The Sounds of Silence John Cage and 4'33" copyright (c) 1998, rev 2002 by Larry J Solomon ABSTRACT: The purpose

of this essay is to examine the aesthetic behind Cage's "s ilent" composition, 4'33", to trace its history, and to show that it marked a si gnificant change in John Cage's musical thought -- specifically how it forms a p oint-of-no-return from the conventional communicative, self-expressive and inten tional purpose of music to a radical new aesthetic that informs the field of uni ntentional sound, interpenetration, chance, and indeterminacy. The compositional process is described, both the writing of 4'33" and its evolution from past tho ught. Implications for performance are examined, and recommendations are made. Contents A Brief Description and the Historic First Performance History and Philosophy The Turning Point Composition Performance of 4'33" Conclusion References Lawsuit claiming plagarism of 4'33" 1. Brief Description and the Historic First Performance "Good people of Woodstock, let's run these people out of town" (artist at the pr emiere performance of 4'33") 1. The first performance of John Cage's 4'33" created a scandal. Written in 1952, i t is Cage's most notorious composition, his so-called "silent piece". The piece consists of four minutes and thirty-three seconds in which the performer plays n othing. At the premiere some listeners were unaware that they had heard anything at all. It was first performed by the young pianist David Tudor at Woodstock, N ew York, on August 29, 1952, for an audience supporting the Benefit Artists Welf are Fund -- an audience that supported contemporary art. Tudor placed the hand-written score, which was in conventional notation with bla nk measures, on the piano and sat motionless as he used a stopwatch to measure t he time of each movement. The score indicated three silent movements, each of a different length, but when added together totalled four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Tudor signaled its commencement by lowering the keyboard lid of the pi ano. The sound of the wind in the trees entered the first movement. After thirty seconds of no action, he raised the lid to signal the end of the first movement . It was then lowered for the second movement, during which raindrops pattered o n the roof. The score was in several pages, so he turned the pages as time passe d, yet playing nothing at all. The keyboard lid was raised and lowered again for the final movement, during which the audience whispered and muttered. 2 Cage said, "People began whispering to one another, and some people began to wal k out. They didn't laugh -- they were just irritated when they realized nothing was going to happen, and they haven't fogotten it 30 years later: they're still angry." 3 Maverick Concert Hall, the site of the first performance, was ideal in allowing the sounds of the environment to enter, because the back of the hall w as open to the surrounding forest. When Tudor finished, raising the keyboard lid and himself from the piano, the audience burst into an uproar -- "infuriated an d dismayed," according to the reports.4 Even in the midst of an avant garde conc ert attended by modern artists, 4'33" was considered "going too far"5.

Note that 4'33" is incorrectly listed as "4 pieces" on the printed program. It i s easy to see how the original list of timings, listed under the heading 4'33", would have been confused by someone who typed the program as being four pieces w ith their timings as titles. Nevertheless, the timings of the movements are a cr ucial record. History and Philosophy Before writing 4'33" Cage had written many musical compositions in the 1930s and 1940s. Most of these had evocative, romantic titles, like Amores, Daughters of the Lonesome Isle, and The Perilous Night. Many of these early works were for pr epared piano, a Cage invention that made the piano into a kind of miniature game lan orchestra. He had already become well known as a musical innovator, one on t he cutting edge of the American avant garde. Cage was one of the first composers to write electronic music, with his "Imaginary Landscapes". And in 1937 he pred icted the future of electronic music in his lecture, "The Future of Music, Credo ". He was also one of the first Western composers to compose music solely on the basis of rhythm, using what were previously regarded as noises. Here, suddenly, in 1952, was a piece whose title was just a number from a clock and in which th e performer played nothing. It was an historic turning point for the composer, o ne from which he would never turn back. 4'33", pronounced "four minutes, thirty-three seconds", (Cage himself referred t o it as "four, thirty-three") is often mistakenly referred to as Cage's "silent piece". He made it clear that he believed there is no such thing as silence, def ined as a total absence of sound. In 1951, he visited an anechoic chamber at Har vard University in order to hear silence. "I literally expected to hear nothing, " he said. Instead, he heard two sounds, one high and one low. He was told that the first was his nervous system and the other his blood circulating. This was a major revelation that was to affect his compositional philosophy from that time on. It was from this experience that he decided that silence defined as a total absence of sound did not exist. "Try as we may to make a silence, we cannot," h e wrote. "One need not fear for the future of music." 6 To Cage, silence had to be redefined if the concept was to remain viable. He rec ognized that there was no objective dichotomy between sound and silence, but onl y between the intent of hearing and that of diverting one's attention to sounds. "The essential meaning of silence is the giving up of intention," he said. 7 Th is idea marks the most important turning point in his compositional philosophy. He redefined silence as simply the absence of intended sounds, or the turning of f of our awareness. "Silence is not acoustic," he said, "It is a change of mind. A turning around." 8 He was later to identify this with Eastern thought. "In In dia they say that music is continuous; it only stops when we turn away and stop paying attention."9 In 1988, in a conversation with William Duckworth, Cage affi rmed the connection of this idea with 4'33". "No day goes by without my making u se of that piece in my life and in my work. I listen to it every day. . . . I do n't sit down to do it. I turn my attention toward it. I realize that it's going on continuously. More than anything, it is the source of my enjoyment of life. . . . Music is continuous. It is only we who turn away."10 Cage often referred to it as his most important piece, and it was his favorite. "I always think of it before I write the next piece." 11 The first reference to 4'33" came about in a talk that Cage gave at Vassar Colle ge in 1947 or 1948. It was part of an interdisciplinary conference, coming at th e time when he was beginning his study of oriental philosophy. He said that ther e ought to be a piece that had no sounds in it. 12 Although the germ of an idea was there, it would be five years before he would actually write it. The next ye ar Cage wrote that he wanted to "compose a piece of uninterrupted silence and se ll it to Muzak Co. It will be three or four and a half minutes in length -- thos e being the standard lengths of 'canned music' -- and its title will be Silent P

But when Cage was a Fellow at Wesleyan' s Center of Advanced Studies (1960-61). These paintings predate the famous completely white and black abstract paintings of Robert Raus chenberg by nearly seventy years. yet precedes it by more than half a century. But the similarities of this funeral march to 4'33" are only superficial. w ith a thoughtful examination of Cage's motives. life has created the most imm ense. a charlatan. i. the Italian Futurist. their own rhythms.e. and a scale that is very delicately enharmonic in its pitches. The in tent and concept of Allais' Funeral March was entirely different from 4'33". Allais did a totally white painting titled "Anaemic Youn g Girls Going to Their First Communion through a Blizzard". He also did a totall y black painting entitled "Negroes Fighting in a Cave at Night". it is full of sounds. Secondly and more importantly. For one. The origin of the concept of 4'33". The Art of Noises (1916). Although it was initially conceived in 1947. More relevant here is Allais' "Funeral March" for the last rites of a deaf man. at Montmartre's le Chat Noir. Cage referred to The Art of Noi ses in his 1948 lecture at Vassar.. performe d. the smile of certain countrysides! But let us leave nature and the country (which would be a tomb without noises) a nd enter a noisy modern city. This score is probably very similar to the original manuscript for 4'33" (now lost). an idol of Cage's.. Cage's work is not silent at all. Cage was very serious about 4'33" and was careful to specify that it was not a joke. small. In the notes. is debatable. One of these was Luigi Russolo's . organized by Jules Le`vy "for people who did not know how to draw". which I will return to shortly. with machines. Then comes a remarkable statement: And here it can be demonstrated that the much poeticized silences with which the country restores nerves shaken by city life are made up of an infinity of noise s. But if the noises of the country are few . i. one finds that none of these is correct. Oh! To have to listen to noise s from dawn to dusk. eternal noise! 14 An even earlier predecessor of 4'33" harks back to fin de sie`cle Paris (1882-18 96). adding to its remarkable precedence of 4'33". rather than with sounds."The Noises of Nature and Life". Satie was a friend of the artist/humorist Alphonse Allais (1854-1905).e.. Still other s thought it was the act of a fool. consisting of 24 measures of entirely blank mu sic manuscript. and pleasing. It has been neither said nor proven that these noises are not a very important part (or in many cases the mos t important part) of the emotions that accompany the beauty of certain panoramas . Others have regarded it as a deliberate affront or ins ult. Allais' composition was really meant to be silent. It embraces the whole world of unintent ional sound. the most varied sources of noise. But. except for a whimsical tempo mark of "Lento rigolando" 14b. and that these noises have their own timbres. i. both p erformed late at night at the legendary Paris cabaret.. because 4'33" wasn't at all easy for Cage to write. where Erik Satie. Why would anyone write music in which nothing is performed? Some people assume t hat Cage did it to shock.e. For an 1884-85 exhibit of Expositions des Arts Incohe'rents. he was asked to compile a list of books having the greatest influence on his thought. then those of the city . Allais the humorist intended his work to be a joke. Russolo begins by poetically descr ibing many of the sounds of nature."13 This statement is particularly interesting in light of what Cage later said about the composition of 4'33". the piece wasn' . or that it was too easy. In this book there is a chapter that presages 4'33". either to the audience or as an attack on music as an art form. a silent frame filled with non-intenti onal environmental sounds. We can quickly dispose with the last objection.rayer. Allais explains that the composition must be concerned entirely with measurements.. Here. being for a dea f man.

e.t written until 1952. So. "I have never gratuitously done anything for shock. From this Cage concluded that noises were just as musical as so-called "mus ical sounds". This led to his first percussion orchestra and a number of new percussion wo rks. I als o knew that if it was done it would be the highest form of work. During the 1940s.26 Although today we have come to accept the idea that noises can be include d in music."12 It wasn't until 1951 that Cage was inspired to proceed by seeing the white. When Cage told him that he had no feeling for harmony. Shortly thereafter. it does it in ve . and for years he's been trying to do away with it. Schoenberg was not encouragi ng about Cage's compositional talent. He noticed that although he had been taught that music was a matter of communication." 21 In 1932. "I responded immedi ately."15 "When I saw those. he created an elaborate way to make the piece by using charts and chance operations. building it up note by note. which he did in 1935-36 22. scraping. The sculpto r. Fischinger told Cage that "Everything in the world has its own spirit. The reasons for writ ing 4'33" lie elsewhere and are quite serious. Cowell urged him to study with Arnold Schoenberg. "I knew it would be taken as a joke and a renunciation of work. he became concerned with a new change. Cage worked with Otto Fischinger on one of his abstract film s. otherwise I 'm lagging."25 Cage was very excited by this notion and began tapping. but as ways of seeing. "John has the most brilliant intellect of any man I 've ever met." Pierre Boulez said.." he said. 'Oh yes. and rubbing things in his environme nt. indeed. "John was w riting many percussion works and performing them in the Bay area in the late 193 0s". "but I don't like what it thinks. I've said before that t hey were airports for shadows and for dust. Schoenberg replied that because of this he would always confront a wall through which he could not pass. Or if it does. and then only after long and careful deliberation. Cage repeatedly stated that he was not interested in shocking or insulting audie nces. 17 Interestingly. when Cage was writing percussion and prepared piano pieces. "not as objects. at the time it was radical. and when he wrote a funny one they started crying." 24 This was a subtle pun. Cage met Henry Cowell whom he showed some of his experiments with a twe nty-five tone row technique he had developed himself. sounds made by conventional musical instruments. I must." 18 Cage was hardly a fool. Richard Lippold remarked. for it was then that Cage tried to reject harmony as an important structural aspect in his music and turned instead to rhythm."20 Cage was relu ctant to write 4'33". He said . but you could also say that they wer e mirrors of the air. i.'"16 Cage felt that Rauschenberg's painti ng gave him "permission" to proceed with the composition of the "silent piece". From this he concluded t hat "music doesn't really communicate to people. we can safe ly discard the notion that Cage's motivations were foolish. whereas. He was the valedictorian of his class at Los Angeles Hig h School. and was constantly lauded thereafter for his intelligence. a courageous act. he decided that he would devote his li fe to "beating my head against that wall. Robert Rauschenberg. especially in 1952. The Turning Point "My work became an exploration of non-intention. because "I didn't want to appear foolish". I said. and th is spirit becomes audible by setting it into vibration. otherwise music is lagging."19 "I love John 's mind. It was. when he wrote a sad piece people laug hed. It seems that he deliberately m ade writing it difficult in order not to appear foolish even to himself. empt y paintings freshly done by his friend.23 Since Cage had already promised Schoenbe rg that he would devote himself to music.

the composer Lou Harrison. had shared this same basis. by only liking certain things and disliking others. and began studying Zen Buddhism with Daisetz T. "You can become narrow min ded. Each being is at the center of the universe. Cage did refer to art following the lead of science. or so that it opens that mind to the world outside.you might say growing up. to open the minds of people who made them or listened to them to other possibilities than they ha d previously considered. i. " No one was un derstanding anybody else. "I had the impression that I was changing -. The following st atement by Cage summarizes this point of view: Art may be practiced in one way or another. are not based upon a mechanical."29 He then determined to find out what w as a "quiet mind" and what were "divine influences". when an Indian student."32 So. His friend. in being themselves. I've thought of music as a means of changing the mi nd. and that the Renaissance idea of selfexpressive art was therefore heretical. She replied that her teacher thought that the purpose of music was to quiet the mind. both Oriental and Western. He asked her what the purpose of music was in India. natural phenomena.ry. But. For eighteen months he imme rsed himself in the philosophy of East and West. This traditional E astern idea of living in harmony with nature contrasts sharply with the Western practice of control and manipulation of the environment. is the Buddha. so I de termined to stop writing music until I found a better reason than 'self expressi on' for doing it."27 He said. "I also came to see that all art before the Renaissance. I saw art not as something that consisted of a communication from the artist to an audience but rather as an activity of sounds in which the artist found a way to let the sounds be themselves. since dislikes requi re likes. was one free of dislikes. Suzuki."3 0 A quiet mind. that Orienta l art had continued to do so right along. How does nature operate? According to one current scientific theory. and to be free from personal taste and manipulation. su ch as in quantum mechanics and chaos theory. and outside inside. so that it reinforces the ego in its likes and dislikes."31 The "divine influences" were the sounds and events tha t were free to everyone. thus making it suscepti ble to divine influences. What then. at least on a microcosmic scale. whether sentient (such as animals) or nonsentient (such as stones a nd air). how is this harmony with nature to be manifested in music? Cage found the a nswer to this question from the works of Ananda Coomaraswamy: "Art is to imitate nature in her manner of operation. music lost its purpose of communication and expression. but you can become open-minded. but one based on indeterminacy and chance. Gita Sarabhai. it must be free of both likes and dislikes. Cage was tremendously struck by this. found a similar statement in a seventeenth-century treati se on English music by Thomas Mace. he determined. Suzuki of the philosophy of Zen Buddhism. literally. I realized that my previous understanding was that of a child. to become aware and sensitized to the environmental sounds that are all around us. And. literally. but to be a process of dis covery. Since the forties and through the study with D. arrived to study Western counterpoint with Cage in exchange for lessons on Indian music.e." This is not to be confused with imitating n ature's appearance. It was clearly pointless to continue that way.T. was its purpose? The answer came about 1946.33 Thus. but. those of nature. very different ways from one person to the next."28 He had determined that the purpose of music could not be co mmunication or self-expression.. the function of music is not to entertain or communicate. and the convergence is an interesting one. Eve ry creature. by giving up your likes and dislikes and becoming interested in things. deterministic model. Cage's study of Buddhism also le d him to the conclusion that "Sounds should be honored rather than enslaved. which an increasing opi nion today sees as the cause of the deterioration of the planet and the quality of modern life. especially since he .

.not to understand. Normally. Chance was used to free the composer from controlling sounds and exercisi ng his personal tastes and choices. t hey are direct analogs to Rauschenberg's white paintings. whereas since I can't hear it while I'm writing it. the goal of the composer is revealed to be primarily that of the miss ionary. Previously. I think this is the b eginning of music. rather than the composer's. I would then have found the environmental sounds off tune. . This concept was first introduced by Eri k Satie in his musique d'ameublement."36 The composer's responsibilit y shifts from self-expression to opening a window for the sounds of the environm ent. ." i.39 However. Another step toward this aesthetic was taken with Cage's dictum that art and lif e should no longer be separate. According to Cage.that the music. there is also an artistic and personal reason for writing music of this aesthetic. Further. developing them into a composition."35 This led to his concept of interpenetration. Most people are blinded by themselves . his likes and dislikes. but are already there around us.40 . Cage was asked why it was necessary to create such music when it is already there? His answer indicates his didactic purpose: "Many people taking a walk wo uld have their heads so full of preconceptions that it would be a long time befo re they were capable of hearing or seeing."37 Thus. because the significance of this stat ement is not normally understood. They hear only what they have chosen to hear.e."34 He said that "it is time to turn the environment into art.41 It is worth dwelling on this for a moment.chose to use indeterminacy and chance in making his music from the time of 4'33 " on. "38 Many people in our society now go around the streets and in the buses and so forth playing radios with earphones on and they don't hear the world around t hem. lacking tonality. as most musicians do. 4'33" is an airport fo r sounds rather than for shadows. I'm able to write something that I've never heard before. I pay no attention to solfege. "Art is not an escape from life. but rather an introduction to it. Ther efore. 4'33" is the ultimate example of interpenetration. free to be heard and free to penetrate the art. It represents a truly radical break with all t raditional ways of making music. or at least works with the sound of some basic ideas. and I think that the end of music may very well be in those r ecord collections. If I heard it when I was writing it. 4'33" can more easily be comprehended as a serious ar twork. I don't hear music whe n I write it. I would have had to take solfege. I can't understand why they c ut themselves off from that rich experience which is free. And if I did hear something before it was audible. I hear it only when it is played. But works that w elcome and include sounds outside of the composer's and performers' intentions a re those that include interpenetration. Solfege and ear training in general are considered requireme nts for a training musician in music curricula around the world. Thus. I would write what I've already heard. nature and life literally become the art. an ear for music. which is revealed in Cage's astonishing confession: Not having. sounds that were outside the composer i ntentions were considered alien intrusions. The "silence" of 4'33" opened the field of "divine influences. unwelcome "noises". With these things in mind. As such. Using chance was literally an imitation of nature's manner of operation. but to be aware. or "furniture music" and was later taken u p commercially by Muzak. "The performance should make clear to the listener that the hearing of the piece is his own action -. "Music is about changing the mind -. Cage said here .. his memories. a composer hears something and then w rites it. so to speak is his. but one and the same. which would have trained me to accept certain pitches and not others. the sounds that are not made intentionally. music could no longer be considered new or "experimental" unless it in corporated interpenetration.

during. 4'33" is indeterminate. and tonality itself.43 In 1962.that it is not just unnecessary. 2. So. and that this was not such a bad thing. etc. Cage also cited his inability to determine and control the preparations used in his prepared piano pieces as a point that helped to turn him toward the use of c hance."44 The Music of Changes (1951). his late music tends to avoid these things. You could go further and say that it IS ecology. He said that he discovered that. perform a disciplined action. He did not hear music before. The score. Cage said that it was written contemporaneously with 4'33". Thus. Cage wrote a 4'33" No. entirely v erbal. No attenti on is to be given to the situation (electronic. musical theatrical). written using the I Ching or Book of Changes. He was working out intellectual conceptions of which he had no idea of how they would sound. nor may any action be the performance of a 'musical composition'. was a product of this i ntellection. as a human species." This is a quasi-theatrical work. Music. 4'33" embraces Cage's radica . . or in part. Cage was not working c ompositionally with sound itself. it is scored and play ed in a conventional way by conventional instruments. states. The sensory. an obligation to others. and Cage invented a new notational system for its notation. our concern today must be to reconstitute it for what it is. have endangered nature. What the piece is trying to say is that everything we do is music.. is of ten cited as the turning point in Cage's aesthetic and method. but a "working together". A final aspect of Cage's philosophy that bears on 4'33" concerns his determinati on to use music as a metaphor for the way a society should behave. and which he did not hear until it was performed. So was the conductor of an orchestra. of interpenet ration. "I'm trying to find a way to make music that does not depend on time . Thus. He confessed here that he coul d not hear what he was writing. It is not played in a conventional way. 4'33" uses the whole field of completely unintentional sounds. namely to that us ing chance. It is a completely different piece. or of the sky from the earth. with any interruptions. And nature is not a separation of water from air. opens the world of environmental sound. . and its primary distinction in sound is the provision of maximum amplification and an indefinite length. We acted against it. . This would normally be considered a handicap to a composer. The title 0'00" refers to unmeas ured time. as I conceive it. the incessa nt beat that keeps much of our conventional music together was analogous to a ki nd of military organization. [It's] nothing but the continuation of one's daily work ."42 To Cage. He wrote the music in order to hear how it (the notation) sounded . or a "playing together" of t hose elements. Although composed with chance operations. . No two performances are to be of the same acti on. or even afte r he wrote it. was like a dictatorship. That is what we call ecology. which is also titled 0'00". to say the least. and it is not played by conven tional instruments. Thus. the so unds of the preparations could not entirely be determined no matter how much one would try to control them. however. but rather its "instruments" are the sounds of the environme nt. 4'33". but the Music of Changes is a more conventional work and one that is certainly easier to take seriously. . is ecologi cal. produces sound. "I was intent on making something that didn't tell people what to do. "to be performed in any way by anyone". Cage even attributed ecological significance to 4'33": We. so that everything I'm doing apart from what I'm saying. but the Music of Changes is not (see "Composition"). but with mathematical structures that would em body and animate sounds. we ha ve rebelled against its existence. fulfilling in whole. because every piano is different. "In a situation provided with maximum amplification (no feedback) . the dominance of a central ton e. but undesirable. or can become music t hrough the use of microphones. . of which the Music of Changes uses none. then.

It was here that Rauschenberg did his Whi te Paintings (1951) and Cage first saw them. . The original Woodstock manuscript. and 1'40". It was here that t he first multimedia "happening" occurred. It is he re referred to as the Woodstock ms. The original was on music paper. because they didn't know how to listen. There's no such thing as silence. It specifies the movement lengths as: 30". where he had been invited to participate as a tea cher and composer in this rural. Irwin Kremen. This is probably because of the precedent set by the premiere performance. it has existed in at least six different versions (two different manuscripts and four different editi ons). containing measures of silence. as such.just blank measures. it was reproduced in Peters edition 6777a. and worked with oth er important figures in the art world. It is. You could hear the wind stirring outside during t he first movement. where each movement was drawn as a time line in w hich each second is equal to an eighth of an inch. raindrops began pattering the roof. with staffs. It has three movements and in all of the movements there are no (intentional) sounds. I wanted my work to be free of my own likes and dislikes. 1. it is the true pivotal point of his aesthetic change.45 They (the audience) missed the point. at least the one I like the most. usually done as a piano piece. although only two of these are different in performance. and possibly unprecedented in the history of m usic. It was this score that David Tudor used for the premiere performance.and the time was easy to compute. 4'33" is written for any instrument or combination of instruments. space-time notation. I n 1993. It was also here that Cage planned work on Will iams Mix and first used the time bracket notation that became so prevalent in hi s later music. Composition I think perhaps my own best piece. Thus. Wh at they thought was silence (in 4'33"). and du ring the third the people themselves made all kinds of interesting sounds as the y talked or walked out. I have felt and hoped to have led other people to feel that the sounds of their environment constitute a music which is more interesting than the music which th ey would hear if they went into a concert hall. Tudor made at least two reconstructions of this score for his own performances.47 The second manuscript (1953) was a birthday gift to Cage's friend. Curiously. and. private-school environment. But the time was there . howeve r. notated exactly like the Music of Changes except that the tempo never changed. and it was laid out in measu res like the Music of Changes except there were no notes. It was written in graphic.l new aesthetic more completely than any of his other works. Cage's work prior to 4'33" is based on a radically different aesthetic from thos e that came after it. is now lost and was writte n in conventional grand staff notation. was full of accidental sounds. is th e silent piece. During the second. in which m any of the faculty participated. provoking 4'33". The tempo was 60. because I think music should be free of the feelings and ideas of the composer. Cage's Theater Piece No.46 4'33" was written in the summer of 1952 just after Cage returned to New York Cit y from Black Mountain College. dated August 1952. This is one of Cage's earlies t graphic scores. The score is in three movements. 2'23". 4'33" marks a change in musical philosophy that is u nprecedented during his lifetime. no rests -. since the score does not specify a piano or any oth er instrument. and is here referred to as the Kremen ms (Kremen manuscript). and there were no occurrences -.

6777a (1993). the endings by opening. it is nea rly the same as the first. 1986) 33" 2'40" 1'20" 4'33" proportions: 12% 58% 29% Why do the timings differ? Why are the movement lengths different in the Tacet E ditions? The Woodstock ms was lost sometime after the first performance at Woods . 6777 (1960).) A fourth version was a facsimile of the Kremen ms. and that they were made in error. and 1'20". This raises an important question: Why would he give incorrect timings for the Woodstock perfor mance? (A proposition is given below.. 2'40". and was printed in Source in July. the original timings were not 33". is the one that is most we ll known and used by performers and is now out of print. here designated First Tacet Edition. N. FOR IRWIN KREMEN JOHN CAGE This statement is very curious. The author has not seen a manuscript version of this edition. 2'40". 4'33" I II III Total Woodstock ms (1952). but 30". Here referred to as the Second Tacet Edition. Kremen ms (1953) & Edition (1993) 30" 2'23" 1'40" 4'33" proportions: 11% 52% 37% Tacet Editions (1960. It is here referred to as the Source Edition. and 1'20". Below that is the following statement: NOTE: The title of this work is the total length in minutes and seconds of its performance.Y. August 29. with the important exception that it was printed in C age's own calligraphy. A fifth version. 1952. the title was 4'33" and t he three parts were 33". but reduced in size. 1967. 2'40". It was performed by David Tudor. 2'23". The proportions shown are the percentages of t he total length. which is an exact reproduction of th e Kremen ms. published by Henmar Press in 1986 curiously carries the same Pe ters listing (No. It is also significant that Cage does not state that the piece was recomposed.A third version. the work may be performed by (any) instrumentalist or combination of instrumentalists and last any length of time. The timings Cage gave here for the Woodstock per formance are not correct. with the following statement added before the last senten ce of the above: After the Woodstock performance. and 1'20" but the ones Cage made for the Kremen ms. Source Edition (1967). sinc e the original was lost. and 1' 40". This is a puzzling statement. The following table shows the movement lengths for the two different timings rep resented in the various versions. Additionally. a copy in proportional notation was made for Irwin Kremen. who indicated the beginnings of parts by closing. 6777). pian ist. In performance it is the same as the original K remen ms. 2'23". At Woodstock. One possible hypothesis is t hat the Tacet Editions were secondary. t he keyboard lid. Peters No.) Of what i s the Kremen edition a copy? It could not have been a copy of the original. A sixth version is Peters No. In it the timelengths of the movements were 30". It is a typewritt en score that simply lists the three movements with Roman numbers with the word "TACET" (silent) below each. How could one have been a copy of the other when t he timings were different? (The timings are the essence of the piece. It is referred to here as the Kremen Edition. However. and 1'40". because the original printed program shows that the ti mings were not 33".

Through coin tosses. (D. . I had a list of the durations. . (D. because Cage. Since the composition process was identical to that in M usic of Changes. I attempted to find out what had happened.author comment].O.'' And I asked him if I could perform it. David Tudor seemed to have corroborated the first conjecture in an interview wit h Reinhard Oehlscha"gel: (R. in 1948. The first score of the p iece was dedicated to me. referred to his desire to compose a silent piece that was four and a half minutes in length. that one must conclude that Cage did not use chance for the t imings of the Tacet Editions. and further stating that the piece can have any duration.) Either Cage apparently then felt the need t o reconstruct a score for 4'33". John Cage decided to compose a piece for Irwin Kremen. could the movements come out to be so similar in length? And. (R. rather than using the Tacet Edition timings. (It remains lost to this day. that the total length came out to be exactly the same with the two different timings? Cage himself never said that he recomposed the piece. and sell it to Muzak. It is clear that he had composed the piece again with the same rhythmic structure. but with differe nt durations.:) Later. by the methods he used before. That was 1982 in a concert with the title ''Wall to Wall John Cage''. (R. . So he asked me for my copy (of the score) because that was the only one in which the rhythmic structure had been notated. or he was simply remembering the timings of the original edition and performance incorrect ly.:) Then I looked through my programs and found that I had played the piece in Darmstadt at least once. and the Tacet Editions are secondary. Then. even numbers meant: no tones.5 minute le .T. At the beginning. It seems that the 4. using chance operations. as c ited earlier. he said: ''I do n't know about this piece . that is a very complicated story. 48 But. and there I dis covered that the durations did not agree with those that are published in the Ir win Kremen draft.:) In Symphony Space in New York. (D. no. perhaps rebuildi ng the whole composition again note by note. but that they were his mistaken recollection of th e original timings.T. the re is a page with instructions about the original durations. how does it h appen. It is no wonder that Tudor made his own versions of the original. he lost my copy. he received the answer that exclusively even numbers should appear. And to ma ke the story even more complex: in the first version published by John Cage.O. I had just been asked to perform the piece in its original form. is it "clear" that Cage recomposed the piece with chance operations? How. Some years later [actually only months later -.:) It is dedicated to an Irwin Kremen. t hen.:) That means the lengths of the three movements with headlines.:) No.tock. Ther e are so many problems with the interpretation that Cage recomposed 4'33" using chance operations. how can all even numbers add up to an odd number like 4'33"? It seems unlik ely that the piece turned out to be 4'33" by chance. And then I made a new score with the original durations. by chance.T. Wh at is now clear is that the Kremen Edition faithfully represents the original ve rsion.49 But. Concerning the original composition Tudor then continued: I then did some detective work and discovered that as part of the composit ional process he had asked the I Ching about the relationship between even and u neven numbers.O.

Through the use of fractions (e. 5. There are many tables for pi tches and durations. A pertinent statement about this came from the David Tudor/Reinhard Oehlscha"gel interview: (R.T. 6.5 cm equals a crotchet).:) Did you ask John how he made it? (D. and Cage described as pects of the process in Silence. It was a standard length for Muzak's commercial pieces. as were the other chanc e works composed before 4'33".O. half. the notation wa s to be played as written. This s eems to call the whole process into question. It was no tated using chance operations. and sounds. All the work was done with chance opera tions. When added.75. tempi. That was done in an elaborate way. but once the score was completed. for the purposes of musical composition. The not e stem appears in space at a point corresponding to the appearance of the sound in time. before he rolled the m etaphorical dice. I built it up very gradually. 5.and I just m ay have made a mistake in addition. superpositions. in which case the player is to use his or her own discretion. a number very close to the 30" used for the first movement of 4'33". He said that the process was complicated for th e Music of Changes. In the charts for durations there are sixty-four elements (since silence a lso has length). 1/3. That is naturally a paradox. Perhaps the memory was very beautiful . I was in the process of writing the M usic of Changes. durations. Thus. but it is not indeterminate. these numbers total 29. dotted half and whole note up to 1/8.625.12554 .ngth was already in Cage's mind. but for 4'33" he only used the eight dura tions charts.:) Aha.John's memory of the first throw of the dice or coin s?50 In Cage's account of the compositional process for 4'33".O. The specific details of process that were used to construct the Music of Changes (and 4'33") have been reconstructed by James Pritchett52. but that these were somehow correlated with fractions and that the charted durations were summations of these fractions (hence "segmented")."55 Music of Changes is a chance composition. that is if one reads at the tempo. 53 From this we can tell that a simple toss of coins was not sufficient to determin e the durations. Cage in dicates in his book Silence that he made this piece after the ''white paintings' ' of Robert Rauschenberg. these durations are. Indeterminacy is defined as mu . When I wrote 4'33". The chance o perations used in the Music of Changes sometimes yielded "impossible requirement s. Th e rhythmic structure for the Music of Changes (and presumably also for 4'33") wa s 3. That sounds as if it was not a pure chance throw of th e dice.. the performance of Music of Changes is complete ly determined by the chance operations used to write it. (R. 1/3 + 3/5 + 1/2) measu red following a standard scale (2. 3. so that chance generates conditions in which choice must be exercised. a beautiful one perhaps. possibly subconsciously. This would rule out tempi changes that would complicate the tempor al durations for 4'33". Chance music is here defined as music in which ch ance operations are used to determine its notation and the score determines the greater part of how the music is to be performed. where nothing resulted.75. practically infinite in number. and for amplitudes.75. involving 26 different charts for pitches. "I didn't kno w I was writing 4'33".g. and it came out to be 4'33" -.:) Yes. dynamics. Cage was charged by Henr y Cowell with not fully liberating himself from his tastes."51 . 6. rather that it was already an idea. or changing tempo indicated. simple additi ons of fractions is the method employed for the generating of durations. he said. 6. Given f ractions of a quarter.

except there were no sounds -.sic in which the composer and/or performer cannot foresee the greater part of th e result of a performance. It was done like a piece of m usic. and materials.the concepts of non-intention and interpenetration are most critical. and how did he determin e the length of each? Three movements seems unlikely to have been a toss of the dice.56 This statement confirms that Cage placed the aesthetic conditions of the Music o f Changes firmly in the Western tradition. . on which there were durations.but there were durations. printed in Silence: This is a lecture on music which is indeterminate with regard to its perfo rmance. because. I wrote it note by note. though only sounds.shuffling them.. structure. In the Music of Changes.) Chance was used by Cage to free the composer from controlling sounds. more importantly. and three movements add up to 4'33". thus representing a radical change of aesthetics. which is the note-to-note procedure.e. but the content (unintentional environmental sound s) was indeterminate. that Cage regarded as the radical departure from aesthetic tradition. Though no two perfor mances of the Music of Changes will be identical . just like the Music of Changes [1951]. . Three or four movement works are the norm."57He went on to explain that each movement was built up with short notes all of which were silent and determined by chance. . Though chance operations brought about the determina tion of the composition. not chance. 4'33" is also one of Cage's first chance works. i. . gives the work the alarming quality of a Fr ankenstein monster. two performances will re semble one another closely. . or the amplitude tables. are all determined. since improvisors continuously make choices that are determined by their likes and dislikes. form. which is made up of non-intentional sounds. but. It is indeterminacy. that's what I did. I didn't have to bother with the pitch tables. these operations are not available in its performance. although composed with chanc e operations. Cage wrote in his lecture on "Indeterminacy". That's how I knew how long it was when I added the notes up. The Music of Changes is an object more inhuman than human. which is the division of the whole into parts. it is still very determined.. William Fetterman helped Cage recollect that 4'33" was not written exclusively w ith the I Ching (which was probably used to determine the "note" durations) but also with the use of Tarot cards. and they intentionally make sound s. Indeterminacy opened the field of music to non-intentional so unds -.a nd using the Tarot to know how to use them. the sounds and silences of the composition. have come together to c ontrol a human being. it was th e first that was completely free of any intentional sounds. . . How did Cage decide that there would be three movements. But. and I built up the silence of each movement. The Music of Changes is not an example. It was dealing th ese -. I actually used the same method of working [as in the Music o f Changes]. improvisation does not involve either chance or indeterminacy. All I had to do was work with th e durations. not the exception. method. . which when concern ed with human communication only move from Frankenstein monster to Dictator. the performer. (Cage oft en used the word "experimental" interchangibly with "indeterminate". The Intersection 3 by Morton Feldman is an example. embracing interpenet ration and indeterminacy. the masterpieces of which are its most frightening examples. the formal struct ure was determined by chance. and then dealing them -. The card-spread was a complicated on . Thus. the morphology of the continuity. This situation is of course characteristic of Western music. to free him of his l ikes and dislikes. It seems idiotic.The fact t hat these things that constitute it. their tastes and memories. which is the expressive content. By Cage's standard. and some bel ieve that this is an allusion to the traditional sonata. "In the case of 4'33".

The difference. Each of these horseshoes may have represented a movem ent. the Tacet Edition s would seem to be bogus. in the painting the temporal dimension is a . and all of the white paintings are of a uniform color and texture.5"x11". is that the equivalent "panels" in his score vary in width. the second movement would have been only 50" long. [Question: Why did you use the Tarot rather than the I Ching?] Probably to balance East with West. However. but have not seen Rauschenberg's paintings. something big.75" per card. (a) (left) Robert Rauschenberg: White Painting. Rauschenberg did a series of these white paintings. Where Cage used the width as graphical representations of time l engths (1 page=7 inches=56 seconds).. The or iginal is 8. unbeknownst to Cage. if the range was . if the timing range w as this small then the other movements could not have turned out to be as long a s they are. This would seem to co rroborate the proposition that the Tacet Editions could not have been recomposed by chance operations. in form. He left instructions that they should be repainted from time to ti me to maintain their fresh. (1951). and I was using the Tarot because it was Western. in possession of the artist. an average of 2. how Cage knew when a movement was finished. 72"x36" each. It could sho w how each movement was built up with short silent "notes". I didn't use the [actual] Tarot cards.5" to 5".58 Cage pointed to this particular Tarot card formation when shown a number of poss ible configurations: This is one of the most complex configurations and is arranged in three groups o f concentric "horseshoes". copyright 1993 by Henmar Press Inc. If the range was much larger. They vary from on e to seven or more panels. uniform. This seems to answer many questions about the composition of 4'33". and definitely have a greater impact on what we hear. say . why there are three movements. Cage drew vertical lines to demark the boundaries of t he movements. e. even with the use of Tarot cards. one for each movement. However. There is the matter of the two different timings. The two works are placed side by side to show their visual resemblance. as well as some black ones. (b) (right) The Kremen Edition (Peters No. or to those who have seen neither. The odds of coming this close through the use of chance operations are remote unless the ti ming range on the cards was small. and these resemble the vertical lines of the edges of Rauschenberg 's canvas. Three Panels. in 1951-52. white color. I was just using those ideas. 30" versus 33" for the first movement. Another interpretation comes from an examination of Robert Rauschenberg's White Paintings that inspired the execution of a score for 4'33".g. and why the first stops a t 30". it was the most well-known chance thing known in the West of that oracular natu re. reduced in size) showing the first movement of 4'33". 6777a. This will probably c ome as a shock to those who may have seen the Kremen Edition. In some ways these questions seem to carry more import than the chance pr ocess used to create the silences.e. we can assume that the T arot cards were used for the original composition and this explains the determin ation of three movements. 72"x 108" overall. then it is unlikely that the two d ifferent timings would have come out so closely in length. which if completely reproduced here would resemble the three panel s. However. Thus. with the cards themselves each bearing a duration that could have been adde d to give the total length of each movement. there are problems with this interpretation.5" to 5". For example. considering the number of cards involved. One is immediately struck by the resemblance of the above painting to Cage's gra phical score.

It seems reasonable that. especially considering the ot her relations mentioned. which is found in many works of art and is found as an approxim ation in the Fibonacci series of numbers. which were "airports for shadows". thereby creating a musical space-time analogue of the pa intings. Why. that space on a page is equivalent t o time." 61 This is the precise defini tion of ?. Therefore. like Rauschenberg's panels. through the use of chance operations. quite close to Rausch enberg's proportions. which is more economical and has only a minimal vertical dimens ion. Cage could have used a notation like that of his "tim e bracket" type. almost exactly the proportio n found in the painting."60 This method would also make sense with the total length. of the the total width. Could it be that the length of the first movement of Cage's score (30" in the Kr emen Edition) approximated the width of Rauschenberg's 36" panels. permits division of both sixty-four and each eigh . It seems unlikely that this correlation between Rausche nberg's painting and 4'33" could be a coincidence. but he used it in his music. 4'33". Another remarkable correlation between Rauschenberg's painting and the 4'33" con cerns their overall proportions. or two-thirds. This r epresentation of the music may seem puzzling at first. appr oximately 61. then. The width of the first two panels of Rauschenbe rg's panels comprise 66. Continuing. John Cage not only k new of ?. The first two movements of the Kremen ms total 63% of the total length.g.5%. proud to have composed the piece. The first two movements of the Tacet editions total 70% of the total length. had to the whole. because it was similar to the paintings. and those graphic notations led other people to invite me to make graphic works apart from music. The Kremen ms proportion is closest to an ideal ?. Cage continued construct ing the movement until he came to a length that approximated the width of one of Rauschenberg's panels. while being faithful to the use of chance operations. The proportion was used consciously by other composers of Cage's acquaintance. also close to the painting's proportions. the result is 66. the long vertical lines? It seems only reasonable that he was us ing this particular graphic representation as an analogue of Rauschenberg's pain tings. although he does not name it. he stated "For instance 64. since it equals eight eights. indeed. because one second of sound is so many inches on tape. or fields for sounds. In Composition in Retrospect he stated "C oncerning symmetry horizontal or vertical. Time here is measured horizontally across the page. It is the first of Cag e's works to bear a title of minutes and seconds.. within a 2% error. being an approxi mation of the length of Muzak's commercial pieces (four and a half minutes) proj ected by Cage in the "Silent Prayer" predecessor of 4'33".8%. That means that the old meters of tw o. what I thought of was a rhythmic stru cture in which the small parts had the same proportion to each other that the gr oups of units. They don't represent anything essential to the music si nce pitch is not involved. The Kremen ms proportion is also close to that of the Golden Section. 59 This could. and four are no longer necessary. e. three. and which would other wise seem to be an unlikely coincidence. If the Kremen and T acet proportions are averaged. in a certain way. be the origin of the title for 4'33". Cage simply ended the piece wh en he came to a total length (the small parts of which were determined by chance operations) that approximated the 4. where the large "panels" represent the "airports". the large parts. I began doing graphic notations. because the long vertical lines seem unnecessary. David Tudor remar ked. Karlheinz Stockhausen.5 minutes that he already had in mind. at the same t ime equating space (inches) with time (seconds)? In the late forties and early fifties it became clear that there is a correspond ence between time and space.7%.bsent and irrelevant. And those led me in turn to make musical scores that were very graphic. or ?. Many others followed. And music is not isolated from [space]. "He was. That is.

In a very real sense it was conceptually a radica lly new piece. 5. Why weren't chance operations used to obtain one number for each movement. etc. leaving the movement le ngths undetermined in the process? It seems that Cage had not completely divorce d himself from thinking of composition conventionally when he wrote 4'33"."64 "I think what we need in the field of music is a very long performance of that work. . a theater piece . by adding enough notes together. in philosophical hindsight. the most radic al in the best sense of that often misapplied word. 2. 13. It presents the impression that time is pa ssing. shows a m ore radical vision. which may have been the cause of it. (Perhaps this was the "mistake" he referred to in I-VI." 65 If the length is insignificant." he said. The time notation eliminated the discrete point (the note) as a time indic ator and made time a function of linear space. as he told me in 1994. Tudor's performances are the most reserved and faithful to the a . Of these. then why spend "several days to w rite it"? And.e. in part. These include a wide variety of performance pract ices. made the 1953 score. as Irwin Kremen has pointed out: The score that John dedicated to me in 1953 was a thunderclap. build ing the composition note by note. that it is. The 1953 score.. in itself. the score John gave me completely blotted that out. Whatever the score was that David used. Whereas David used a score at the 1952 Woodstock concert that was. It is. in graphic notation. however remarkable the concert may have been as an experien ce. was the boldest possible. and are part of the Fibonacci series 1. a total ity was created that conformed. no mere variant of 1952.) This. William Fetterman recounts a number of performances of 4'33" in John Cage's Thea ter Pieces (see bibliography). rathe r than laboriously "building it up" with short silences. this new way of in dicating time and the emptiness of the score. Perhaps he realized the mistake of the two different timings and decided that it really didn't matter after all.t into three. the complete elimination of Western Musical notation. as a musical event. It separated the old from the new. It is very important to read the notation. points to another change in compositional philosophy after writing 4'33". Thus. It was not a copy of the Woodstock score. Performance of 4'33" David Tudor gave us an important insight into the performance conditions of 4'33 ": John Cage had been recently asked about the piece and that he had said tha t it was very important to understand that every note of the piece had been comp osed. . It was the further growth of his idea after Woodstock and constituted a Herculean blow to the musical past. Both together. very important to understand that he ha d completed a compositional process in order to produce this piece . i. "so that we can listen at any time to what there is to hea r. two. ." 62 These are the Fibonacci numbers 2 and 3 combin ed to make 5 and 8. 3. at least in one way. and three. The Kremen ms.66 This suggests that both Tudor and Cage felt that a score is essential to the per formance of 4'33" (including page turning). Cage did not regard the length of the movements as important.6 3 Later. . conventionally notat ed and included all the measures. to what he learned from Sch oenberg and the Western tradition. in which each consecutive pair of numbers is summed to get the next number and in which each pair is an increasingly more precise approximation of ?. The act of the performer reading a score serves to alert and sensitize the per former and audience to the fact that something is happening. "It can be any length. although titled the same. 8.It was most likely because C age later realized that a fixed temporal frame was not necessary for this work. why have specific lengths at all? -. it was still in the ol d musical tradition.

oboe. non-obtrusive action should be taken to mark the separate movemen ts. and respectful. The-Ge-ano Ensemble used piano. The reactions of the audience and the sounds of the environment became the music. . preferably the Kremen Edition. yet serious. Jun e 1979. that I accept all the inte ntional self-expressive actions and works of people as suitable interruptions of this other activity. but a piece for any instrument or instruments. I don't believe that a bad. that the formal structur e of 4'33" can be violated. or any other. props (brig ht orange chair). I don't mean by the silent piece. . however. In Stuttgart. intentional sounds. This does not mean. These need no t total 4'33". thoughtless.67 Such productions are clear violations of the Cage's aesthetic intentions. Cage replied that it could be of any length. where the piece was virtually unknown. Either the prescribed timings of the Kremen edition should be used or timings should be constructed for three movements using chance operations. distracti ons are created that focus attention on the performers. choreography. Some simple. intentional sounds. page turner. with page turns (but no t a separate page-turner). and extraneous actions. At William Pett erson College in Wayne. Jeffry Kresky choreographed a n elaborate drama with costumes (a red-haired girl in purple dress).. adjustments of st op-watch. For example. I used the Sou . unintent ional sounds. from performing it as one movement (or as several) to choreographing it as theater. . . The three separate movements. Avoid all distracting.esthetics and score instructions. in April 1985. focused. with their respective timings. During a performance at the No rth Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. 4'33" can be a very effective and evocative work in a concert setting. Instea d of focusing attention on the environmental and unintentional sounds. I premier ed it in Tucson in 1973. extraneous actions. The performers' demeanor and part in the music should be passive. e tc. . handkerchief wipes of the brow. student s threw paper airplanes and deliberately made noises. undevoted perform ance of one of my works is a performance of it. . A score should be used. and a female vocalist in which the players mimed playing their instruments during the performance. I do not recommend the spurious timings of the Tacet Editions. New Jersey. and that it must be in three movements. . attentive. that could detract from focusing attention upon the environmental. A stopwatch should be used to keep track of the movement lengths. It' s reputation as strictly a piano piece needs to be overcome by more performances on other instruments. static. e ach of which would announce the movement number. and reserved. in the summer of 1970. Liberties are sometimes taken with the music. a performer could display three large cards on a music stand. that th e durations of the movements must be determined by some type of chance procedure . 4'33" is not a piano piece. should be listed in the printed program. He said that it would still be titled 4'33". etc.68 When asked about the disparity in time lengths of the scores. Germany.69 Performance Recomendations .

Lid open -. Intentional sounds and egocentr ic actions have no place here. "What really pleases me in that silent piece is that it c an be played any time. He was quite critical of "bad performances" o f his music. evoking a few chuckles.end of 4'33". and another page was turned. and 4'33" was no exception. and aware that it was meant to be this way. He said. 4'33" requires a serious. focused. Cage's aversion to recordings is well known. quiet. Close the lid -. but it seemed much longer. They were clearly enjoying it. The piece was played in the middle of an otherwi se conventional music program.5 minutes. along with Mozart and Beethoven. devoted listene . only about a half minu te."silent" some would say. turning pages as I went. I lifted the keyboard lid when each movement beg an and closed it when it ended. a standing ovation. with contrapuntal conversations. It is easy to fall victim to the error that anything goes in this piece. It has become an icon of th e modern era. about 2. and other soun ds. But. No one left the hall. Although several recordings of 4'33 " now exist. Only a singular. with occasio nal sounds from the audience -. it is a t abula rasa in which not everything is permitted. What was greeted with "a hell of an uproar. a whisper there. Sounds were heard from outside the hall. make sounds. And each time you do. the hall was very quie t. now that people knew what to expect. and. along with a stop-watch.third movemen t. The movement seemed to be of a light. greeted with resounding approval. one could ac tually feel the tension building in the hall. at once synonymous with Cage in the popular imagination. This movement was calm. airy character.a giggle here. The lid was closed again. The first movement is the shortest. and definitely more relaxed. very much alive. and open mind that is willing to put aside preconceptions and embrace the universe o f sound as music. with increasin g tension and a climax near the end. even in this "s ilent piece". whispers. It was like a long silence during a phone conversation. It was very quiet -. but it actually seemed shorter than th e first. Ego and guile have no place here. was expecting the usual performance ritual. of course. but only comes alive when you play it. Even Cage's mother remarked to Earle Brown. the fastest of the three. At the outset of the first movement. and Cage with it. The p erformer is dispensible and so is the audience. There was a tremendous burst of applause from the audience. "Now Earle."72 Conclusion 4'33" continues to baffle and confound people today. don't you think that John has gone too far this time?"70 Cage said that he lost friends because of this p iece71. which was completely unexpected. but opposite of Tudor. But when this didn't happen. in this sense. I would say that the first movement had a defined shape and content. The piano was the medium. This probably would have pleased him. a blank slate upon which the world of unintended sounds writes its music. giggles. reverent. it is like a tabula rasa. the mood changed. People were now participating fr eely. On opening the lid to begin the second movement. at the 1954 New York City premiere. infuriating most of the audience" in 1952 was then. It was listed in the printed program as 4'33" by John Cage along with a list of the separate mov ements and their timings. Conversations we re punctuated by quiet moments. in 1973. coughs. The audience. it is an experience of being very.rce Edition. This movement had its own character as well. as I sat in silence. It is music that is completely fr ee of intentional sounds. The tension curve dropped dramatically. The crowd was now more relaxed. I was su pposed to play something. it is unlikely that he would have approved of them. I closed the keyboard lid and turned the page to the second movement. Cage wa s clear that this is not the case. This mo vement is the longest.

52 26. "A Composer's Confessions (1948) in Kostelanetz. in Tomkins 1965. Cage conversation with Lars Gunnar Bodin & Bengt Emil Johnson. 67 17. 85 41. in Kostelanetz 1988. in Kostelanetz 1988. Cage 1981. Cage conversation with Bill Womack (1979). Originally published in Alphonse Allais. Russolo 1916. in Kostelanetz 1988. 43 14b. 66. Cage. in letter to P. Tomkins 1965. 14 9. 212 36. in Kostelanetz 1993. 43 13. Cage "A Composer's Confessions" (1948). 45 38. 164. in Kostelanetz 1988. 376-381 15. 211 35.H. Cage. 74 43. "An Autobiographical Statement" in Kostelanetz. 66 4. in Kostelanetz 1988. Cage conversation with Stanley Kaufman (1966). It begs for our attention upon th e preciousness of our environment. 1993. 5 25. in Kostelanetz 1988. Tomkins 1965. boundless in time. in Gena 1982. Cage conversation with Robin White (1978). 166 2. Paris. 22 37. Cage at the University of Cincinnati (1968). Cage. 43 14. 4'33" has no precedent in the history of music and it is probably history's most radical break with aesthetic tradition. in Kostelanetz 1988. 100 31. in Kostelanetz 1971. 117 19. 42 34. 66 12. it is eternal . "Experimental Music" (1957) in Cage 1961. Gillmor 1988. Cage. Cage conversation with Ev Grimes (1984). in Kostelanetz 1988. in Kostelanet z 1988. Cage conversation with Maureen Furman (1979). Cage conversation with Michael John White (1982). in Kostelanetz 1988. 189 8. 231 32. 44 10. Cage. Cage conversation with Jeff Goldberg (1976). 1993. Cage conversation with Joseph H. in Kostelanetz 1988. in Revill 1992. in Kostelanetz 1988. Cage. 99 30. in Kostelanetz 1988. in Kostelanetz 1988. 229 44. 119 6. in Kostelanetz 1988. 74 20. Cage conversation with Cole Gagny & Tracy Caras (1980). Cage conversation with Ev Grimes (1984). Cage conversation with Don Finegan (1969). Since it is "continuous".r is needed. in Kostelanetz 1988. Cage conversation with Stephen Montague (1982). in Tomkins 1965. Cage conversation with David Cope (1980). in Revill 1992. in Kostelanetz 1988. Lang. see also Cage "Experimental Music" (1957) in Cage 1961. Cage conversation with Lisa Low (1985). Cage conversation with Alan Gillmor & Roger Shattuck (1973). 26 16. Cage conversation with William Duckworth. 235 40. Cage conversation with Michael Zwerin (1982). 164 18. Cage conversation with Michael John White (1978). Tomkins 1965. in Kostelanetz 1988. 215 29. 227 42. Cage. Cage. Revill 1992. 1966. Oeuvres posthume s. Cage conversation with Alan Gillmor (1976). 31 23. Revill 1992. in Kostelanetz 1988. 69-70 . in Kostelanetz 1988.2. Dick Higgins 1998 27. 13-15 11. 232 33. It is music that attempts to express nothing and to communicate nothing and yet expresses and communicates everything. 5 24. Notes 1. 120 28. Cage. without beginning or end. 212 39. 8 7. Cage 1990. v. La Table Ronde. in conversation with Jeff Goldberg (1976). 241 22. 166 5. Cage 1981. 120 21. Cage. 119 3. Mazo (1983). Revill 1992. Tomkins 1965. in Duckworth 1995. in Kostelanetz 1988.

Cage 1990. "Ev Grimes Interviews John Cage". Cage 1990. 4 8 60. Music Educators Journal Nov 1986. ed. 1982. Kostelanetz. 36 57. . 1995. Kostelanetz. personal E-mail correspondence with the author. Revill 1992. 1982. in Fetterman. 69-72. MusikTexte. 7 63. Russolo. Escati Free Counter . Cage. 1992. Amsterdam: Harwood. Peter and Jonathan Brent. The Art of Noises. Cage 1990. (translated by Daniel Wolf. Revill. in I-VI. 1996. John Cage's Theater Pieces. 6. Richard. 72 59. Pritchett 1993. 1990. The Music of John Cage. 1965. 69-72 51. Nov 1986. William. ed. 78-88 53. Cage conversation with John Kobler (1968). Cage. William. 72 48. Duckworth. 1997 64. MusikTexte Ap 1997. 1988. Conversing with Cage. Fetterman. John. personal E-mail correspondence with the author Gillmor. Cage conversation with Niksa Glio (1972). Heft 69/70. Cage. John. in Fette rman 1996. 135 56. 1993. David. 69-72 67. 100 66. Richard. Irwin Kremen in personal correspondence with the author. 59 54. in Kostelanetz. 65 46. NY:Norton. 178 71. 1993. Dick. MusikTexte Ap 1997. in Music Educators Journal. The Roaring Silence. 1986. Fetterman. 1997. Cage 1990. Notations and Performances . Luigi. Cage conversation with William Duckworth. Higgins. 1916. Alan M. Cage 1981. New York: Limelight. 1988. 1996. 1982. 83 68. The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures. New York: Arcade. 1961. James. Talking Music. 1965. 1981. "U"ber John Cage". in Conversation with Daniel Charles. 80 70. 1996. 20-21 52. New York: C. 15 69. in Kostelanetz 1982. Silence. Cambridge: Harvard . Peters. Composition in Retrospect. 1971. 1996. 26 65. CT: Wesleyan University Press. Boston: Ma rion Boyars. 69-72 49. 69-72 50. Revill. David Tudor in a telephone interview with William Fetterman (1989). 1998. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1992. New York: Schirmer Fetterman. in Monographs in Musicology No. Tomkins. 1988. Calvin. ed. New York: Limelight. Cage in conversation with Ev Grimes. A John Cage Reader. 69-72 61. in Duckworth. 1995. 7 62. Cage 1990.. Irwin. 1961. Cage. The Bride & the Bachelors New York: Penguin/Viking. Cage.F. MusikTexte Ap 1997. 21 58. MusikTexte Ap 1997. Gena. For the Birds. Cage. Kostelanetz. 69-70 47. Kremen. Richard. Pritchett 1993. Cage conversation with Jeff Goldberg (1974). Cambridge: Exact Change. Middletown. 83 55. John Cage: Writer. tran slated by Barclay Brown. Pendragon Press. John. MusikTexte Ap 1997. John Cage. John.) Pritchett. in Kostelanetz 1982. UK: Allen Lane The Penguin Press.45. June 17. 1961. 1982. 153 References Cage. Erik Satie. 23 72. Cage.