Sheet music for John Cage's 4' 33"


31 Responses to “Sheet music for John Cage's 4' 33"”

  1. Jem Sweeney says:

    This is actually the 2nd version of the sheet notation. The first version is graphical and much cooler.

  2. royaltrux says:

    The comments on that site are pretty good.

  3. Lt. Col. w00t says:

    The point of the piece is to call attention to the nature of silence, for the record. It is supposed to go in the middle of a concert and make the audience aware of the huge number of tiny sounds that happen in our every day lives which we normally don’t notice. People coughing, chairs creaking, the ventilation in the room, all of these things. 

  4. OldBrownSquirrel says:

    I keep waiting for someone to get a DMCA takedown for allegedly sampling a recording of this.

    • The Rizz says:

      I know!  I’ve seen at least a dozen YouTube videos in the last week using this – uncredited, mind you – for the soundtrack!

  5. PaulMorel says:

    `The performer doesn’t necessarily do nothing. The performer is supposed to mark the division of time specified by cage,so that the audience’s perception of sound is grouped into three distinct sections. This goes back to Cage’s observation that the fundamental part of music is time, rather than pitch or frequency. Tudor indicated the three sections by opening and closing the lid of the piano. This has been followed by most performers, but it might be indicated by any action deemed appropriate by the performer (within vague boundaries … see interviews with Cage).

    • David Pescovitz says:

      I didn’t say the performer doesn’t do anything. 

      • EH says:

        By the same sophistic terms (and the terms of the piece itself), the inescapable creaks and touches of the lid as it opens and closes can be considered “playing” the piano.

        • Boundegar says:

          That’s exactly right.  Except you apparently have judged Cage and found him wanting.  I am sure he would be devastated if he was alive.

  6. randall pollok says:

    Hey! I posted stuff about this back at his anniversary just a month back, so how about this:

    Consider buying some sheet music of George Crumb’s and using it as wall art. Or play it! That’s cool too. But George’s music is the most stunning to -look- at… Check it out!

    A superficial google search isn’t showing enough neat stuff, but it is worth seeking out. And the images above fail to convey how -big- his scores are, as well.

    A personal favorite: Ancient Voices of Children — which can be purchased at sheetmusicplus as well, but the images there don’t do it justice.

  7. Jim Altieri says:

    Or you can take the score with you wherever you go!

  8. dragonfrog says:

    Not sure if it’s deliberate or a glitch, but I like that the main page consistently shows ’0 comments’ for this story…

  9. zuludaddy says:

    This is a comment.

  10. Paul Renault says:

    I’m tempted to buy a copy, just to see if it has a section similiar to that legendary IBM(?) technical manual which had a section “This page, and the next five pages, are intentionally left blank”.

  11. Aaron says:

    Let’s not forget ‘Faerie’s Aire and Death Waltz’ by the immortal John Stump. Release the penguins!

  12. pjcamp says:

    I have a signed first edition.

    John Cage looked at it for 4.73 seconds.

  13. Justin Sabe says:

    So many questions for composition  analyses! What key is it in? what time signature? How many parts are written? How are dynamics expressed?

  14. robuluz says:

    Luckily, I play by ear.

  15. FoolishOwl says:

    ”    ”
    ”                                 ”

  16. slideguy says:

    I’m a slow reader.  Do they have it in TAB?

  17. TheMudshark says:

    John Cage: Master Troll

  18. Sparg says:

    I wanted to take this piece to state competition in high school, but my band director said he didn’t think the judges would appreciate the humor of it.  Looking back, I think a few of them would, especially if I showed a decent amount of musicianship.

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