Saturday, October 31, 2009

John Cage - SILENCE

I had a copy, years ago of John Cage’s “III. Communication” from Silence, but I’ve never had a copy of Silence, or of any of his other books. I’ve now rectified that. His influence on the arts has been massive, and one can hear echoes of his process in much that is now. (Even though yes of course Dada and Gertrude Stein were obvious influences on Cage. The question still remains the answer. Or as e.e. cummings would say, “the answer is the more beautiful question” or something like that.)

For instance Michael Palmer’s Notes for Echo Lake.

So to honor my new, old things, here’s the opening snippet from “III. Communication”:

What if I ask thirty-two questions?
What if I stop asking now and then?
Will that make things clear?
Is communication something made clear?
What is communication?
Music, what does it communicate?
Is what’s clear to me clear to you?
Is music just sounds?
Then what does it communicate?
Is a truck passing by music?
If I can see it, do I have to hear it too?
If I don’t hear it, does it still communicate?
If while I see it I can’t hear it, but hear something else, say an egg-beater, because I’m inside looking out, does the truck communicate or the egg-beater, which communicates?
Which is more musical, a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?
Are the people inside the school musical and the ones outside unmusical?
What if the ones inside can’t hear very well, would that change my question?
Do you know what I mean when I say inside the school?
Are sounds just sounds or are they Beethoven?
People aren’t sounds, are they?
Is there such a thing as silence?
Even if I get away from people, do I still have to listen to something?
Say I’m off in the woods, do I have to listen to a stream babbling?
Is there always something to hear, never any peace and quiet?
If my head is full of harmony, melody, and rhythm, what happens to me when the telephone rings, to my peace and quiet, I mean?
And if it was European harmony, melody, and rhythm in my head, what has happened to the history of, say, Javanese music, with respect, that is to say, to my head?
Are we getting anywhere asking questions?
Where are we going?
Is this the twenty-eighth question?
Are there any important questions?
“How do you need to cautiously proceed in dualistic terms?”
Do I have two more questions?
And, now, do I have none?






At 11/11/2009 9:14 AM, Blogger Ed Baker said...

Cage continuously did....

and this

will lead you to the scan of the exact copy of my Points/Counterpoints that John Cage had for awhile and passed on to Jackson MacLow who sent it back to me...

check out Cage's M

At 11/11/2009 10:01 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I'm in the midst of A Year From Monday right now, and was wondering which of the later books I shoudl check out. M, then?

And thanks for the link. I'm finding these books very helpful.

At 11/11/2009 10:55 AM, Blogger Ed Baker said...

saw John Cage on The Gary Moore Show (I betcha it s on the "net" some where..


check out

Cage's NOTATIONS and his How to Improve the World (you can only make Matters Worse)

Rich Kstelanetz's Conversing with Cage


Revill's The Roaring Silence

Yoko Ono was very close to John Cage she and John Lennon lived (also) on Bank Street when I met him/them...

productive folks.

At 11/11/2009 10:58 AM, Blogger Ed Baker said...

JOHN CAGE on I've Got a Secret live 1960 !

At 11/11/2009 11:00 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Yeah, I have the "How to Improve
the World..." bits in the book I'm reading now.

A lot of it is dated, but a lot isn't. People should talk about him more than they do.

At 11/11/2009 11:01 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I saw that I've Got a Secret thing, where he does "Water Walk" I think? Fun. I love his reactions to the host, and then the throwing of the radios. Nice.

At 2/04/2011 6:40 AM, Anonymous Viagra Online said...

Silence is a perfect book according my other colleagues have told me, because they told me that Cage combines some literary elements in there to catch the people's attention, that's perfect because we know we'll get a master piece.


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