john cage Quotes

John Cage Quotes

Date of Death: 1992-08-12 (Wednesday, August 12th, 1992)

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Quotes

    • A finished work is exactly that, requires resurrection.
    • Which is more musical, a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?
    • A sound does not view itself as thought, as ought, as needing another sound for its elucidation, as etc.; it has not time for any consideration--it is occupied with the performance of its characteristics: before it has died away it must have made perfectly exact its frequency, its loudness, its length, its overtone structure, the precise morphology of these and of itself.
    • I imagine that as contemporary music goes on changing in the way that I'm changing it what will be done is to more and more completely liberate sounds from abstract ideas about them and more and more exactly to let them be physically uniquely themselves. This means for me: knowing more and more not what I think a sound is but what it actually is in all of its acoustical details and then letting this sound exist, itself, changing in a changing sonorous environment.
    • I certainly had no feeling for harmony, and Schoenberg thought that that would make it impossible for me to write music. He said, 'You'll come to a wall you won't be able to get through.' So I said, 'I'll beat my head against that wall'.
    • 'What I'm proposing, to myself and other people, is what I often call the tourist attitude - that you act as though you've never been there before. So that you're not supposed to know anything about it. If you really get down to brass tacks, we have never been anywhere before.'
    • 'Art's purpose is to sober and quiet the mind so that it is in accord with what happens.'
    • Cage's Music of Changes was a further indication that the arts in general were beginning to consciously deal with the 'given' material and, to varying degrees, liberating them from the inherited, functional concepts of control.
    • We need not destroy the past. It is gone.
    • I have nothing to say/ and I am saying it/ and that is poetry/ as I need it.
    • If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical, it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.
    • Value judgments are destructive to our proper business, which is curiosity and awareness.
    • I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.
    • I remember loving sound before I ever took a music lesson. And so we make our lives by what we love.
    • The living, for the first time in history, now outnumber the dead
    • In Zen, it is said, if something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.
    • The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.
    • As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency.
    • john cage

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