An Aesthetic Object on the A Train

From the upcoming weekend edition of the New York Times, Allan Kozinn enjoys himself on the train:

But if Cage intended the performers of “4’33” ” to keep quiet, he did not mean for the work to be heard as silence. He wrote it for the pianist David Tudor to perform in a recital at […]

Keep on Running into Cage

From Jim Bloom


Rule No. 7, ain’t that some Church.


Quote Dump: More on Cage and By Cage

This composition is a legend that is often quoted but hardly ever presented in its entirety. For the point is not merely that we now hear the noises of the concert hall as opposed to those of the instrument, as so often simple-mindedly explained – most recently by Douglas Kahn in his book Noise, water, […]

Cage Teaches Us How To Listen

Into this, structure and all, anything goes. The structure was not the point. But it was practical: you could actually see that everything was happening without anything’s being done. Before such emptiness, you just wait to see what you will see. Is Rauschenberg’s mind empty, the way the white canvases are? Does that mean whatever […]

Definitions: Chance and Indeterminate

From (one of) Google’s (many) Definition(s) of Chance:

verb /CHans/

Do something by accident or without design

From Google’s Definition of Indeterminate:

adjective /ˌindiˈtərmənit/

Not certain, known, or established While reading John Cage’s Silence, one of his essays on Indeterminacy (so aptly titled) struck me as clarifying the difference between chance composition and indeterminate compositions. […]

More ‘Third Stream’ in the New York Times

From today’s NYTIMES magazine:

“Craigslistlieder,”­ as he called it, became a kind of classical-yet-poppy, ironic-yet-musical model. A generation of artists suddenly found the boundaries between genres much more permeable than they used to be — even if classical audiences seem more impressed by Kahane’s indie “cred” than the pop world has been by his classical […]

How’s That Workin’ Out For You, John?

The present methods of writing music, principally those which employ harmony and its reference to particular steps in the field of sound, will be inadequate for the composer, who will be faced with the entire field of sound.

Cage, J. (1961). Silence: Lectures and writings, p. 4. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press.

Before this happens, […]

Third Stream

Earlier this fall I had the chance to go and listen to Gunther Schuller speak about his ideas regarding the Third Stream, in a gross simplification it is simply Schuller’s idea of what to call some sort of fusion between jazz and classical music. Schuller explains it more deeply in his book Musings: The Musical […]

Hipster Feldman

“…But he has nothing to worry about, that chap in Tempo. He’s going to have it all. Pitch relationships, plus sound and chance thrown in. Total consolidation. Those two words define the new academy. You can tie it all up in the well-known formula, “You made a small circle and excluded me; […]

Dick move, and then some poetry from Feldman

“Recently I heard news from Europe that Bouez is adopting the chance techniques of John Cage and perhaps myself. Like Mathieu, he is going to show us Katzenjammer Kids how an ambitious Frenchman can really do it. It was easy for Napoleon to reach Mosow. And it will be curious to observe Boulez straggling home […]