Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The 4’33” download

In 1952, composer John Cage came up with something he called “4’33″” (read as “four thirty-three,” as in four minutes and 33 seconds). Divided into three movements (30 seconds, 2:23 and 1:40), it involves the musician (or musicians) to sit at their instruments for exactly 4:33 and play…nothing. They just sit there.

Cage meant for the experience to get people to hear the sounds of the environment around them. What did a full concert hall sound like when there was nothing being played? Avant-garde people looked the existentialism of it all while everyone thought it was a little bent, if not a little insane. No wonder “4’33″” became Cage’s most controversial, er, composition.

But here’s where it gets really dumb. You can now get “4’33” on iTunes. And yes, you must pay for it. It costs 99 cents.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38303 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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