The Death Of The John Cage Essay

The Death Of The John Cage Essay

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Few composers have created such a radical divide in opinions as the notorious John Cage. Born in the year 1912 in Los Angeles, Cage had rather eccentric parents. Perhaps his upbringing is where his unique opinions on compositional style began to take root. Cage’s father was an inventor, making advances in electrostatic field theory and creating quirky inventions like a diesel-fueled submarine. His mother was an artist who did some writing on the side. (Web Source) Oddly enough, Cage’s interest in the musical world had not been ingrained in his persona from an extremely young age. Though he took some piano lessons in childhood, he wanted to pursue writing. After going to college and dropping out, he traveled to Europe where he became more exposed to the world of classical music. Not only did he hear works by those composers that first come to mind like Bach and Mozart, he also discovered more modern ones like Stravinsky. (Web Source) Thus, Cage’s passion for composing avant-garde music was born.
The definition of music is flexible and extremely broad. There are so many different genres and styles, but what do they all have in common? Most music has melody, harmony, and rhythm. Though there are some exceptions where music may not have harmony, most people will give an example of a song or piece that has all three of these elements when asked about their favorite music. This is the way in which most people distinguish music from sound. The second that an organized melody or rhythm is present, we recognize it as music. When walking down the street listening to cars honking, people speaking, and the wind whooshing through the trees, we do not recognize it as music. Although these sounds have pitch and rhythm, the sound is not organize...


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...e books to study based on a chance pick in the library. (Journal) Though I do not enjoy listening to Cage’s music, I think that the philosophy he proposes is unique and important. Even if you do not agree with someone, it is fulfilling to study their point of view and understand their reasons for composing music. Cage’s work mirrored movements that were currently happening in art as well, and will be remembered for his perspective and ingenuity for applying minimalistic and impressionistic concepts to the classical framework. He will be remembered for thinking outside the box and looking beyond the boundary of known compositions. Without individuals who push boundaries and venture in to territory that is unknown, we would not have much of the music that we have today. Cage will inspire future composers for centuries to come, and teach the value of silence and chance.

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