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Thread: Why is 4'33" disparaged, while Western forms of sacred music get their own forum?

  1. #91
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tortkis View Post
    I think a frame that reveals something which was not recognized without it is, together with the found objects, a work of art. A photograph analogy is appropriate. The difference is that 4'33" allows more unexpected contents than an ordinary photograph.
    Fine. All I need do to is to point to something. You will then notice a "found object" you wouldn't have noticed otherwise, and that will make whatever you notice "art" and me an "artist."

    Who knew it was so easy?

  2. #92
    Senior Member tortkis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Fine. All I need do to is to point to something. You will then notice a "found object" you wouldn't have noticed otherwise, and that will make whatever you notice "art" and me an "artist."

    Who knew it was so easy?
    Depends on how you do it, without copying someone's idea.

  3. #93
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    There are so called works of 'art' found in places like Tate Modern in London. I don't knowwhetherthey have an empty frame among all this junk but no doubt if they have someone has claimed it as a masterpiece!

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  5. #94
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Isn't that like someone who's called an artist inviting you to his gallery and showing you a blank wall? Or someone calling himself an author publishing a book with blank pages? (It didn't take me ten years to come up with those examples - though I admit I had Cage to inspire me, while he was working from scratch.)

    Now, you use the example of a framed photograph. But that is not a good example. A photograph may be an image of things in the environment - but those things are chosen by the photographer, and the image is made by him through a controlled process. A photograph really is a composition, and the photographer really is a composer. A better analogy would be a frame with no photograph in it. But a frame with nothing in it is - well, we're back to that blank wall. A frame containing nothing contains... Nothing.
    I think the analogy of the photograph works. You seem to be concerned about the nature of the composer, and that if the final product is not created by the "composer" in a "controlled process" then the object ceases to have artistic value.

    What if a photographer took a camera with him on a trip and set his camera to just take random pictures on a timer - what if some of those pictures turned out beautiful? Is the aesthetic value less because the artist was no longer in complete control? Is your concern here primarily about the art? Or is it more about the artist?

    I think Cage's piece 4'33" is the perfect keystone to the Western music tradition. It releases it from unnecessary concepts such as control, complexity and virtuosity - there is nothing wrong with those attributes but music and art are not limited only to things with those attributes.

    Cage's work points to the infinite. It enriches the Western tradition and opens it up to broader possibilities. This is not to say that everything before him was invalid and everything after him must drastically change. As I said I think his work adds to the tradition, and offers valid new perspectives. It does not subtract from or limit.

    Anyone can use these ideas and run with them (or other ideas) any which way. Pointing to a wall and calling yourself an artist? Sure! Why not? But that doesn't sound very inspired to me, all though it depends what was on the wall and the context.
    Last edited by tdc; Feb-04-2015 at 09:37.

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  7. #95
    Senior Member Kivimees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Fine. All I need do to is to point to something. You will then notice a "found object" you wouldn't have noticed otherwise, and that will make whatever you notice "art" and me an "artist."

    Who knew it was so easy?
    Mrs Kivimees often points to the mess in the garage, a "found object" that I wouldn't have noticed otherwise.
    She certainly doesn't consider it "art".

  8. #96
    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    Default Smart People Love and Hate Cage

    I do not think people who hate 4'33" are ignorant. I know many intelligent people who hate Mozart. Most of the anti-Cage people are very intelligent. Most of the people I know who love Cage are very intelligent. The problem is really ego.

    I am a very knowledgeable, smart person and I hate Cage so he must be bad.

    I am a very knowledgeable, smart person and I love Cage so the people who hate him must be ignorant.

    So we now have the absurd situation of two opposing groups of very intelligent people calling each other stupid and getting thread closed down because the other side was mean to me.

    The irony is that at one time I considered Cage a fraud. As a result of this debate the rhetoric of the anti-Cage faction has succeeded in convincing me that Cage is a great composer and discovering works of Cage that I enjoy.

    The pro-Cage people are actually pretty harmless. Just leave them alone.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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  10. #97
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpeggio View Post
    I do not think people who hate 4'33" are ignorant. I know many intelligent people who hate Mozart. Most of the anti-Cage people are very intelligent. Most of the people I know who love Cage are very intelligent. The problem is really ego.

    I am a very knowledgeable, smart person and I hate Cage so he must be bad.

    I am a very knowledgeable, smart person and I love Cage so the people who hate him must be ignorant.

    So we now have the absurd situation of two opposing groups of very intelligent people calling each other stupid and getting thread closed down because the other side was mean to me.

    The irony is that at one time I considered Cage a fraud. As a result of this debate the rhetoric of the anti-Cage faction has succeeded in convincing me that Cage is a great composer and discovering works of Cage that I enjoy.

    The pro-Cage people are actually pretty harmless. Just leave them alone.
    Who are these "people" who "hate" Cage, who are calling each other "stupid" and "scolding" and "crying," and whose "egos" you have so handily diagnosed?

    They really should be told who they are so that they can go and get help before they start hating Stockhausen too.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Feb-04-2015 at 10:17.

  11. #98
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    I think the analogy of the photograph works. You seem to be concerned about the nature of the composer, and that if the final product is not created by the "composer" in a "controlled process" then the object ceases to have artistic value.

    What if a photographer took a camera with him on a trip and set his camera to just take random pictures on a timer - what if some of those pictures turned out beautiful? Is the aesthetic value less because the artist was no longer in complete control? Is your concern here primarily about the art? Or is it more about the artist?

    I think Cage's piece 4'33" is the perfect keystone to the Western music tradition. It releases it from unnecessary concepts such as control, complexity and virtuosity - there is nothing wrong with those attributes but music and art are not limited only to things with those attributes.

    Cage's work points to the infinite. It enriches the Western tradition and opens it up to broader possibilities. This is not to say that everything before him was invalid and everything after him must drastically change. As I said I think his work adds to the tradition, and offers valid new perspectives. It does not subtract from or limit.

    Anyone can use these ideas and run with them (or other ideas) any which way. Pointing to a wall and calling yourself an artist? Sure! Why not? But that doesn't sound very inspired to me, all though it depends what was on the wall and the context.
    As Maria Callas pointed out, "Art is more than beauty." Nature has aesthetic value, but nature is not art. A photographer shooting at random may accidentally obtain an image with aesthetic value. But nature framed is still nature and not art. Purpose, and the selectivity of the artist in fulfillment of purpose, is what converts the elements of nature into art. A photograph may or may not be a work of art, and the presence and purpose of the artist is what makes the difference.

    I'm afraid that statements such as "Cage's piece 4'33" is the perfect keystone to the Western music tradition," "it releases it from unnecessary concepts such as control, complexity and virtuosity" and "Cage's work points to the infinite" strike me as merely a lot of floating abstractions, unconnected to anything real. "Releasing music from control" denies the purposive nature of art, and "pointing to the infinite" really means nothing at all, since "the infinite" is a concept with no meaning except the negation of limits, which is is neither conceivable or meaningful. These phrases may have poetic resonance for you, but as aesthetic philosophy they lack substance.

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  13. #99
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpeggio View Post
    I do not think people who hate 4'33" are ignorant. I know many intelligent people who hate Mozart. Most of the anti-Cage people are very intelligent. Most of the people I know who love Cage are very intelligent. The problem is really ego.

    I am a very knowledgeable, smart person and I hate Cage so he must be bad.

    I am a very knowledgeable, smart person and I love Cage so the people who hate him must be ignorant.

    So we now have the absurd situation of two opposing groups of very intelligent people calling each other stupid and getting thread closed down because the other side was mean to me.

    The irony is that at one time I considered Cage a fraud. As a result of this debate the rhetoric of the anti-Cage faction has succeeded in convincing me that Cage is a great composer and discovering works of Cage that I enjoy.

    The pro-Cage people are actually pretty harmless. Just leave them alone.
    Just to point out that I don't 'hate' John Cage. I do not know much about him. I do not like what he purports to be his music as it sounds to me like a tuneless racket. And I do not hate 4'33" by considering it a clever idea but not a musical masterpiece! The fact is it isn't. I also cannot but help be amused by those people who take it seriously!
    Last edited by DavidA; Feb-04-2015 at 10:55.

  14. #100
    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    As Maria Callas pointed out, "Art is more than beauty." Nature has aesthetic value, but nature is not art. A photographer shooting at random may accidentally obtain an image with aesthetic value. But nature framed is still nature and not art. Purpose, and the selectivity of the artist in fulfillment of purpose, is what converts the elements of nature into art. A photograph may or may not be a work of art, and the presence and purpose of the artist is what makes the difference.

    I'm afraid that statements such as "Cage's piece 4'33" is the perfect keystone to the Western music tradition," "it releases it from unnecessary concepts such as control, complexity and virtuosity" and "Cage's work points to the infinite" strike me as merely a lot of floating abstractions, unconnected to anything real. "Releasing music from control" denies the purposive nature of art, and "pointing to the infinite" really means nothing at all, since "the infinite" is a concept with no meaning except the negation of limits, which is is neither conceivable or meaningful. These phrases may have poetic resonance for you, but as aesthetic philosophy they lack substance.
    Meh - show me an aesthetic philosophy as it relates to bel canto opera with some substance.

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  16. #101
    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Just to point out that I don't 'hate' John Cage. I do not know much about him. I do not like what he purports to be his music as it sounds to me like a tuneless racket. And I do not hate 4'33" by considering it a clever idea but not a musical masterpiece! The fact is it isn't. I also cannot but help be amused by those people who take it seriously!
    But the thing is, you know about it, have considered it, drawn conclusions (probably at odds with those Cage came to in creating it). So that's something. It's still one of the most referenced works on TC. Should count for something

    Cage wrote a variety of works - In a Landscape is pleasant enough and even received an endorsement from esteemed member ArtMusic. Certainly not a racket:


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  18. #102
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgee View Post
    But the thing is, you know about it, have considered it, drawn conclusions (probably at odds with those Cage came to in creating it). So that's something. It's still one of the most referenced works on TC. Should count for something
    Can I just point out that 4'33" is not a 'work'. It does not require work to create nothing. Unless you count writing 4'33" of bar lines creative work. I don't!

  19. #103
    Senior Member TalkingHead's Avatar
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    Oh dear, here we are again. Anyway, I just have a couple of things I'd like to say. First off, I'm a big Cage fan, and I find 4'33" an interesting little piece, but I'm not going to get all steamed up about it (either in enthusiasm or disparagement).
    About silence though, parts of Woodduck's post (see #58 above) did bring a smile to my lips. Here's the part:

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    [...] If I may get down to brass tacks here: I do not think that saying that 4'33" is "only conceptual" is "special pleading." I think it is true. I do not think that a list of instructions for a "performer" to behave in a certain way, for a certain period of time divided into "movements," while playing nothing, constitutes a piece of music. [...
    Well, you do realise Woodduck, that for many brass players (yes, those musicians again, they'll be the bane of your life!)) often have to sit out entire movements in many a symphony by Haydn (usually the minuet and trio). Can you imagine it, grown men and women just sitting there with their instruments in their laps, staring at their parts (I mean their written score part, natch!) covered in large chunks of empty bars, being instructed by Joe Haydn and coerced by some tyrannical conductor to sit there and play nothing! Anyways, silence is golden, so I'll say no more.

    Do excuse me, I have to return now to lining my entire apartment in aluminium foil to stop the alien lizards from reading my thoughts...

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  21. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmos View Post
    ...i like 4'33"
    Now that's the kind of post I go for - short and to the point. No self-serving explanation and not one word that could be taken as offensive. Way to go!

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  23. #105
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    Dear John,
    Although you are dead, can I suggest a sequel to 4'33" ?
    Similar to the original, but with intentional sound in the first and third movements. That would stir the pot!

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