Thursday, November 09, 2006

Music 415

the Cage controversy continues:

"At the actual performance of Imaginary Landscape the hour was later than anticipated before the work’s turn came on the program, so that the ‘instruments’ were unable to capture programs diversified enough to present a really interesting specific result. Members of the performing group said that some of the rehearsals captured much more exciting ingredients for the montage, and expressed regret that a recording of one or two of the practice sessions was not played at the concert instead. Cage’s own attitude about this was one of comparative indifference, since he believes the concept to be more interesting than the result of any single performance"

John Cage: Composer? or Philosopher?

And what's wrong with living in the grey? Why does this bother people so much?

5 Comments:

Blogger Colin Holter said...

To assert that Cage's philosophy is more important than his music is to completely miss the point of both his philosophy and his music.

5:40 PM, November 09, 2006  
Blogger Steve Taylor said...

I think Josephine is saying that Cage's music and philosophy are pretty much the same thing, which may be what Colin is also saying.

Josephine where does the quote come from?

5:54 PM, November 09, 2006  
Blogger Keith Manlove said...

Music is a kind of philosophy. Separating the two cheapens them both. Just ask Deleuze.

7:43 PM, November 09, 2006  
Blogger Josephine Chang said...

I thought about it some more, and I think the argument is that Cage composes ideas and not music. This is partially supported by the quote, since Cage has acknowledged his own disinterest in the sounding product. So, some people believe that Cage is not a composer since he does not really care about the sound, or does not compose specifically with it in mind.

But, and this is starting to get a little catch-22, isn't music just ideas in sound form? So it's kind of impossible to separate the two. Agh! My brain's starting to hurt.

Anyways, I got the quote from an old Musical Quarterly issue.

9:36 PM, November 10, 2006  
Blogger Keith Manlove said...

I would disagree about Cage not caring about the sound or not composing specifically for it. Just because he may have cared about it all or didn't discriminate like the people before him does not give anyone the right to say that he doesn't care. I think it's Boulez that doesn't care how a piece sounds... certainly more than Cage.

Without getting into concepts of ownership and all that, could it be that Cage, instead of not being concerned with sound, was actually not concerned with music in the way that we had been concerned with it since Bach? Could it be that he wasn't concerned with music in the same way that American Pragmatists weren't concerned with truth in the same that we had been since Plato?

Modern thought (especially that which moves from Platonic dualisms) has sought to break down the distinctions between philosophy and the rest of the culture. It is not a distinctive, autonomous culture. Modern philosophy is mainly about ideas. Ideas that will hopefully enhance our lives... make us into better, more autonomous, happier human beings. The ideas of many philosophers, like Cage, extend the goals of the Enlightenment. They help us stand on our own, without authorities such as God or Reason.

The ideas of the past were helpful tools to get us here, and their utility has diminished. New ideas will bring us a better future. If you have problems describing about the world you live in, you learn better words. Many of us have problems talking about Classical music in a contemporary society... obviously Cage is too much then. If Cage is not music, then our concept of music is antiquated... or music as concept is as antiquated as Reason as concept.

10:43 PM, November 10, 2006  

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