65. 4’33” (Four Minutes Thirty Three Seconds) The Music of John Cage

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65. 4'33" (Four Minutes Thirty Three Seconds) The Music of John Cage

In the twentieth century music moves toward avant-garde or experimental and controversial. John Milton Cage (1912-1992) was an American composer who embraced all of these. A pioneer in chance music, he used non-standard instruments including pianos altered by putting objects in the piano strings to make unique sounds. Cage studied with Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg in the 30’s, two composers considered influential in the avant-garde era, but Cage would move the needle in another direction…East perhaps. In the 40’s Cage was influenced by the Zen Buddists. His music reflects southeast Asian philosophies and aestetics. He employed the I Ching as a compositional tool in his music. But Cage is best known for his piece called 4’33” where the sounds in the room are the composition.

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