Find somewhere to sit, it doesn’t matter where. Imagine a musician entering the space and preparing to perform. Count to two hundred and seventy-three in beats as close to a second apart as you can manage.
Applaud as the performer exits the space.
You have just created a mental facsimile of the most famous work of American composer John Milton Cage (1912–1992). It is called 4’33” and is not, as is commonly assumed, a piece of silence but rather a period of time to notice the sounds, the music if you will, of your environment.
The piece is one of many explorations of expectations and context that Cage undertook during his career, a musical life rooted in the European tradition but moulded and influenced profoundly by Cage’s interest in Eastern philosophy, particularly Zen Buddhism.
It has been said that all behaviour is communication, which certainly includes creating music, one…
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