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View Full Version : JOHN CAGE'S 4'33" FOR COACHELLA '09



zajaa
02-05-2009, 11:42 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUJagb7hL0E

M Sparks
02-05-2009, 01:04 PM
I can totally play that.

In fact, I can play it on multiple instruments at once. I'm a human fucking symphony.

PotVsKtl
02-05-2009, 01:15 PM
It's cooler to just know about John Cage and not mention it. Be cool with me.

Robototron
02-05-2009, 01:25 PM
lol, I see someone is just finding out about "experimental" music.

roboticwaltz
02-05-2009, 01:33 PM
I hate John Cage, and I hate you.

Just kidding, but only about the you part. It's ridiculous that people like John Cage get recognized in the same sentence as the greats. And it's ricidulous that 4'33" is a "masterpiece." I know these sorts of things aren't supposed to piss me off, but c'mon what the fuck?!?!?

This isn't music. This is literally NOTHING.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 01:38 PM
lol, I see someone is just finding out about "experimental" music.

hardly. just seein if there were any artists on the message boards. i wonder what festivalgoers would make of more avant garde performers at coachella... seems like it's heading away toward the more mainstream acts each year.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 01:47 PM
I hate John Cage, and I hate you.

Just kidding, but only about the you part. It's ridiculous that people like John Cage get recognized in the same sentence as the greats. And it's ricidulous that 4'33" is a "masterpiece." I know these sorts of things aren't supposed to piss me off, but c'mon what the fuck?!?!?

This isn't music. This is literally NOTHING.

eh, no it's not music necessarily. but i'm not sure he intended it to be "music". "music" can be explained very basically as two components: sound and silence (silence being that what occurs before, between and after the sounds). my read of the piece is that he has chosen to highlight the part we generally don't tend to think about. this kind of gesture seems to fall more into the camp of performance art than music per se, so agreed, i wouldn't call this music. and 'ridiculous' is a good critique as well. there is something completely absurd about the work, especially in the idea of people paying and gathering to observe it being performed. but i would not go so far as to question the validity of this piece. it is a canonical milestone in the history of art. there are literally volumes written on cage's importance and influence, especially this piece in particular, if you need some convincing.

Robototron
02-05-2009, 01:48 PM
hardly. just seein if there were any artists on the message boards. i wonder what festivalgoers would make of more avant garde performers at coachella... seems like it's heading away toward the more mainstream acts each year.

Coachella isn't a concert hall. This thread is just a way for you to feel "superior" to those poor masses going to festivals each year that don't "get" John Cage.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 01:53 PM
Coachella isn't a concert hall. This thread is just a way for you to feel "superior" to those poor masses going to festivals each year that don't "get" John Cage.

no no, just curious about how people would respond to a provocative piece that i assume some haven't been exposed to. i don't know if i would say i "get" his work either, but it does make for interesting discussion.

M Sparks
02-05-2009, 01:57 PM
hardly. just seein if there were any artists on the message boards.

Artists = people who will fall for anything?

I'd like to think there are a lot of artists out there who can still recognize douchebaggery. This isn't "music" for artists. It's "music" for pretentious idiots.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 02:01 PM
Artists = people who will fall for anything?

I'd like to think there are a lot of artists out there who can still recognize douchebaggery. This isn't "music" for artists. It's "music" for pretentious idiots.

well i tried to discuss the merits of the work above. i'm still curious to read an interesting argument for/against the work (one that doesn't just consist of namecalling)

M Sparks
02-05-2009, 02:05 PM
there are literally volumes written on cage's importance and influence, especially this piece in particular, if you need some convincing.

Look. Volumes. Literally.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51H754Y92QL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5143Eq-EaPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YARaC69-L._SL500_AA240_.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51agjGqvUKL._SL500_AA240_.jpg
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WC34-vkYL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51tLmp%2BbzpL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

PotVsKtl
02-05-2009, 02:07 PM
Artists = people who will fall for anything?

I'd like to think there are a lot of artists out there who can still recognize douchebaggery. This isn't "music" for artists. It's "music" for pretentious idiots.

You are literally dumb.

M Sparks
02-05-2009, 02:12 PM
well i tried to discuss the merits of the work above. i'm still curious to read an interesting argument for/against the work (one that doesn't just consist of namecalling)

I just don't feel it's worth discussing. There is literally nothing to discuss. It's not a piece of music. It's a play. Everyone involved, whether they are "perfoming" or "listening" are simply acting.

This is the first time I've actually seen an entire orchestra submit themselves to such foolishness. My only exposure was Cage, actually sitting at a piano with a stopwatch.

I will admit that I don't know much about Cage beyond this piece, but I'm sure he's done far more interesting things that are far more worthy of discussion.

PotVsKtl
02-05-2009, 02:15 PM
I just don't feel it's worth discussing. There is literally nothing to discuss. It's not a piece of music. It's a play. Everyone involved, whether they are "perfoming" or "listening" are simply acting.

This is the first time I've actually seen an entire orchestra submit themselves to such foolishness. My only exposure was Cage, actually sitting at a piano with a stopwatch.

I will admit that I don't know much about Cage beyond this piece, but I'm sure he's done far more interesting things that are far more worthy of discussion.

It's what we call conceptual art. Nobody is asking you to enjoy it or participate. In fact, given your immediate reaction I think it's safe to say most people would prefer you just stay ignorant.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 02:21 PM
I just don't feel it's worth discussing. There is literally nothing to discuss. It's not a piece of music. ...

yeah i would not call it music either (see detailed response above). still love the piece though. when i saw this video i laughed. people i've showed it to have the same "are you kidding me" response i had when i first saw it. i guess what's interesting to me is that people quickly dismiss the piece as a hoax, under the assumption that everyone already agrees with them, like the reasons why it is bogus are so blatantly obvious as to not even warrant mentioning- but when pressed to give an actual critique, their response sounds an awful lot like the piece itself.

Rockstarboy37
02-05-2009, 02:25 PM
My music teacher would always talk about this in high school.

Just a little back story on him...



http://ui09.gamespot.com/488/biocage_2.gif

M Sparks
02-05-2009, 02:27 PM
I understand why people DON'T think it's bogus. I just don't agree with them.

But actually, this post made me understand it a little more...it IS a play. When it's just Cage sitting at a piano and people fawning over him, that's harder to see. Just looks like a bunch of phoney people sucking up to a guy who probably does legitimately deserve some praise for other reasons. I always felt like he was just pranking them "Let's see what I can get them to fall for."

Seeing this video makes it a bit clearer. It's a theatre piece.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 02:32 PM
...I always felt like he was just pranking them "Let's see what I can get them to fall for."...


Yeah that aspect of the work is why it makes me laugh. Duchamp was written off as a prankster too. But the idea of the artist thinking "I'm gonna make all these suckers look like idiots by pretending this is a serious work of art" is less interesting to me than the idea that the artist might actually be serious.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 02:33 PM
My music teacher would always talk about this in high school.

Just a little back story on him...



http://ui09.gamespot.com/488/biocage_2.gif


lol by the way

M Sparks
02-05-2009, 02:36 PM
http://ui09.gamespot.com/488/biocage_2.gif

Prepare yourself...

M Sparks
02-05-2009, 02:38 PM
But the idea of the artist thinking "I'm gonna make all these suckers look like idiots by pretending this is a serious work of art" is less interesting to me than the idea that the artist might actually be serious.


That's why Ed Wood is an interesting director, and Michael Bay is not.

PotVsKtl
02-05-2009, 02:44 PM
I understand why people DON'T think it's bogus. I just don't agree with them.

But actually, this post made me understand it a little more...it IS a play. When it's just Cage sitting at a piano and people fawning over him, that's harder to see. Just looks like a bunch of phoney people sucking up to a guy who probably does legitimately deserve some praise for other reasons. I always felt like he was just pranking them "Let's see what I can get them to fall for."

Seeing this video makes it a bit clearer. It's a theatre piece.

It's not a play or a theater piece. It's a conceptual piece. Cage's position is that everything is music, including the sound of the audience. Having them gather in a theater is just part of making it a shared experience. Chances are most people who saw 4'33" performed were also treated to "real" Cage compositions at the same time.

SoulDischarge
02-05-2009, 03:49 PM
I'm going to wait until Sushov weighs in before I make a decision on this.

NightGoat
02-05-2009, 04:10 PM
that video is hilarious, but I do agree with the statement that it is more conceptual than anything, the idea being that the sounds that happen in the theater are musical. So, that means, in the context of this performance, the music was the pages turning, the audience laughing, the people coughing etc. As far as I'm concerned, music is simply noise + human intervention.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 04:24 PM
i almost feel like calling ambient sounds in the theater 'the music' is a cop out, even though i believe this was actually cage's own position. it's as if considering the performers' silence to be the 'music' is too radical, so the idea of music gets pushed onto the random sounds present at each performance. this just reinforces our tendency to focus on the 'sound' component of music, and disregard the silence that comes in between the sounds. and its my position that cage's piece points to that silence as equally integral to music as the sound component, just as drawing/painting/photo has both positive and negative space.

what if everyone in the audience actually was totally silent, hypothetically... would the piece fail? would it be a different piece?

PotVsKtl
02-05-2009, 04:53 PM
It's not possible for living beings in an atmosphere to be totally silent.

Rockstarboy37
02-05-2009, 04:59 PM
I think we found our replacement for the killers.

nothingisnothing
02-05-2009, 05:37 PM
I hate John Cage, and I hate you.

Just kidding, but only about the you part. It's ridiculous that people like John Cage get recognized in the same sentence as the greats. And it's ricidulous that 4'33" is a "masterpiece." I know these sorts of things aren't supposed to piss me off, but c'mon what the fuck?!?!?

This isn't music. This is literally NOTHING.

At least hear something besides 4'33, his most well known and controversial piece. He has tons of other compositions that in your perception of music, is "music." But really, music can be anything. In my mind it is a concept of how the purest sound of music there is is simply silence. Silence is something most of us don't have these days and to just sit and enjoy silence can be an amazing thing. It has to be a nerve wracking piece to perform as well

BrettShipes
02-05-2009, 06:15 PM
My take on this piece:

Someone had to do it. That someone happened to be John Cage. And John Cage is awesome. Of course, I'm a music major. John Cage is more of a fan of SOUND rather than MUSIC. He doesn't do his thing to impress or to sound pleasing to everyone, he just does what he likes and he likes sound.

If you care, watch this:

pcHnL7aS64Y

I mean... this is the guy that influenced Philip Glass who influenced Aphex Twin.

zajaa
02-05-2009, 08:34 PM
It's not possible for living beings in an atmosphere to be totally silent.

"hypothetically"

Rockstarboy37
02-05-2009, 11:35 PM
My take on this piece:

Someone had to do it. That someone happened to be John Cage. And John Cage is awesome. Of course, I'm a music major. John Cage is more of a fan of SOUND rather than MUSIC. He doesn't do his thing to impress or to sound pleasing to everyone, he just does what he likes and he likes sound.

If you care, watch this:

pcHnL7aS64Y

I mean... this is the guy that influenced Philip Glass who influenced Aphex Twin.


What class did you take that taught you about john cage? Was it a history of music or something along those lines? I'd be interesting in taking it.

ELPOLLOLOCO
02-06-2009, 12:06 AM
eh, no it's not music necessarily. but i'm not sure he intended it to be "music". "music" can be explained very basically as two components: sound and silence (silence being that what occurs before, between and after the sounds). my read of the piece is that he has chosen to highlight the part we generally don't tend to think about. this kind of gesture seems to fall more into the camp of performance art than music per se, so agreed, i wouldn't call this music. and 'ridiculous' is a good critique as well. there is something completely absurd about the work, especially in the idea of people paying and gathering to observe it being performed. but i would not go so far as to question the validity of this piece. it is a canonical milestone in the history of art. there are literally volumes written on cage's importance and influence, especially this piece in particular, if you need some convincing.


wow...you took this thread REAL deep...I agree with most of what you say...and i do find it interesting to discuss topics from multiple angles...shoot the shit, if you may...I guess you can give the guy credit for being an interesting artist with interesting ideas...but to give this piece of "work" actual validity as a song or composition is bullshit and a waste of time...

Jman4321
02-06-2009, 01:25 AM
Our best bet for this to actually happen lies in the hands of Throbbing Gristle if anyone.

PotVsKtl
02-06-2009, 08:04 AM
"hypothetically"

I would say that hypothetically, John Cage never expected to have a performance in the vacuum of space.

zajaa
02-06-2009, 08:54 AM
I would say that hypothetically, John Cage never expected to have a performance in the vacuum of space.

ok smartguy. my question still stands though: if you somehow remove -or perhaps better- 'disregard' the element of sporadic noises present in the venue, is it possible to analyze the piece solely on the silence of the performers (or attempted silence). maybe the impossibility of this silence, which you are pointing to, is part of Cage's concept here. i guess i hadn't thought of that.

zajaa
02-06-2009, 08:59 AM
wow...you took this thread REAL deep...I agree with most of what you say...and i do find it interesting to discuss topics from multiple angles...shoot the shit, if you may...

yeah i hoped we would dig under the surface a little with this one. i'm pretty much a fan of art school critique scenarios, and being a few years out of college, i was itchin for more art-talk. i think the majority probably find it mind-numbingly pointless, but for those of us who participate, we obviously enjoy it-- it's just a shame when people misinterpret this interest of ours as somehow pretentious, or an attempt at being "superior" as someone said earlier on in the thread. i don't think its any more pretentious than someone who is versed in biochemestry having a discussion with another biochemist, for example.

Rockstarboy37
02-06-2009, 09:30 AM
It's a great art piece. It does exactly what its meant to do, make people think.

BrettShipes
02-06-2009, 10:15 AM
What class did you take that taught you about john cage? Was it a history of music or something along those lines? I'd be interesting in taking it.

I picked it up somewhere between four semesters of music theory, a few music lit classes, composition and some research of my own.

And to everyone else:

If you watch that video, you'll hear him say (as the sound of traffic outside his apartment is moving along)

"There are two things that don't have to mean anything, one is music and the other is laughter *he laughs* Don't have to mean anything that is in order to give us very deep pleasure *plays with his cat and laughs* ...

"... the sound experience which I prefer over all others is the experience of silence... ...silence almost everywhere in the world now is traffic. If you listen to Beethoven or to Mozart, you see that they're always the same. But if you listen to traffic, you see it's always different."

So really, every time his piece is performed, it will sound different. The ambient sounds that are around you, the shuffling of feet, a sneeze, whatever. He's pretty much trying to take the listener into his world where everyday noises are a beautiful thing. If you think they're not or you think the idea is stupid, that just means you don't think at all like John Cage.

NightGoat
02-06-2009, 11:01 AM
maybe the impossibility of this silence, which you are pointing to, is part of Cage's concept here. i guess i hadn't thought of that.

It is part of the concept. I read a book called Noise/Music A History and they go over 4'33" in extensive detail and look at the concepts behind the piece. The impossibility of silence is a large part of the concepts presented in the piece.

Rockstarboy37
02-13-2009, 07:48 PM
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/SSulycqZH-U&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/SSulycqZH-U&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344">

bleep
03-31-2009, 06:36 PM
from Stereogum (http://stereogum.com/archives/the-first-movement-of-john-cages-4-33-is-todays-it_061831.html):

The First Movement Of John Cage's 4' 33" Is Today's iTunes "Discovery Download"
Obviously it sounds awesome, obviously you should download it, and definitely post a review.
i LOL'D.

esy191
04-01-2009, 11:03 AM
i wonder what festivalgoers would make of more avant garde performers at coachella... seems like it's heading away toward the more mainstream acts each year.

....ummmm

Y8klW9trVTQ