard text is actually extremely well-organized. subject matter and personal taste. an immensely taxing exercise of the composer's will that does not compare favorably if one is trying to produce the kind of nonintention in text that he had already produced in music. as Cage points out. by Marcel Duchamp: "To reach the impossibility of transferring from one like object to another the memory imprint. Some aspects of form are the result of chance operations and some aren't. from his visual point of view. one must move away from language. if not completely determined. To move away from memory. It is. "It has been my habit for some years to write texts in a way analogous to the way I write music." And he expressed that as a goal. Cage was looking for a way to "musicate language. Even though the juxtapositions. Something more was necessary. The contents. in this case chance operations. as the previous analysis has shown. the composer's role is so pervasive that the resultant collage of text is. That's what I'd like to find with sounds-to play them and hear them as if you've never heard them before.

' " This then leads to a discussion of organic unity. "The Word O n e with the Thing. it is the direction of language that differs and. Thoreau's own experiences become more and more transparent. he hoped to find a way of writing which would allow others not to see and hear how he had done it. The longest words. They are words from common language. I would be tempted to say. it seems to me that Thoreau is no less fascinating when he writes. But not in the shortest words. He no longer speaks.58 Cage considered this a movement away from memory. . you find a complete absence of interest in self expression. In both of them. from symbolism. for example. who. Subjectivity no longer comes into it. It i n fact serves as a chapter heading in F. words become one with things. was moving away from thought and toward the experience of the object in and of itself. Consequently. He was not the one who chose his words. everyday words. I have tried to do nothing else in music. Cage believed. And his work improves to the extent that he disappears. musical works in the manner of the different chapters of Walden? CAGE: They are when sounds are words. They came to him from what there is to see and hear. but to see what he had seen and to hear what he had heard. "The epitome of Emerson's belief is that 'in good writing. as his Journal continues. Thoreau wanted only one thing: to see and hear the world around him. They are no longer his experiences. I have not yet made noise with it.Sikncing the Sounded Self 337 And that's what links me the most closely with Duchamp and Thoreau. "where the object is lost in thought. he lets things speak and write as they are. leads one away from Matthiessen's Emerson. he no longer writes. But in a rather significant way. So as the words become shorter. And it is the example of Thoreau that showed Cage a way of "musicating language": CHARLES: may now transpose everything you just said to the area of If 1 language. in a way strikingly similar to a common phrase quite familiar to Americanists. Isn't he concerned with opening up words? And haven't you taken up this concern in turn? Aren't your lectures. When he found himself interested in writing."59 and toward Thoreau. his words become simplified or shorter. But I must say that 1 have not yet carried language to the point to which I have taken musical sounds. He has his very own way of writing. in this case. 0. when he frees words. You're going to tell me that Thoreau had a definite style. I hope to make something other than language from it." Matthiessen writes. in which symbolism plays a n essential role. It is experience. contain something of Thoreau in them. as different as they may be. Matthiessen's American Renaissance.

" His initial task in that direction was the removal of syntax: "As we move away from it. words become nonsense as they do between lovers. Cage tried to make a language that does not communicate: "The demilitarization of language: a serious musical concern. as he suggests in his conversation with Charles. the impossibility of language. the title being a combination of "music" (the first two letters) and "Thoreau" (the last four letters). "62 Removing syntax would allow words to do what Cage thought Thoreau was trying to have them do: "Since words. that interests me It at present. mixing them in such a way that you could call it a Thoreau Mix. parallel to Cage's view that music does not communicate. syllables. Cage discusses this work in the foreword to M: "Mureau departs from conventional syntax. Thus. and sounds h e heard that are indexed in the Dover publication of the Journal to a series of 1 Ching chance ~ p e r a t i o n s . in which words become what they originally were: trees and stars and the rest of the primeval environment. But Mureau still makes sense. he thinksthose bugs have issued forthThe owl touches the stops. was eventually called Mureau. and sentences goes far beyond the chance operations used to make Cage's Diaries. have n o effect. 1 am now working on that problem in a text taken straight from the Song Books.. and sentences. etc. as mentioned in the previous endnote. there was still too much language in it and not enough silence: sparrowsitA gROsbeak betrays itself by that peculiar squeakariEFFECT OF SLIGHTEST tinkling measures soundness ingplease We hear! Does it not rather hear us? sWhen he hears the telegraph. "63 Language would move in the direction of the observation of things. Individual words tend to be read as sentences even when those sen- . looking to find a way to take the Journal of Thoreau and somehow "musicate it. words. syllables. "64 However. wakes reverberations d qwalky In verse there is no inherent music65 In these first few lines of Mureau. which deals directly with letters. I wrote it by subjecting all the remarks of Henry David Thoreau about music. when they communicate. silence.338 The Musical Quarterly CHARLES: do you expect to accomplish that? How CAGE: is that aspect. Cage realized that Mureau had not yet made music out of language. 60 This piece. we demilitarize language. words. syllables. " ~ ~ T h e title indicates that Cage was. the chance-operated mixture of letters. phrases. It is a mix of letters.

69 . Empty Words. He said: "When you have a solution. The answers have the question in common. Syllables tend to sound as interruptions of thought rather than as capable of thought. Cage describes the direction of his work leading to the creation of Empty Words: hearing Wendell Berry read aloud from the Journal in 1967. adverbs. He ascended. until recently. at. adjectives. " ~e~therefore continued to search for a verse that had what h e could regard as "inherent music. verbs. particles. the title was inspired by a conversation with the Oriental scholar William McNaughton. Therefore the question underlies the answers.' A full word has a specific.Sikncing the Sounded Self 339 tences are devised by the reader rather than by Thoreau. pronouns. though which of these forms the word takes cannot always be determined. who in 1973 "told Cage that the classical Chinese language can be classified into 'full words' and 'empty words. which refer only to other terms: a.K. And then it occurred to me through the direction that my work has taken. What is the principle underlying all of the solutions?" I couldn't answer his question. which is renunciation of choices and the substitution of asking questions. as in all of Cage's compositions that use . are full words. nouns. Empty Words was written between 1973 and 1974." He said: "O. it. having made seven or eight. as with individual letters. According to Revill. but I had always worshipped the man. He had us go to the blackboard to solve a particular problem in counterpoint (though it was a class in harmony). I spent the rest of my life. and at that point I did even more." This led to the creation of what I regard as one of Cage's finest poetic works."67 In his introduction to the first part. the importance of Thoreau in Cage's composition Songbooks (1970). Empty words are conjunctions. or. simply attach themselves to other words. syllables. or letters. While Mureau is still interesting poetry. alters the composer's role from that of making choices to one of asking questions: My composition arises out of asking questions. in a loose sense referential meaning. hearing him ask that question over and over. 1 think. because they certainly didn't come from any other point." I gave another and another until finally. it does not accomplish what Cage had in mind: "I think we H need to have more nonsense in the field of l a n g ~ a g e ." 1 did that. He would have accepted that answer. turn around and let me see it.~~ it. He then said: "Now another solution please. and the use of chance operations in M u r e a ~ Chance. that the principle underlying all of the solutions that 1 had given him was the question that he had asked. so to speak. I am reminded of a story early on about a class with Schoenberg. I reflected a moment and then said with some certainty: "There aren't any more solutions.

chance operations produced an almost flowing sentence structure. A text for a song can be a vocalise: just letters. Cage. Thor e a ~ . Material of five kinds: letters. Mureau uses all twentyfive possibilities. Modern Art. Through a museum on roller skates. word. . . (2) by fact I had not (67-73) been seeing 'em as beautiful.' Illustrations out of context. letters and words. or of a combination of things. without using chance operations. according to Ezra Pound. whereas in Empty Words. just words. Chinese ideogram does not try to be the picture of a sound. thus illustrating in text what Cage once Due to said about music: "I try to approach each sound as itselLYq3 Cage's purposeful subtraction of sentences. they appear as phrases. 7 l The difference is striking: notAt evening right can see suited to the morning hour trucksrsq Measured tSee t A ys sK)i w dee e str oais stkva o dcommoncurious 20 theeberries flowers r clover72 In Mureau. There are 25 possible combinations. that is to say.340 The Musical Quarterly Both Mureau and Empty Words begin with the same question: What can be done with the English language? Use it as material. Can be just syllables. 7O O n the other hand-and this is of key significance-Empty Words does not use all twenty-five: in the first part. of a thing in a given position or relation. et cetera. they "still use pictures AS pictures. (3) by running across Thoreau's remark: 'No page in my Journal is more suggestive than one which includes a sketch. language begins to move in the direction of In ~ those illustrations. syllable. sentences. and letter begins to be read "as itself. It means the thing or the action or the ~ i t u a t i o n . due to the elimination of sentences. sentences. just a string of phrases. if words as words. Ideograms. phrases. " ~ ~ . Cloud of unknowing." Another clue to Cage's intentions was his inclusion of drawings by Thoreau. but it is still the picture of a thing. syllables. eliminated the possibility of sentences by choice. the text becomes much more disjunct. or to be a written sign recalling a sound. " ~Empty Words. If phrases. Suggestivity. those ideograms where in China. each phrase. Relate 64 (I Ching) to 25 . which he describes in the introduction to part one: "Amazed (1) by their beauty. O r combinations of letters and syllables (for example). words.

there are textual similarities. and while one could make a comparison between Mureau and Joyce's language experiment Finnegans Wake. going to extremes. what can it do? In the introduction to part three." For language to exist as sounds exist. or "suited to the morning hour. long become fast). the reader searches "outloud for a way to read."81 .Silencing the S o u d d Self 341 However. where the symbolic nature of language is being subverted. Cage instructs the reader to "move toward a center" in parts three and four: "To bring about quiet of IV (silence) establish no stanza time in 111 or IV. That brings about a variety of tempi (short stanzas become slow. the emphasis remains on "begins. on the surface. the most significant change in this part is the elimination of phrases. ."80 After having "gone to extremes" in parts one and two. Changing frequency. while intention is removed through chance operations. "79 Measurement continues through the selection of tempi. words still connect in specifically meaningful ways: "notAt evening. Cage continues to describe the direction of this process: "Searching (outloud) for a way to read."76 As such. In which volume of the Journal's fourteen is the syllable to be found? In which group of pages? O n which page of this group? O n which line of this page?"77The questions help inform both the immensity of the task and why it took so long to complete. 11) stanza's time." For Cage correctly envisioned this text as a "transition from literature to music. it must be something other than just nonintentional: it must cease to intentionally "mean. Cage is directing the reader to the same Tower of Babel situation he had found in music more than twenty years before: "the impossibility of language. ." for example. but the reader's role begins to change. clearly the intended meanings of Joyce's experiment differ greatly even if. What is being done? for how many times? . it is a transition in process." If it can't communicate. The introduction to this part continues to describe what questions were asked: "First questions." This is the process that Cage has set in motion. In part one. Part two removes the possibility of phrases. Establish (I. Going up and then going down. which was not a chance operation at all: s or past another thise and on ghth wouldhad andibullfrogswasina-perhapss blackbus each f nsqlike globe? oi for osurprisingy ter spect y-s of wildclouds deooa Di from the ocolorsadby h allb eblei ingselfi foot7* Eventually the process is moving away from any intentional meaning. And yet.

Nor was the increased semantic openness of language through the use of ideograms a satisfactory solution. the text still linguistically "means": theAf perchgreathind and ten have andthewitha nae thatIas be theirofsparrermayyour hsglanruas theeshelf not er n housthe ing e -shaped wk."82 Thus. 'a' is a letter. Cage addressed this very issue: CAGE: Those artists for whom I have regard have always put their work at the service of religion or of metaphysical truth. However. as the opening to part three demonstrates.g. Empty Words are not yet fully empty: "The." "perch. is a syllable. WALLACE: Meaningful? But you said it has no meaning. "no meaning" still had meaning." "hind. is also at the service of metaphysical truth. the only possibility in the midst of this impossibility called language was a new language. as in language) intentional meaning." and so on. But a WALLACE: h ? O CAGE: This idea of no idea is a very important Yes. As we see in his conversation with Richard Kostelanetz." "ten. For Cage. the absence of any (even inherently. But it also puts it in terms which are urgent and meaningful to a person of this century. For Cage. like mine.. is a word. CAGE: I mean no meaning h meaning. the structures overlap: "E." "great. And art without meaning. And this new language required the same silence 4'33" had provided in music. empty words are empty not of meaning but of intentional meaning: . Wid n pstw ety bou-a the dherlyth gth db tgn-plh ng sthrce ght rc t e Tmsttht thsno sngly o ophys thepfbbe ndnd tsh m ie ghl ldsbdfrrtlybflyf Ir i q oss bns83 I think Cage realized that making the "word one with the thing" was not enough. Are these ideograms? Or are they still symbols of things rather than the "things themselves?" Is this the nondualism Cage produced in his Variations III? Even when removing all but syllables and letters. In a 1958 interview with Mike Wallace. Cage omits the possibility of words.342 Tk Musical Quarterly In part three.

" I'm suggesting something more in line with what I've already told you. "88 . are humanly constructed symbolic relationships.85 I T o remove intention requires the omission of even the ideogrammic U nature of language. accomplished. 'Do you mean it's just sounds?' How they can imagine that it's anything but sounds is what's so alarming. KOSTELANETZ: hey are empty semantically? T CAGE:How do you mean? KOSTELANETZ: "Semantic" refers to meaning. "Languages becoming musics": ie thA i o s n er spwlae t s prt oos sb97 h c r no i bath t t 1 m rdt d et shgg an Whereas Cage's "Lecture on Nothing" announced Cage's intent-"I have nothing to say and I am saying it"-Empty Words. They are also empty syntactically."86 Sounds thus refer to themselves rather than to a humanly constructed relationship between sounds and what they can mean. CAGE: would rather say they're empty of intention. in a way that has long typified his successful experiments.' the meaning inferred is that we can only know how things happen ('nature in her manner of operation') but never quite what happens. "In Cage's art of 'exemplary presentation." And as Perloff has written. they exist by themselves.Silencing the Sounded Self 343 CAGE:I'm not being at all scholarly about my use of the term "empty words. namely. by choice rather than by chance. view. and Cage's intention in part four. much less why. It requires a complete removal of a symbolic reference: "I'm always amazed when people say. they are all empty. Making language saying nothing at all. exemplifies that intent: "Making language saying nothing at all. too. was to remove any trace of that symbolic relationship: "IV: equation between letters and silence. Languages. and I would like with my title to suggest the emptiness of meaning that is characteristic of musical sounds. T CAGE: That when words are seen from a musical point of Yes. the transition from language to music." and finally. KOSTELANETZ: hat is to say. once again.

syllables and words. while chance operations let the "outside" in. replaced communication as the purpose of writing music. As has been shown. the lecture ends as Walden ends. so that it would end at dawn along with the opening of the windows and doors of the world outside . it may instead open a clearing where. . In allowing them the freedom to mean apart from symbolic intent. necessarily produce "silence. as Robert Duncan has written."90 That "purposeful purposelessness" attempts to remove human constructions of meaning. something (intention) and nothing (nonintention) are not really opposed. . there is more than our present experience of it. thus allowing awareness of the world around us the opportunity to increase. they do "need each other to keep on going. then. timing the last part. not which surprisingly. what I call awareness increases." In fact. In other words. and by emptying these words of all linguistic intention. . thus making it susceptible to divine i n f l ~ e n c e s . phrases. as Charles Olson writes in Causal Mythology.'j94 In other words. what in Cage's view. at dawn: "I thought of it as something that could be read throughout the whole night . " ~ ~ is. of allowing the "outside" into the work of art. to produce textual silence. a world in which language communicates. and very gradually (the piece takes eleven hours to perform) moves to a place where language disappears and words do indeed become "just sounds. which is nothing but silences and letters. and where. one may then be open to an experience that includes the outside: "quieting the mind. Making. "that which exists through itself is what is called meaning. As Thoreau wrote. the successive removal of sentences. its greatest significance is the exemplification of the act of becoming: "how things happen. Cage "opens words" as Thoreau did. but in our making work toward an awareness of meaningng1The result is the creation of a place where distinctions between text and music disappear. need not mean in itself. Therefore my purpose is to remove purpose." It requires an intentional choice. in and of themselves. In fact. they do not. "There is more day to dawn. Cage takes the reader from where he or she is. I have become through Empty Words aware of the dawnMg3 Empty Words. music and text become one. Chance operations were used by Cage as a means of opening up the creative process. from their human construction. "We do not make things meaningful." As in Thoreau's Walden. ."89 Cage's work is therefore not an abdication but rather a redirection of the role of the artist: "I believe that by eliminating purpose. .344 The Musical Quarterly Empty Words also exemplifies the essential role of the creator even when the goal is a "silenced" creative self."92 In Empty Words.

Cage accomplished this first in music with 4'33" (1952) and Variations 111 (1962-63). . 7 ." in Silence. and the critic Kostelanetz Uohn Cage [New York: Da Capo Press. 81. where you are All I know about method is that when I am not working I sometimes think I know something. 3. Instead it is a question of whom Cage considered to be his predecessors. "Composition as Process. 4. 18. it is quite clear that I know nothing. John Cage. 5 ) . I: Changes. and thus silenced.: Wesleyan University Press. 19911. 19. His opinion is.Sikncing the Sounded Self 345 In both his writings and his compositions. 19921. Cage eventually moved away from syntactically controlled meaning altogether. 261. 19791. Kostelanetz." in Silence. 81. in fact. 1987). . 30). his biographer. 45) claim that this text was written in 1927. 62. He then proceeded to accomplish the same result in his texts. just sounds."96 In Empty Words. Cage. Conn. Cage devoted himself to an aesthetic of coexistent inclusion. 1961). where "something" and "nothing" are unopposed. where language. Silence (Middletown. becomes unintentional. John Cage. and language became. song: Everybody which is it is a process and when you sing you are has a song no song at all: of singing . one discovers a shared direction away from compositional control and . "Forerunners of Modem Music. 2.97 Notes 1. 6. Conn. John Cage. 5. debatable. Cage wrote that "a text for a song can be a vocalise: just letters. like music. David Revill (The Roaring Silence [New York: Arcade Publishing. intentionally stripped of the dualities of its symbolism. In the introduction to Empty Words. Cage produced that text. Silence.toward nonintention. Kostelanetz. By comparing his texts and music.: Wesleyan University Press. John Cage. A t issue here is not whether Cage's assessment of Webem and Satie is accurate. 218. but when I am working. Although Cage elsewhere asserts that he wrote this speech at age twelve (Empty Words [Middletown. By attempting to "musicate" language. 20. when Cage was fifteen. John Cage. Richard Kostelanetz. Conversing with Cage (New York: Limelight Editions.

See Cage. 1968). Kostelanetz. "Lecture on Nothing. The Perennial Philosophy (New York: Harper & Row." in John Cage: Writer. "Composition as Process. John Cage with Daniel Charles." 18. 26. by only liking certain things. The Bride and the Bachelors (New York: Penguin." in Silence. But you can become open-minded. 27.' " 18. John Blofeld (New York: Grove Press. by giving up your likes and dislikes and becoming interested in things. Kostelanetz. "Lecture on Nothing. the I Ching was among them. 9. 17. "Memoir. 16. Conversing with Cage. 55." 19-20. 23." 109. "Composition as Process. 1950). Richard Kostelanetz (New York: Limelight Editions. 1958). 109. 14. 22. Cage. 20. 8. 11. I felt that if he did this." in Siknce." 109. C . "Memoir. I should mention that Cage uses "structure" to describe what might be traditionally called form while using "form" to describe what would usually (especially in a literary sense) be called content. 13. 77. For the Birds (London: Marion Boyars. Calvin Tomkins. Cage. literally. Cage. John Cage. 14. Well. . his work would automatically carry with it a usefulness to others. admittedly vague as it is a thing to do. One day. and disliking others. 24. 231: "[Aln important book for me was The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley. comp. 12. Kostelanetz. I think the Buddhists would say. which is an anthology of remarks of people in different periods of history and from different cultures-that they are all saying the same thing. which in 1948 Cage considered to be an important compositional concern: "I felt that an artist had an ethical responsibility to society to keep alive to the contemporary spiritual needs." in Kostelanetz. You can become narrow-minded. Huang Po. It also connected musical and spiritual purposes. 34. G.346 The Musical Quarterly 8. Conversing with Cage. 19. 85." 77." John Cage. Siknce. "Lecture on Something. 43. John Cage. 21. 'As they are in and of themselves. who was studying with Cage at the time. 129. To thank me. Richard Wilhelm (New York: Princeton University Press. Jung. "Lecture on Nothing. trans. trans. 1981). "A Composer's Confessions. The Zen Teaching of Huang Po. 25. foreword to The I Ching or Book of Changes. Revill. 20. 1945). Christian brought me books published by his father. 1993). Aldous Huxley. xxii. 10. 15. Cage. According to Cage: "I didn't make him pay for his lessons. Cage. Cage. his father was a publisher. 25. namely a quiet mind is a mind that is free of its likes and dislikes. He received it from Christian Wolff. literally. 42. Conuersing with Cage. Cage. 97." In Cage and Charles.

37. Silence. is o n it. 211-12. I regard the aforementioned lectures as Cage regarded them: as poetry. 32. 197. I simply divided this distance by 50 miles per hour. A Year from Monday. 3. John Cage. submit that poetry is usually written by writers who consider it to be poetry. Cage. 50. Cage. p. Cage. John Cage Literary Archive. It will be my Imaginary Landscape No. . 35. Kostelanetz. Cage's definition of what constitutes poetry is reductive at best. 110. This study ends in 1975 with the completion of Empty Words for reasons that will become apparent as the analysis progresses. Cage and Charles. 2 1. Conn. A Year from Monday. However. my attention. the distance between Rochester and Philadelphia is 336 miles. So.. John Cage. 4 of list. 45. Wesleyan University Library. Conversing with Cage. 46. 80. 31. help to place several of Cage's writings (which would include those so far discussed. however." 43. 41. 22. 1989). 42. 195-96. As such. John Cage at Seventy-Five (London: Associated University Presses. A Year from Monday (Middletown. Conversing with Cage. And this has become. 1963). 34. 30. 33. "A Composer's Confessions. 44. 19. as now. Kostelanetz. Silence. I would.: Wesleyan University Press. 40. A Year from Monday. Cage. 36. John Cage. John Cage. Cage's hexagram notation uses what look like v's for the broken lines and puts a circle through a changing straight line and around the v for a changing broken line. According to the Map and Geographic Information Center at the University of New Mexico. It is not the place of this analysis to define poetry. Cage. As for the second piece: "to compose and have performed a composition using as instruments nothing but twelve radios. Conversing with Cage. more and more. Kostelanetz. 38. Cage. 1967). It does. when he begins his mesostic series o n Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Kostelanetz. John Cage. 57-58. 31." Richard Fleming and William Duckworth. " 29. Kostelanetz. however. "Lecture o n Nothing" and "Lecture o n Something") in the context of poetry. Using the method recommended by the American Automobile Association. Variations Ill. Cage. x.Silencing the Sounded Self 347 28. Variations I I I (New York: Henmar Press. Cage. my concern lies with the connection between music and text and the mesostic form becomes important in both after 1975. 39. the purpose of 4'33" as well: "I don't sit down to do it. for Cage. 4. Cage's mesostics are brilliantly conceived poetry. 43. eds. I realize that it's going o n continuously. "Some Random Remarks" in Kostelanetz. 110-1 1. I turn my attention toward it.

30. sixty-three. V. 33.348 The Musical Qmrterb 47. It also predates Sharon Cameron's research. 44." 61. 52. 50. 51. Cage includes a footnote: "I have since made Music of Thoreau from it. 17. 8. by at least fifteen years." Cage used this often. 58. "As I see it. 55 (part IV). John Cage. and thirty equal ninety-eight. 46 changing to 24 (incorrectly notated as 23 at the top but corrected when placed in the Roman-numeral structure). foreword. F. thus requiring one more chance operation. Cage. since it is one of the most clearly articulated remarks on the importance of Thoreau's Journal ever written. 46. poetry is not prose simply because poetry is in one way or another formalized. 29. 58. 62. 28 changing to 43 (which is placed in part IV since the twenty-eight puts the total of part 111 over one hundred). which has similar things to say. 1941). A Year from Monday. Cage. 233-34. to Marshall McLuhan. 133. I find that while Cage. This quote is essential to understanding what Cage saw as his relationship to Thoreau. 57. 111. 51. 43. . 24. of course. 30. Silence. M (Middletown. 56. 52 changing to 43. 58. 10. 184. Cage and Charles. 61 (this is actually 63). 5. 5. which I myself performed in concert. Conversing with Cage. References are. going left to right. 50. 63. 21. 48. Empty Words. VI. 151. foreword. 33. Order of texts as written in notebook: 50. 46. 40. 55. x. 1973). Duchamp's work was far more concerned with the inward direction of human intellect. 13. 24. 50. 40 changing to 33. 52. as literary scholarship. 63. 29. 52. Cage. 11. 7. 61. Kostelanetz. Cage. 113. 43. 17 changing to 61 (part V). Sometimes the last number makes it go over: for example. 51. American Renaissance (New York: Oxford University Press. Order of published text: I. 55. Brown. Cage and Charles. as follows: 3. 10. 18. [2]. 10. 9. 51 changing to 36 (which is not used in part VI since 51 puts the total past one hundred). 55. looks outward to the world. It is also important. Matthiessen. 60. 18. and Norman 0. Cameron's research can be found in her book Writing Nature: Henry Thoreau's Journal (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 12. 5. 43. five. 46. I would suggest. I am not as sure about Duchamp as Cage was. which turns up as twenty-one totaling one hundred nineteen." 54. 58. 4. Conn. 28. 59. 6. 1989). 11. 28. 50. 17. 0 . 43. 222. Abbreviation for "could. 40. M. 30. 21. 53. like Thoreau. it's the work I entitled Mureau. . Cage and Charles.: Wesleyan University Press. James Joyce. 43. 10. [I]. 29 changing to 18 (part 11). g . The other hexagrams translate. 61. Cage and Charles.

Silencing the Sounded Self 349 64. 73. 11. 72. are. ." in A John Cage Reader. Such dependence on opsis . in an analysis of Songbook. Peters. 1934). Cage. However. Kostelanetz. recently published. Language." Marjorie Perloff. Conversing with Cage. I would argue. 76.: Northwestern University Press. Empty Words. See "Choice and Change in Cage's Recent Music. 11. 68. and the use of Chinese-language orthography. Empty Words. Poetry. Martin Heidegger wrote. writes convincingly of a corresponding inclusion of choice in Cage's music. Conversing with Cage. refutes Marjorie Perloffs contention that "[tlhe 'score' of Empty Words. . like the earlier one of Mureau. However. Fenallosa. Kostelanetz. Empty Words. 71. 2 1. Cage. for everything here depends on Cage's enormous register. trans. Empty Words. since the text is essentially one big justified block. 1981). Empty Words. his astonishing timbre. 337-38. 79. Ill. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper & Row. Conversing with Cage. in combination with the inclusion of Thoreau's drawings (which. It is impossible to reproduce the exact lineation of the text here. 140. 33. Cage. Jonathan Brent and Peter Gena (New York: C. Cage. nor am I able to get all the various typographical fonts. Thought. of course. fairly uninteresting. 35. For example. is. 65. John Cage. 12. ABC of Redng (New York: New Directions. 80. 77. Cage. Kostelanetz. Cage. my analysis will show that intention. 78. is. Empty Words. Empty Words. a limitation. "Each answer remains in force as an answer only as long as it is rooted in questioning. 249. 184. (1970). since such thinking was in the air among Germans of Schoenberg's generation. This. Mureau. The connection to ideograms is worth noting and points to Cage's familiarity with Pound. 82. in M. 51. we have to attend the performance in order to respond to Cage's language construct. ed. Revill. 137. 34. 70. F. Cage's deduction need not be seen as a rationalization. ton in his introduction to Empty Words Part One. while coexisting with nonintention. in his "The Origin of the Work of Art" (1935-36). . his individual timing and articulation. 11. this reproduction does faithfully communicate my intention of showing how much language remains in Mureau. 66. Cage. 67. Empty Words. 215. Cage. Cage himself mentions 1973 as the year he spoke with McNaugh. 69. as mentioned in the introduction to part two." In Martin Heidegger. 71. Empty Words. Ezra Pound. 75. whereas Brooks argues that "that which is arrived at by choice is in no sense preferable to that arrived at by chance" (97). 1982). Kostelanetz. William Brooks. are specifically placed in the text through chance operations). 227. Cage. The Poetics of Indeterminacy (Evanston. 11. 1971). Conversing with Cage. Cage's elaborate instructions. 74. was required in order to achieve nondualism in Empty Words.

Cage. 81. 1969). I find the published versions of both Mureau and Empty Words immensely interesting. 315-16.350 The Musical Quarterly instructions for reading. Cage. Kostelanetz. 91. 89. 86. 82. Charles Olson. 11. 1937). published. 10 June 1958. 92. Henry David Thoreau. This concern can be found as early as the late 1950s: "At Darmstadt I was talking about the reason back of pulverization and fragmentation: for instance. Conversing with Cage. 66. this does not imply that his presence is a necessary part of experiencing his poetry. 52. Empty Words. 78-79. Cage. 83. Cage. 84. Granted. 96. 90. 124. Kostelanetz. 41. 5 1. however. 136. 94. Causal Mythology (San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation. Kick. using syllables instead of words in a vocal text. Silence. Perloff. Kostelanetz. 141-42. Kostelanetz. Conversing with Cage. Conversing with Cage. Empty Words. Cage. 129. 33. A Year from Monday. as "How to Pass. 93. 87. in part. 297. Robert Duncan. Walden and Other Writings." in Cage. letters instead of syllables. Fall. Cole Gagne and Tracy Caras. Brooks Atkinson (New York: Modem Library. Empty Words. Empty Words. New Yurk Post. Soundpieces: Interviews with American Composers (London: Scarecrow Press. 65. and the text a score for performance. 95. and Run. 85. . Cage. 216. 88. 1982). 82." From his lecture "Indeterminacy" (1958). 2." 126. "Toward an Open Universe. Cage. 47. Empty Words. Cage's performances of his texts were extraordinary. 51. 97. ed. "Lecture on Nothing. Conversing with Cage. 1985)." in Fictive Certainties (New York: New Directions.