1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Is 4'33" considered music?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Infernal Affair, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. I think many in the thread have established 4'33" as music, so who is the musician? Is it the person who sits at the piano?
  2. The player (I assume) would have to count out the rests, so I guess that would make him/her a musician, sorta like a triangle player counting 800 bars of rests and going "ding".
  3. The pianist, the audience, and Cage.
  4. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Of course it's music. Music is equally about silence between the notes and the notes themselves.

    However, I do take issue with Cage's estate suing other artists for "plagarism" of 4'33". Just because you wrote a piece where no notes are played, doesn't mean you can sue any body else who ever uses silence in a piece.
  5. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I can't remember who said it and I'm paraphrasing but "Music is the silence between the notes". I've always liked that. Told an old girlfriend that once and she got quite upset about it for some reason.
  6. wasco


    Mar 6, 2008
    If his goal really was to get people thinking about what music can and can't or should and shouldn't be, there is no doubt he succeeded.
  7. LzeroKI


    Dec 24, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    This may be a little OT, but there seem to be alot of people well versed in Cage here and I wanted to ask, I remember seeing a story in a paper a couple years ago that there was some organ peice Cage wrote that is infinatly long, and is still being played to this day, at all hours in a church in a town somewhere in Europe. Anyone else familiar with this.

    To add my two cents to the thread, I believe 4'33" is indeed music. To quote my first Music Lit. teach of 2 or 3 years ago "Painters work in light, Sculptors in space, and Composers in time, be these mediums empty or not."

    Edit: turns out the peice is As Slow As Possible, as mentioned above.
  8. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Igor Stravinsky: “Music is the place between the notes where we can imagine, and the shadows are what we cannot see. Light and shade have equal value.”
  9. that piece -4'33''- is written in 3 differents silence, the first being 33', the second 2'41 and the third what's left. I'm really not so sure about the duration but it's about it. we played it last year at school and it was really hard. because it sounds so much like a joke, to be digging what's happening is quite hard. the teacher that had us playing it performed it once, and ask for a really good piano (a steinway I think) and he was saying that he had to practice as hard as any other piece. try to play it, it's funny! good experience.
    Im really not sure it's written for piano, I think it's more open, like "any performer"....
  10. It's considered music because there are people who are willing to define and accept it as such.
    The same reason that certain works of modern and postmodern art (paintings, etc) are considered art (even if they're just drips of paint, or a completely blank piece of paper, or a shadow).

    Another line of reasoning could be, if you were to show an alien species, with no aural organs, the sheet music for Beethoven's 5th, and John Cages 4'33", they would be be seen equally as pieces of music.
  11. mjolnir

    mjolnir Thor's Hammer 2.1.3beta

    Jun 15, 2006
    Houston, TX
    I could be wrong, but I think he originally intended it as a piano piece.

    I performed this piece in college with my current drummer in Sam Houston's percussion ensemble. I thought it was cheezy as hell at first, but once you get into it it really gets you listening.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.