Thursday, January 17, 2008
Is 4'33'' music?
Well, this is something that I have debated many times with many different people. The one thing that surprises me is that there seems to be an even number of people with differing opinions when talking to musicians and non-musicians. My belief is that we have evolved to a state where any sound can be music. If Varese's "Hyperprism" or Babbit's "Philomel" are music, then we should most certainly be able to view ambient noise as music. Think of the lesson from the hyperbaric chamber - there is no silence. I have often started riffing off the sound made by my turn signal or windshield wipers. Are they music? What about when both are running at the same time, and they phase in and out of each other. Wouldn't Reich be so pleased to listen to that? Also, what about when you are humming or whistling a tune and a truck backs up near by. Sometimes the harmony produced becomes new and exciting. It is this type of background noise that can serve as the ultimate inspiration in reevaluating our concept of what we deem to be 'music'.