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Feast of ExcessA Cultural History of the New Sensibility$
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George Cotkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190218478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218478.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 June 2021

Sounds of Silence

Sounds of Silence

John Cage


(p.25) { 1 } Sounds of Silence
Feast of Excess

George Cotkin

Oxford University Press

The chapter traces Cage’s central role in the development of a new sensibility through his musical and artistic experimentation. In 1952 he produced a work of extreme minimalism, 4ʹ33ʺ, which is about silence opening up listeners to new sounds in their environment. In his excessively maximalist work Theater Piece no. 1, the first happening, performers read poetry, danced, played records, showed slides, and much more in an act of spontaneous experimentation. The chapter fits Cage within the context of the New York City avant-garde and examines his use of the I Ching as a method for composition.

Keywords:   John Cage, happenings, avant-garde, minimalism, maximalism, I Ching, American music

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