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Silence: Lectures and Writings Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan; 1st edition (June 15, 1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819560286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819560285
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“As the unchallenged father figure of American experimental music, Mr. Cage wields an influence that extends far beyond sound alone….Indeed, the entire American avant-garde would be unthinkable without Mr. Cage’s music, writings, and genially patriarchical personality.”—John Rockwell, The New York Times

“Of all Cage’s books, it is perhaps the first, Silence, which has had the broadest impact. Even now, artists of all sorts continue to respond to its Zen principles, its chance procedures, and its revolutionary ideas about sound, silence, form, and time”—Dance Chronicle

“SILENCE starts with the finest dedications of modern times—‘To Whom It May Concern’—and past that you embark on one of the most entertaining and rewarding intellectual voyages that contemporary literature affords.”—Alfred Frankenstein, San Francisco Chronicle

“One of the most entertaining and rewarding intellectual voyages that contemporary literature affords.”—San Francisco Chronicle

From the Publisher

7 x 8 1/4 trim. LC 61-14238

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This book was on my son's wish list.
Charlene Mandelbaum
When I was working on a doctorate in music composition his approach was essential to understanding how Eastern influences entered into Western music.
Earl C. Robicheaux
Overall, it is definitely worth reading, and it is fairly affordable...a good addition to any collection.
T. Bishop

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 78 people found the following review helpful By George Grella VINE VOICE on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's always a strange sensation for me to go into a record store, or even see what's available here, and find so many John Cage recordings in print. As the most essential and avant-garde composer of the century, that's gratifying to me [a composer] but also unnerving that anyone so experimental and uncompromising in the arts would enjoy such popularity.
This book goes a long way towards explaining that. And in many ways, this book stands apart from his music, and can be enjoyed without ever hearing or knowing of Cage's music pieces. Because the music was almost by accident - Schoenberg told Cage that he was an inventor, not a composer, and this book demonstrates that, and goes further to show Cage was a philosopher. Music just happened to be the medium where he best expressed his philosophy, but it could have been painting or film, depending on his path. The book defines a way of living and thinking and seeing, and of course hearing, the world. That's what it's about. And it's beautiful and gentle quality capture the essence of Cage, a true quiet revolutionary. His revolution was profound, and best expressed in his piano piece 4'33", where the pianist does not make a sound at the instrument. The revolution of that event was the most profound and destabilizing in the history of music, and yet it was entirely silent. Such is the power of Cage's ideas that he has no need to really 'lecture' about them, he merely presents them and let's their own strength do the rest.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David Neale-Lorello on July 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the only book of Cage's I have read, but I found it not only cleared up any questions I had about the nature and intention of his work, but also gave me a much greater appreciation of what a true pioneer he was, both as an artist and philosopher. His humor and passion for life and art are in clear evidence throughout the book; each article or lecture reveals a new facet, a new layer of his boundless creativity and powerful stand for all art. Even though parts of the book may get fairly technical, much of what he says about music applies to life in general and to the goal of pursuing both to their fullest. A must-have for any serious musician or lover of art and life.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David Rodwin on August 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
I keep reading it year after year and I keep finding sections of it I've never seen before. magic. A the same time, I read the same part overs and over again years later and they just get better.
It's just a remarkable text.
You have to get it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. mcnalley on March 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kindle edition is just a collection of scanned pages. The text doesn't reflow, and doesn't zoom. It is microscopic on an ordinary Kindle. The book is marked as "optimized for large screens" but it is really just an extremely lazy attempt at an ebook. I expected reflowable text and a few large images of Cage's visual scores. What I got was unusable on my Kindle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By dgm on June 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
If you value your sanity then stay away from this book. This book will make you go crazy. Nevertheless a classic, one of my favorites.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Having red an increasingly litterature of and about John Cage, Silence is the one I return to. It reveals his ways and his means, as by actually composing the lectures and writings the same way he composed his music. Even if the content often serves only to fill the composition, it is funny and it is full of wisdom. And beautiful. Add up the Indeterminacy recording from Smithsonian Folkways, and you have the best of his writings.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eve Beglarian on February 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books on music, for sure, but the Kindle edition is making me crazy!!! I read on the iPad and have to magnify each page to get the type readable: each page is an image, so no highlighting, annotating etc. is possible, but there's a GIANT margin around the page, which if it had been utilized, would make a totally readable font-size. CRAZY-MAKING!!! a pdf version would at least be possible to mark up using the various PDF readers out there.

what are publishers thinking?!?! PLEASE put some more effort into creating e-reader versions: or at least warn the buyer ahead of time that most e-reader functionality will be unavailable.

okay, rant over. enjoy the book, it's life-changingly wonderful!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Perry Natlynne on February 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
A great collection of Cage's lectures and writings. Much of it is very abstract, other parts more straightforward and focused on musical form (or lack thereof), much discussion on composition and music of the latter part of the 20th century, how we view music, and the integral role that silence and noises plays in how people perceive music.
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