Silence, john cage

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eLectures and writings by JOHN CAGE



Also by John Cage A Year from Monday: New Lectures and Writings M: Writings '67-'72 Empty Words X: Writings '79-'82 Many of these lectures and articles have been delivered or published elsewhere in the past two decades. The headnote preceding each one makes grateful acknowledgment ofits precise source. Copyright © 1939, 1944, 1949, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961 by John Cage All rights reserved All inquiries and permissions requests should be adressed to the Publisher, Wesleyan University Press, 110 Mt. Vernon Street, Middletown, Connecticut 06457 Paperback ISBN 0-8195-6028-6 Library of Congress catalog card number: 61-14238 Manufactured in the United States ofAmerica First printing, 1961 Wesleyan Paperback, 1973 92 91 90 89 88 14 13 12 11 10 -ivTo Whom It May Concern -v[This page intentionally left blank.] -vi-

CONTENTS Foreword Manifesto The Future of Music: Credo Experimental Music Experimental Music: Doctrine Composition as Process I. Changes II. Indeterminacy III. Communication Composition To Describe the Process of Composition Used in Music ofChanges and Imaginary Landscape No. 4 To Describe the Process of Composition Used in Music for Piano 21-52 Forerunners of Modern Music History of Experimental Music in the United States Erik Satie Edgard Varèse Four Statements on the Dance Goal: New Music, New Dance Grace and Clarity In This Day . . . 2 Pages, 122 Words on Music and Dance On Robert Rauschenberg, Artist, and His Work Lecture onNothing Lecture on Something 45′ for a Speaker Where Are We Going? and What Are We Doing? Indeterminacy Music Lovers' Field Companion -vii[This page intentionally left blank.] -viii-

ix xii 3 7 13 18 18 35 41 57 57 60 62 67 76 83 86 87 89 94 96 98 109 128 146 194 260 274

FOREWORD For over twenty years I have been writing articles and giving lectures. Many of them have been unusual inform--this is especially true of the lectures--because I have employed in them means of composing analogous to my composing means in the field of music. My intention has been, often, to say what I had to say in a way that would exemplify it; that would, conceivably, permit the listener to experience what I had to say rather than just hear about it. This means that, being as I am engaged in a variety ofactivities, I attempt to introduce into each one of them aspects conventionally limited to one or more of the others. So it was that I gave about 1949 my Lecture on Nothing at the Artists' Club on Eighth Street in New York City (the artists' club started by Robert Motherwell, which predated the popular one associated with Philip Pavia, Bill de Kooning, et al.). This Lecture on Nothing was writtenin the same rhythmic structure I employed at the time in my musical compositions ( Sonatas and Interludes, Three Dances, etc.). One of the structural divisions was the repetition, some fourteen times, of a single page in which occurred the refrain, "If anyone is sleepy let him go to sleep." Jeanne Reynal, I remember, stood up part way through, screamed, and then said, while I continued speaking,"John, I dearly love you, but I can't bear another minute." She then walked out. Later, during the question period, I gave one of six previously prepared answers regardless of the question asked. This was a reflection of my engagement in Zen. -ixAt Black Mountain College in 1952, I organized an event that involved the paintings of Bob Rauschenberg, the dancing of Merce Cunningham, films, slides,phonograph records, radios, the poetries of Charles Olson and M. C. Richards recited from the tops of ladders, and the pianism of David Tudor, together with my Juilliard lecture, which ends: "A piece of string, a sunset, each acts." The audience was seated in the center of all this activity. Later that summer, vacationing in New England, I visited America's first synagogue, to discover that the...
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