4 33 Analysis

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In order to understand the inspiration behind 4’33”, a brief introduction to John Cage’s life is mandatory. Born in 1912, it can be deduced that most of Cage’s creative thoughts originated from his father, who invented the submarine that held the world’s record of staying underneath water (Nicholls 4). At a young age, Cage learned piano from his aunt who exposed him to music of the 19th Century and laid his foundation in music theory (Haskins 19-20). Despite being a top student, Cage dropped out of college after realizing that the education system contradicted his ideals. For example, instead of following his classmates to read a particular book for their assignment, Cage randomly selected a book to study instead (Tomkins 78). Surprisingly, he received a good grade which could have triggered his …show more content…
Assuming that Cage’s philosophy of sound is valid, what would happen to the music industry? If every composer chooses to use silence as a basis, will the level of music appreciation decrease? Putting aside the concept of what qualifies as music, it is evident that 4’33” comprises of both Eastern and Western ideals. A fusion of European classical concert conventions and Zen paradoxes, Cage exposed the world to new means of listening to music (Gann 31). Through Cage’s works, it has also shed light on the history of American music that is closely linked to European influences, hence explaining the need for formal structures in music. In conclusion, while it takes time to interpret Cage’s artistic vision, 4’33” is a work that encompasses religion, sound and environment into one entity. Regardless of whether it is music to the ears, 4’33” communicates the message that music composition is not entirely about having a rich texture or memorable motifs. It shows how a piece of music can be aesthetically beautiful with just the natural sounds that often goes neglected in our daily

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