I imagine that any comment should be superfluous, but just in case you wondered, the Museum of Modern Art will exhibit Cage’s 1952 score “4’33” (In Proportional Notation) will be exhibiting this famous piece this month.

Rather than try to analyse this as a high falutin’ joke, or a comment on post modernist art, this recalls a story by Zen teacher D.T.Suzuki-
“In China there was a man named Seko, who loved dragons. All his scrolls were dragons, he designed his house like a dragon-house, and he had many pictures of dragons. So the real dragon thought, “If I appear in his house, he will be very pleased.” So one day the real dragon appeared in his room and Seko was very scared of it. He almost drew his sword and killed the real dragon. The dragon cried, “Oh my!” and hurriedly escaped from Seko’s room. Dogen Zenji says, “Don’t be like that.”

I remember a performance we did in Iserlohn with guitar ensemble, where a mobile phone went off and Apostolos Paraskevas, who was conducting, answered this insistent interruption, turned to the audience and announced that the composer was very happy with the performance so far…

More pages of the score are here – note that on page 4 Cage has given us an indication of tempo – “1 page=7 inches=56 seconds.”

Read the full article with Youtube video on Openculture
Video of John Cage on the Ed Sullivan Show

4 thoughts on “4’33”

  1. Have you been trying to reach PlayScore Support (the mobile music app)
    We have been replying to you but our messages have obviously not been getting through.
    We would like to help. Please send us another way to reach you.
    If I have contacted the wrong person please accept my apologies.

    PlayScore support

  2. The title of this piece should be updated to 4’33.15″ in the interests of scientific accuracy!

Comments are closed.