English 1C – Honors
May 17, 2018
Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds of Silence
The artistic value that people have differ from one another. One may say that this specific piece of art is beautiful, while others may say that it is not. The aesthetic value differs for each people, that’s why there are different opinions regarding a piece of art. A piece of art can be decided if it is valuable or not with aesthetic principles. The aesthetic principles are commonly used to determine whether an art is valuable and has an artistic value or not. John Cage, an American composer made a composition titled “Four Minutes, Thirty-Three Seconds” which made a lot of people talk about whether or not it can be considered as an art. Some people say that it is not an art because it is a complete silence where he just sat in front of the piano, closes it and it is finished, while others say that it is an art because there is something that can be heard and it is beautiful. John Cage’s “Four Minutes, Thirty-Three Seconds” is a piece of an art that is valuable because it does have value that makes it valuable according to the aesthetic principles.
The piece “Four Minutes. Thirty-Three Seconds” by John Cage was first performed by David Tudor on August 29, 1952 in Maverick Concert Hall, Woodstock, New York, as a part of a recital. According to the video of David Tudor performing, at the beginning, John Cage said that “the material of music is sound and silence. Integrating these is composing. I have nothing to say and I am saying it”, and then the performance begins with Tudor opening the lid of the piano, closing it, and then places a stopwatch to see the time. And throughout the performance, Tudor didn’t play the piano, he just sat there and sometimes open the lid of the piano and then closes it to mark the end of a movement. There was no sound of piano playing in the whole performance.
This piece is the most controversial piece by John Cage because it challenges the whole idea about music. According to Wikipedia.org on “4′33″”, Cage defended his piece by saying that there is no such thing as silence and his piece is full of accidental sounds. Cage said that the audience who doesn’t understand this piece just don’t know how to listen. His piece is valuable because according to aesthetic principles, it has some values even thought according to a lot of people, it is just silence. But what everyone thought to be silence is actually not silence. According to rosewhitemusic.com on “What silence taught John Cage: The story of 4′ 33″”, what is really interesting is the concept that Cage is using for this piece. The music in that piece can’t be performed in another performance because each performance has its unique sound. The sound came from the audiences and it is impossible to have the audiences of the next performance to have the same sound with the one before.
Cage’s piece “Four Minutes, Thirty-Three Seconds” posses a special aesthetic property. It has a valua...