Thursday, May 6, 2010

4'33''

Since we are talking about the arts at the moment, we might do well to think beyond the visual arts for interesting examples. Like music...

The composer John Cage produced a piece in 1952 called 4'33'', which consists of 4 minutes and 33 seconds of... well, the performer sitting at a piano and doing nothing except opening it at the beginning and closing it at the end (actually there are supposed to be three "movements").

As you can imagine, some people were outraged by such a piece of "music". They thought it was a "con", or a joke or a hoax. But let us not be totally dismissive at the start - what about some of the characteristics of art that you identified in your lessons last week? Would it be possible to comment on this example using any of them? Let's try and see if we can get anywhere.

43 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. They say Art should imitate real life; Art should at least give us an idea of what a person is feeling, it should guide us to view certain things in a way that the artist viewed them.
    About this man, John Cage, this is a man who was born in a family of let’s say 'artists' the father was an inventor the mother ' journalist' and he had an aunt who could play the piano from :( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cage)
    Perhaps his 4'33'' in 1956 weirdly made him famous as an artist. This piece of "art" composed three movements of which are performed without a single note being played. The content of the composition is meant to be perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, rather than merely as four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence.
    Okay, after paying for a ticket to go and watch performance viewers were obviously shocked to see such poor performance. Now this performance is called an art because of its unique nature in making people feel differently about a certain thing. For me after watching the video, the silence was just too much, there is just nothing, no movement and people are just watching , staring to see if Cage has something better to show them. Well, I do not intend to be rude but the "art" is rather unusual. But somehow the silence is classical, it is a sign of peace, one might say of naturalness and oneness.

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  3. I admire his audacity in staging such a performance! I think this highlights the subjectivity of beauty. Several prominents artists have repeatedly attempeted to changed the concepts of what is beautiful. Picasso in particluar springs to mind and nowadys we are moving away from a traditional strict concept of beauty.

    There are certain objects that are generally praised in music composition. The tempo, scales, harmonies etc empolyed make some pieces more technically difficult to execute than others, and complex compositions are usually better appreciated.

    However, this does not mean that an outrageously simple "piece" like John Cage's cannot be considered beautiful.

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  4. I do believe that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and therefore art is subjective however for this case In my opinion I do not think that, that is art. Art has value no matter what type it is it may not be in monetary terms but it may be something you will want to treasure and I do not think that anybody in their right mind will pay to watch such a performance. It is not that I am not artistically inclined I just believe that there should be more to art. I like the way in which Cynthia has interpreted it, meaning peace and oneness therefore if that was actually the way the artist planned on presenting it, it is creative. However I am free to my opinions and to me its poor art!

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  5. Appreciating the Arts is indeed to a larger extent, subjective. For example, last Wednesday, every single painting that i chose was considered to be a "bad" painting. I seriously thought that the art pieces were very beautiful....i guess the rest of the world thought otherwise.
    Some people may find Cage's work as a ""con", or a joke or a hoax". However, he himself or some others may find this piece of music,simply beautiful, ( probably because it was different or because it was actually beautiful????) and definately NOT "con, hoax or joke"!!!!
    Who knows, this will probably become the new pattern in music??? considering the fact that there have been changes in art forms.( Picasso and the use of disfigured body parts in arts???? he started a new trend which was considered as beautiful)

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  6. In my opinion art is subjective. Our perception and interpretation of art is a personal experience; you may choose to either like it or not like it. In the case of John Cage he chose to create something greatly misunderstood by his audience, no doubt unintentionally, but the fact that they lacked the appreciation does not make it a hoax, it may be interpreted more as they did not have the personal experience they wanted. Going straight to the point, John Cage’s piece was personal, carried meaning that his audience failed to see and was authentic. Whether or not they agreed with any of these characteristics does not change its purpose or what it means to the creator. Probably it was called 4’33 to show that its value was not determined by its length but by its quality. In visual arts there is abstract art and possibly 4’33 is the abstract of music which his audience were not accustomed to.

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  7. Immediately I read about Cage’s 4’33” composition I was intrigued, by the fact that nobody will ever hear the same 4’33”, even if the person listens 2 minutes later than his first hearing. Why? It’s a silent piece which allows the audience to create their very own rhythm around them – they wield the power to be in tune with any form of music they can identify around them for those 4’33”. It’s obvious the piece is unconventional but it doesn’t take away how “musical” it actually is. Being a lover of music myself, my initial reaction was confusion. But what better way to convey the depth of silence but with this? For me, I believe this is a masterpiece, because it is undoubtedly of artistic intellect, incorporating good qualities of music like rhythm, timing, and continuity. This is because music is primarily a means of self-expression. It relies on more than just sound and key, vocals, tonic sulfurs and notes. In this brief period of silence, he unveils a new form of rhythm of sound, which is internal and in tune with his heart. I read a comment he passed when questioned about his piece. He says:
    "I have nothing to say / and I am saying it / and that is poetry / as I needed it" -- John Cage
    One critic says:
    “On the one hand, as a musical piece, 4'33" leaves almost no room for the pianist's interpretation: as long as he watches the stopwatch, he can't play it too fast or too slow; he can't hit the wrong keys; he can't play it too loud, or too melodramatically, or too subduedly. On the other hand, what you hear when you listen to 4'33" is more a matter of chance than with any other piece of music -- nothing of what you hear is anything the composer wrote.”
    http://interglacial.com/~sburke/stuff/cage_433.html
    That’s what music is truly about – rhythm and soul. Yes, I know there are conventions like scores and manuscripts which define music, but could this possibly be a paradigm shift?
    It somewhat parallel’s Kazimir Malevich’s “white on white” square Painting which showed illustrates Supremacy.

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  8. Sometimes listening to the 'natural' music is what we all need.Natural music is the type when you are all alone and the place is quite and there is a peaceful atmosphere around you. I think art of music has been achieved by Mr.Cage himself, though it was not greeted without so much enthusiasm, it reveals a lot about what we call normal music.

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  9. I couldn’t agree more with Tori... I also read the same comment from the critic.
    I truly admire this piece!!!...because I think it carries a lot of weight, in that it is very unique. John Cage was able to carry out his message in a very unique way. Art is an expression of our feelings and emotions... and Cage felt he had ‘nothing to say’ and he expressed it in his piece, 4’33’’ wonderfully!
    I think the way John Cage expressed his feeling of silence couldn’t have been done any better. In my opinion, it makes people rather open up their ears to the ‘sound of silence’ and nature; the sounds around you. According to the critic; “the entire piece consists of silences -- silences of different lengths.” http://interglacial.com/~sburke/stuff/cage_433.html
    I really think it is a brilliant piece of work. 4’33’’ qualifies as music because it had the movements involved: opening the piano, positioning his hands(?) and then finally closing the piano. As for those calling it a “con” and what not... well that is what they think...It still made him famous. :P Who said all music should follow a particular format?

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  10. This made me laugh the first time I read it...because I can imagine how the people felt...unfulfilled!
    And I thought that it was not art at all...however, after reading the comments, I changed my mind..His piece is art. Only of a different kind.
    Did any of the criteria include "artist's influence, or involvement or emotional input?" Because I think that that is what people, the audience looks for...and if it wasnt included, I think that it must be, because it is a very important criteria.
    What makes people (or what made me) so upset about his composition is that to them, the composer has put nothing of himself into the piece. It is too simple. too plain. When watching performances, the audience is more excited when the artist is, he is at that point their "master" and that is why people thought it was a "con." Because the artist didint seem to care much about his work anyway, and that was why his input was so "poor."
    As Metty said, it is similar toKazimir Malevich’s “white on white” square Painting...
    But majority of my classmates for instance didn't think that painting was wonderful...It was too simple..too patronising...the audience expects to see a kind of "hardwork" in a piece. Something that shows that it carries meaning.
    This is not to say that Cage'e piece does not carry any meaning or that it doesn't have strong input from him, but againas Metty suggested, it may be a sort of paradigm shift. Now maybe audiences would feel the weight of importance in simpler pieces.

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  11. I actually enjoyed his work of art. It is very unique, I like everything unique and I believe, like Tori said all he was trying to was to let people make their rhythm. Most of us think that music is all about someone singing or playing any of the musical instruments but Cage was trying to make us do is to listen to our inner music and appreciate it. We must once in a while listen to our inner music and off course the natural music…just listening to what nature has to offer. I know that most of you would not agree with me but when u are trying listen to 4’33” u can form some mental sounds that would go with ur feelings.

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  12. Rather unfortunate the audience were not his target group or market...For all we know they might have been a message he was conveying but as humans or the wrong audience it was misunderstood and insulted. That his unique way of music. With the lessons we had this week, i think complexity comes to play. The complexity of the music made him popular not the message of the music. The 4'33'' made him very unique and popular and maybe that was his aim which he did achieve. Just maybe he wanted to create his own pattern and meaning of music but "failed successfully''...
    HAHAA!!!!!
    This should be a lesson for those who determine the quality of the show based on the artiste’s popularity and what everyone think.

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  13. Art can be both subjective and objective. But in this case we can say this appreciating the 4’3” is subjective. Art is a poor imitation of real life. John Cages’ performance though a very pointless work of art may be viewed differently. Also, if Mozart or even Handel had done it there would probably be a lot of art critics praising the work. John Cage came up with a form of music that is abstract and enables you hear the sort of music you want to hear. Those who appreciate will understand its significance despite its silent nature.

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  14. I think due to the subjective nature of the arts, any piece of art may be perceived as a rip off by one person, and may be perceived as the most marvelous masterpiece ever. Someone may feel free to relax and enjoy the silence of the music, imagine a wonderful melody and enjoy it, seeing the composition as a good song which allows him to reflect within himself/herself, and thus a very relaxing piece. At the same time, someone else who might have a wondering mind may find it very irritating to sit down quietly for four and a half minutes, doing nothing, supposed to be hearing some sort of music. Thus, i believe it all comes down to the sort of person you are and how to see things differently.

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  15. Art is uspposed to be a medium of expression. It's supposed to be a representation of everday life;the feelings and emotion we experience and a broadcast of our beliefs. Basically, art is a form of communication. We can therefore divide this into two parts i,e; the what is sent out - by the artist, and what is recieved- by the observer. I think those who saw the performance as a "con" or a "hoax" didnt take the time to try and decipher the complex message sent across. In the joint class with Mr. Kidane he showed us a painting consisting only of a black square and a white dot in the middle of it- and it was one of the "good" ones! I was actually confused by it-but then i thought there must be a deeper meaning- and then Mr. Kidane read the artist's "evaluation" of his own work and (ok i dun really remember what he said but I remember I was moved and very very impressed). It was then that i realized why the simplest paintings sell for millions and it's because of the meanings they carry. The finest recreation of an object on canvas will never be worth as much as the simplest with a boat loada sentiment and soul (in my opinion)- anyways relating this to the discussion topic,4'33" is like a black square with a white dot in the middle, or a white canvas with a white square in it. It is simple and will make no sense at first sight (or considering the first layer of meaning only)but reading what Cynthia found, that "the [piece was to be] perceived as the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed". I was finally able to appreciate 4'33". Maybe, just maybe he was reminding us of the beauty of nature;presenting to his audience that night not a musical masterpiece he created, but the intuiging, complex, melodious tune of the natural sounds of that auditorium -or then again he might have just had nothing to say =D

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  16. was it art? yes. was it music? yes. the face of the arts undergoes continual re-invention. i am reminded here of the outrage expressed at novels of John Updike,and how they are not only chauvinistic but also indicative of ontological despair. it does not change, that in his graphic writing, there is art, and there is beauty in such art. in the same way Picasso re-defined the conventions of beauty, John Cage has perhaps done the same with music, for me at least. music becomes the absence of sound, or the interjection of sound with calculated noise. seeing as in 4'33, i would hear the silence... the silence becomes the music. the power in John Cage's composition is that it is ART IN MULTIPLE FORMS, this is at the frontier of a new form of interdisciplinary art, and challenges our paradigms of music. now that silence too is music, what is music, and how has this changed its face. as a twentieth century composer... and a member of the most experimental and avantgarde stage in musical history... what has Cage achieved? a musical pradigm shift!

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  17. Yasmin Evans-TotoeMay 10, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    Honestly I find it hilarious so to speak. Like if I were there at the time I would think that he forgot the notes or something.

    But on a serious note though if I had not read Cynthia's post about what this "performance"
    was meant symbolize, quite frankly, I would see no connection between what he did and art. However, as I said, Cynthia background knowledge has provided a different perpective
    to appreciate such an art.

    I think his performance elaborates on just how subjective the arts can be. Even in silence we still interpret things differently. He is a GREAT artist, I mean he invented a new unique form of music. Indeed I think it is an art. It is daringly creative, and is interpreted differently. I hope this does not sound too far fetched but I think the point of this performance was to force people to stop and take a step back from artificially noise filled life (i.e car horns, TVs etc) and just listen to nature.

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  18. Before i start commenting i would like to second what Tope said. Beauty truly lies in the eyes of the beholder. what i see as beauty maybe seen by someone by something nasty. i recently saw this in my class when we did some activity where we were to choose top five paintings. before coming to the top five in my group , we argued because we all couldn't agree on the same picture. why was this , because we all have different views on what art is. How do u qualify something as art. in my class people mentioned a few things like simplicity, colour, message, lines e.t.c.
    looking at the 4.33 thing i can judge is as simply and so is beautiful and so i think people should not just jump into conclusion because i believe the 4.33 thing is very artistic
    Linda

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  19. OK this is very interesting, as i said one of my previous comments on the blog i said art is a way of expressing an idea or emotions. Therefore in this piece John Cage may have been expressing an idea or his emotions so the people who saw it as a hoax or con should try to interpret the art in his piece because it might be telling us something

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  20. Very fascinating ! This 4'33 piece is exceptional not because I think John Cage's idea of music is amazing but for the fact that he plucked up enough courage to present his idea to the public.We live in such a world that whatever you do there is always going to people who hate or love it.It is impossible to gain favoritism amongst everybody but when you are determined to share your 'talent' with the public , now that must be applauded.I am sure many thought John Cage was playing a prank on the public however some may of thought that he was trying to prove a point about music. Who knows ? It could have been both !

    Maybe he was trying to pint out something to society , music does not have to be defined by how many instruments there are in one piece or what sounds are made.What should be really important is what emotions it evokes between the audience.Within that time were they able to appreciate the silence ? Were they able to value the sound made by opening and closing of the piano ?

    Unfortunately, they were unable to do at least one .However, I will not pretend as if I would not have done the same but by reading this article I appreciate the unconventional sounds in music better as they may have significant meanings that we choose to ignore.We must now start perceiving music much more objectively.

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  21. The only conclusion i can draw from this unusual piece and the outrage it engenders, other than those my colleagues have already mentioned, is that emotions are so intrinsic and integral in humans that a representation of someone (John cage) devoid of feeling/emotion is unfathomable.

    AmPoNg

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  22. Is it possible to say that one limit in appreciating arts is the perception of others?

    John Cage's composed song, 4'33" to me, is something everyone can do..

    That could be the possible reason why so many audience were outraged by such performance.

    Personally, I would NEVER wish to attend to such a concert to waste time trying to figure out the REAL meaning of what the song is about for 4 miinutes 33 seconds in absolute silence!

    HOWEVER,

    If anyone could have thought about any meaning of the song, will it be equal to the others?

    The answer is NO unless the composer himself may describe his composed song and its' implications.

    This, i believe is due to different perceptions of people.

    Some may consider the silence for so many reasons that is not equal to all people.

    Could this mean that perception in arts, without any influence of thoughts by others is a bad tool for appreciating arts?

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  23. Well said Cynthia, in your first comment, and i like your Wikipedia reference. Being able to stage this performance in the first place, is an act of boldness, regarding the fact that people thought it was a rather poor performance and possibly a waste of time. Well, just like Lloyd said, beauty really is subjective and depends on who is looking at the piece of art. Like most people have said, i think it all boils down to who we are, and how we perceive things, or what we perceive, since that is what will lead us to make judgments about things.
    Scorpion.

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  24. Well,I doubt if Cage's performance on stage influenced people's minds on what music is or his definition for music is, but he brought out a new ind of thinking on the subject of art and I honestly admire his courage on doing that.Strangely, i find human characters being dynamic, who knew that such a man would perform a unique kind of music? Who knew that he would maybe inspire more to perform a kind of music which would be firstfrowned at(audience) ten questioned(students)finallyacepted(Art critics)I agree that this art was most unusual but that’s how all art begins and I guess all good things start with negative comments. Take for example, the sciences two hundred years ago who would have thought about the internet, anything connected to science was perceived as "witchcraft" or evil. But men and women like James Watson, Gregor, and many more decided to stand for what they believed. Looking at Cage's music showed me that there is a beginning for everything.

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  25. THIS IS NOT ART!!! The mere fact that most people are reacting to this by saying "John Cage was brave" and "most people do no not appreciate what he did" leads me to say that this is a replica of how the human brain works.It tends to work on peoples senses , when one person says it every one sees it that way.If i went on stage with a guitar and tore the three strings off and played a note . How many people will say this is art! or maybe someone should define what is meant by art. As far as i am concerned artists represent a part of the world that people do not notice through different media. i think anyone who watched that performance deserves to be angry because
    1.the message was not coveyed to them
    2. the performance could had no form of art in it
    art should communicate with the person,evoke emotion that will lead the person to learn whatever the artist is trying to communicate

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  26. Amazing!! How on earth would someone stage such a performance?? I can also imagine how some of them felt, like it was a waste of their time.
    Cage’s performance wasn’t bad or a waste of time, at least to some people; it was one of a kind. The audience was used to the normal performances but this one had deviated from the ones we already knew and when you see something for the first time sometimes, it may not appear to be appealing but when you sit back and reflect over it, then you’ll see the goodness in it.
    The 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence during the performance, gave the people that inner silence and were to at least take their minds off to ‘the far away land’ and create that serene atmosphere for themselves and just enjoy the ‘music’…
    Not everyone will love this kind of art because as some people have already said, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. What may appear appealing to me may not do so to you. More so, the way we interpret things and our thoughts vary from person to person.

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  27. I agree with Selzy! with the fact that art is incorporates freedom of expression and emotion.
    It was unfortunate that the audience that he performed to ws not able to appreciate it in the way he did, due to the fact that HE was expressing HIS own views on music and emotion. I feel that this is where subjectivity comes into play. I personally think that art is very subjective and it depends on the audience viewing it or the ideas expressed. I do not blame the audiences reaction, because at that time I am sure that nothing like that had been staged before. However, we must take a closer look at the fact that in John Cage's 4'33" he had his own motivations as to why he created the piece.
    We can relate this to the class we had on "good art" and "bad art". Should art be classified in such and objective way? No, absolutely not. "If there is no bad art, then there is no good art." Lloyd Sarpong 12/05/10
    This comment allows us to believe in the subjectivity of art. These two descriptions only allow art to be classified in two different ways, which should not be so. John Cage's musical piece I feel was judged objectively and without any knowledge on his motives.

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  28. i find kiokos comment quite hilarious the part about 'taking people to a far away land'. seriously? if i was sitting there i would think that the man was trying to prepare himself for his performance and not feel tranquil but instead agitated that he is wasting my time sitting there!!

    However, according to what i have learnt in TOK class today the 3'44 adheres to a universal signature of art, which is criticism, here we all are discussing an giving our opinions on whether what John Cage has done is art or not.
    another aspect i find quite important is originality/authorship, i do not think any other 'artist' has ever made such a performance therefore he is commendable for his originality.
    Temitope J

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  29. • From my point of view, I am surprised that people actually believe that the 4’33” is music. I mean come on, for most of you who are actually saying that it was rather unfortunate that the audience was not receptive, honestly speaking what would have been your reaction – I for one would have laughed! Why because it will be unexpected, far from what I know to be music! So I do not blame the audience for reacting the way they did because they experienced something that was totally alien to them i.e. experiencing silence as music! So then are we saying that silence is art?!

    One of the values of Art is its ability to incite emotional experience and maybe this piece of ‘music’, i.e. the silence, might have done so. Cynthia said maybe it was supposed to channel across an aura of peace and oneness and all that... but you wouldn’t know, maybe his actual intention was evoke outrage in his audience and if that was actually the case, then maybe the 4’33” was art. The 4’33” might be art but it is definitely no music!

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  30. Personally if I had gone to a concert and had to just listen to silence i would not have been very pleased at all! Although in my opinion i wouldnt have described it as a piece of art, it fits the criteria for an artwork because it was 'created' by a human being, with an intention- definitely, and just did it for the sake of doing so. So i guess this can be called 'art' because like Temitope said, it is open to some form of criticism and we can form our own opinions of it.
    Ruth

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  31. I went through many of the threads and I must say that I am very shocked by the fact that people actually see the artistic work in this!

    If this is called a work of art, then I conclude there is no originality. I for one, when I 'space out', also sit and listen intently to the silence surrounding me, and am sure millions before me have. I think this 'stunt' falls under the criteria for something being a work of art, but looking at the actual case I disagree totally. I have heard of John Cage before, but never for this. I acknowledge his virtuosity and prowess in music, but this revelation has marred my admiration for him. I have seen people compare this to the art piece in the TOK class of the black box. Though they are both very simplistic they are different; the artist actually drew something, even though I don’t agree with the fact that it is also a work of art. Of course it is preposterous to take a blank canvas and express your intentions for it to be a work of art! It is the same as Cage's piece; unwholesome and unfulfilling. I do admire his courage and bravery to stage such a show but how many people, including him, have continually staged this 4'33 piece over and over again or adopted this "style"? There is a thin line between bravery and ludicrousness!

    I saw someone speaking of the rhythm and other musical constituents in this 'musical piece', and I must say I was perplexed. Exactly WHAT are you speaking of?

    John Cage has to be commended for his originality, I admit, but I would not agree to his authorship. His intention was to leave people in silence and what did they do?; played their own music in their heads. The people in the audience were the artists because they formulated what they heard and therefore he should not take credit for it; he only provided the atmosphere. Really think about your reaction if you were in the audience; would you pay to see another concert of him playing the 4’33 again

    I think the fact is that it’s his originality or his shear bravery that is clouding peoples’ judgements and that people are forcibly trying to see the beauty of it. I personally see it as a potpourri of originality and mediocrity.....and that’s my opinion!

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  32. I went through many of the threads and I must say that I am very shocked by the fact that people actually see the artistic work in this!

    If this is called a work of art, then I conclude there is no originality. I for one, when I 'space out', also sit and listen intently to the silence surrounding me, and am sure millions before me have. I agree this 'stunt' falls under the criteria for something being a work of art, but looking at the actual case I disagree totally. I have heard of John Cage before, but never for this. I acknowledge his virtuosity and prowess in music, but this revelation has marred my admiration for him. I have seen people compare this to the art piece in the TOK class of the black box. Though they are both very simplistic they are different; the artist actually drew something, even though I don’t agree with the fact that it is also a work of art. Of course it will be preposterous to take a blank canvas and express your intentions for it to be a work of art! It is the same as Cage's piece; unwholesome and unfulfilling. I do admire his courage and bravery to stage such a show but how many people, including him, have continually staged this 4'33 piece over and over again or adopted this "style"? There is a thin line between bravery and ludicrousness!

    I saw someone speaking of the rhythm and other musical constituents in this 'musical piece', and I must say I was perplexed. Exactly WHAT are you talking about?

    John Cage has to be commended for his originality, I admit, but I would not agree to his authorship. His intention was to leave people in silence and what did they do?; played their own music in their heads. The people in the audience were the artists because they formulated what they heard and therefore he should not take credit for it; he only provided the atmosphere. Really think about your reaction if you were in the audience; would you pay to see another concert of him playing the 4’33 again

    I think the fact is that it’s his originality or his shear bravery that is clouding peoples’ judgements and that people are forcibly trying to see the beauty of it. I personally see it as a potpourri of originality and mediocrity.....and that’s my opinion!

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  33. firstly what is the defination of individual music i think what this person proved was that music is not necessarily what you hear but can be something in your mind and so i feel like John Cage proved that music is not what you hear but also what you think and so itt is possible to have music without a sound being produced.

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  34. Vusi wrote: "music is not necessarily what you hear but can be something in your mind".

    To what extent is there a worthwhile comparison here with Kasimir Malevich's "Black Square" (shown in our lessons last week)?

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  35. I couldn't agree less with Maa Meli! John Cage's stunt isn't work of art!If it was, then everyday, billions of people would make works of art, every second! The question of this piece being a work of art is only worth considering, when John Cage's bravery and originality is taken into consideration. In relation to Mr. Kitching's comment, a worthwhile comparison could be made between this definition of music and the "Black Square", in the sense that they are subject to the infinite permutations and combinations, that the mind could make of them. The human could use these forms of art as a basis to formulate mental representations of images and sounds, greatly influenced by imagination, perceptions and previous knowledge.

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  36. wow....a song of "silence". Well, people will definitely be outraged because technically there was NO MUSIC!!!

    This is where I agree with Deborah that people are perhaps looking for an art piece with "hardwork" written all over it; one that displays the artist's skill and finesse. And this is probably true because I remember that in my last TOK class the issue of technicality and complexity as criteria for appreciating art came up. For example, Picasso's "Guernica" and Jackson Pollock's "Lavender Mist" were liked for different reasons such as meaning but a lot of people agreed that these were complex paintings and this somewhat added to the painting’s value.

    As to whether or not this “musical piece” is really a work of art, we could turn to Rueben Abel’s standards for judging an art piece. However, he must be commended for his creativity. Just like the example Tori gave with Malevich’s painting “white on white”. There was very little work done in producing this art piece. However, we can all agree that this painting did not end up in the museum of bad art because of its depth and intrinsic meaning as is this 4’33 musical piece.

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  37. According to Microsoft Encarta 2009, around 1950 Cage studied Zen Buddhism with Japanese scholar Daisetz T. Suzuki, who was lecturing at Columbia University, and his compositional methods came under the influence of Eastern philosophical thought. As a result, Cage began to question the role of the composer and the place of music in society. Through his acceptance of the Indian belief that the purpose of music is, as he put it, 'to quiet the mind, thus rendering it susceptible to divine influences,' and of the Zen concept that 'the highest purpose is to have no purpose,' Cage came to believe that music should 'imitate nature in her manner of operation.' This resulted in 4'33' (1952), a silent piece lasting 4 minutes, 33 seconds, which elevated incidental, unintended noise in the concert hall to the status of art. This new attitude about music also led Cage to begin composing by means of chance operations, primarily with the help of the ancient Chinese book of divination, the “I Ching”, or Book of Changes.

    Appreciating the arts or an art piece or work in my opinion, is very subjective to a larger extent as something that will appeal to one’s senses, may not appeal to another’s. Different people perceive things differently and in this case, whilst some people will see Cage’s work as a masterpiece and unique piece of art, others may see it as a con or hoax or joke or simply as a waste of time. However I think this particular one was composed by means of chance.

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  38. Honestly I would be enraged if I was a member of the audience for John Cages’s 4’33”. Let’s be pragmatic, I paid to go and experience a wonderful musical performance only to be given a long period of silence!
    However, I many of us who would be outraged by his audacious performance would feel that way because of the general accepted form of music we have been introduced to. To us music has a sound
    But then lets rethink- music is art. Art is an expression of one’s imagination, feelings, thoughts…It just so happens that all the music we listen to today has a sound. John Cage on the other hand, decided to express in music in silence because to him, that is what music should be. A time for reflection. John’s Cage performance would definitely posses some intrinsic meaning entrenched somewhere that we the audience failed to appreciate.
    Does the fact that we failed to appreciate it make it less a piece of art? In our classes we all failed to appreciate certain works of art but does that mean they should not be considered works of art?! Of course not!!
    John Cage’s piece, even though extraordinary should be appreciated for his thought of producing it.

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  39. As criticized by many of my colleagues, we should not also forget that arts can take many forms, therefore the slant that was taken by John cage was not bad. At the same time, I agree perfectly with Isaac, that it was a poor performance so paying to watch was a waste of time. Let’s not also forget that “beauty” is subjective. I think it depends more on what the individual thought after listening to the song. As we all know we all perceive things differently. It will be proper, if we all sit back and listen to whatever everyone who listened to the song for that four and a half minutes have to say.

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  40. Personally if I was the one going to watch the 433, before the performance I would be in a very expectant mood since I am anticipating the performance to be lively and to have some important message that is appealing to the audience. However getting the performance which is just minutes of silence would really make me denigrate the performance and it is likely that if the artist is performing somewhere, I will not go to watch since what I will have in mind is a performance close to what I experience. However, for this artist he thinks that this piece of art was unique and he had just made it right as he wanted to the audience but the feedback he got from the audience was not what he expected. This also happens with paintings at times ,if the artist does a piece of work which is not considered as a good piece of art and it’s taken to an art gallery ,some people may love it but the artist did not expect this kind of response from people. I think as sanaa says that even though its unique and made another impression to the audience it should be appreciated as a piece of art.

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  41. Well unfortunately people do have a right to get angry at Cage's show because well erm... he has forced his subjective preference of music unto the poor crowd. I believe that everybody in the crowd came with different criteria of what they each considered good music, criteria they expected to be met. I believe Cage's performance was more philosophical than musical in that he was trying to redefine the concept of silence. "He recognized that there was no objective dichotomy between sound and silence, but only between the intent of hearing and that of diverting one's attention to sounds." (http://solomonsmusic.net/4min33se.htm). Coming back to the point of this discussion I believe that this supports what we’ve learnt in class that: appreciation of music like other pieces of art is a subjective experience. I think that for your music to be appreciated, especially if its not the "normal" type, intentions have to be made clear, not that it will necessarily make people like your music but at least the deviance in the music should have a reason or else people are going to criticize it like every other piece within that genre.

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  42. Wow!haha! This is interesting! Oh well beauty is both subjective and objective so to say. In this case CAGE found delight and beauty in his own type of music. I can picture an angry and amazed crowd after his performance, because like me right now, the audience must have been left in great amazed and just wondering what his intentions really were. I think at first nobody really found beauty in this type of music but afterwards it must have changed how a lot of people perceived music to be. Cage's music might have not been considered great because it was rather subjective than objective!
    Wow...

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