[Dixielandjazz] John Cage & silence

Anton Crouch a.crouch@unsw.edu.au
Thu, 22 Aug 2002 12:27:48 +1000

Hello all

The discussion on the "silence" of 4'33'' has been wonderful - some of our
DJMLers could risk giving up their day jobs and have a go at being stand-up
comedians. Yes, seriously   :-)

Is it too early to introduce an analytical note? 

How many people have experienced the "one minute's silence" for a friend or
colleague? In a group of, say, 20 or 30 the one minute seems very long
indeed - after about 30 seconds you start to notice your heatbeat, you own
and other people's breathing, the slight shuffling sound of human movement
and the ambient sound.

Imagine this in a concert hall with 1500 to 2000 people. If the performer
enters, sits and engages the audience, the silence that follows will surely
make an impression.

I suspect that a performance only works with an audience. I have a
recording which varies the "silence" with changes of hiss etc from the
mixer and it doesn't work.

Oh, play that thing!