Reading Response 2

I find it interesting that at the beginning of the article John Cage’s thoughts about the term “experimental” shifted. At first he was distraught when people called his music “experimental” because he, as an artist, knew that his piece was an actual finished piece. He was a true artist in the field of music, because he took the “prelim design” stage and fused it with the actual final product, giving he audience the final product when he himself is currently creating it. This gives the listener front line tickets to the process of music making as well as getting to see a product go through all of the stages of creation, in one performance.

John Cage sees music and sounds as continuous things that are constantly occurring around us and affecting how we react and judge things. He wants us as humans, who have both eyes and ears, to use them to their full potential and observe the world around us and the constant harmonies that are happening. He believes there is no such thing as silence. There are constantly sounds intermingling with other sounds, even if those sounds happen to be the “idea of silence”, which in musical aspects would be considered the rests. His idea that even rests in music are still sounds harmoniously interacting with other notes, or rests, is kind of an odd one for me. I am very musical, but i’m not sure if I can fully follow his thoughts.

He seems very calm when he is considering the fact that music is constantly changing and evolving, and while the rest of  the world is up in arms, he tells us there is not need for alarm. He explains that music is always and ever changing. The way we develop technology is helping it along tremendously, and we as humans are experiencing and creating completely new sounds and combinations of sounds never before played.

He then goes on to talk about the concept of how simultaneous sounds, no matter how recursive, will never match up and truly be harmonious. He gives a really good example of how bands and performers perform today with their speakers and instruments causing sounds to come from many different locations rather than a central focal point. This gives the listener a good chance of hearing all of the sounds together and as harmonious as possible.

Based on everything that I have read, I don’t really think I can agree with John Cage’s thoughts and ideas about his experimental music in the contemporary art world. On one hand, I do think that the way music is involved in our lives today is definitely more apparent, and I think that it is definitely in its own art form, I don’t necessarily consider it contemporary art. Like his piece, 4’33, a concert in which he gathered an entire orchestra on stage to perform, and they merely sat in silence for over four minutes, yes that was definitely making a statement in the performance/music world, but was it really something that should be considered contemporary art? I don’t personally have anything against him personally or his performance, I just don’t even know how I feel about them as of right now.

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