Saturday, 12 February 2011

Writings & Lectures by John Cage

This is small book I stumbled across whilst pottering about Melbourne's Brunswick street last week. John Cage (1912 - 1992) was a pioneer of 'chance music', electronic music and the non-standard use of musical instruments. Cage was famously known for his 4'33 composition, pronounced Fourty, Thirty Three (Ring any bells LCD Soundsystem fans?).

It was composed in 1952 for any instrument or combination of instruments. The score instructs the performer not to play the instrument during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements. The first being thirty seconds, the second being two minutes and twenty-three seconds and the third being one minute and forty seconds. Although commonly perceived as "four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence the piece actually consists of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hears while it is performed.

Above is a touching youtube clip where John Cage enlightens us on the beauty of sound and silence. With field recordings, ambient textures and spatialization playing a bigger role in todays techno and post dubstep movements we owe alot of what we are hearing to these sound theorsits and philospophers such as John Cage Karlheinz Stockhausen and Edgrad Verese.

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