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The Sound of Silence

John Cage’s 4'33" is a famous piece of avant-garde ‘music’, in which the audience experience a framed silence. Cage believed that whatever the audience heard during the silence was music, and it causes us to question ‘what is music’? I’ve become a little bit obsessed with this glorious work, and the video below, which is of a performance at the beautiful Barbican in London.
4'33" by John Cage - John Cage Live at the Barbican - BBC Four Collections
This very self-aware work encourages self-awareness: In the video above the audience are appreciating the work, reacting as though they were listening to music. They are listening to, and appreciating the silence, and their faces display a calm, contemplative quality, in an almost meditative state. The audience are part of the performance: their existence creates the music. The susurrus of breathing, rustling, and the weight of silence created by the mute presence of hundreds of bodies is the music of the work. The piece wo…

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