Segments in this Video

Today on "Camera Three" (03:43)


Listen to an excerpt of "Indeterminacy." Critics laud John Cage for "4:33," his compositions with a prepared piano, and his noise tapes. Cage describes to Jack Kroll how he discovers silence when his brain is conditioned to hear all intentional and unintentional sounds.

Structuring Compositions (02:51)

Cage relinquishes any sense of structure in his musical compositions and believes he is facilitating a process rather than making an object. Sound is an introduction to an environment. By following the I Ching, Cage discovered he could formulate parameters that could be answered within the text.

Indeterminacy or Chance Operations (02:08)

Cage explains that chance operations can only happen when the composer is aware of the sounds in the composition. If one of the sounds is introduced by the performer, that is indeterminacy; it is the best method to learn about one's environment.

Modern Compositions (04:25)

Cage is interested in pushing boundaries but feels sounds that destroy hearing should not be included in indeterminacy. In compositions, he experiments with loudness and softness. Critics complain his concerts with David Tudor or Gordon Mumma are too loud— listen to excerpts from "Variations II" and "William's Mix."

"Variations II" and "William's Mix" (02:17)

Cage composed "William's Mix" with chance operations. He divided sounds into six categories and experimented with them. "Variations II" is an example of indeterminacy.

Inspired other Artists (03:38)

Cage describes how artists tend to want to divide the material they will use from material they do not want to use, and cautions against that in modern compositions. "The Big Glass" by Marcel Duchamp and "The White Paintings" by Robert Rauschenberg are contemporary artworks. Cage explains how modern works include the environment into its aesthetic.

World is Changing (03:13)

After working on Oahu, Cage realized how odd it seemed that rival factions inhabited the land less than 100 years ago. If all humans were given basic needs, divisiveness between communities would cease. Cage describes how contemporary aesthetics in music is also an ideological revolution.

Role of the Composer (04:02)

Cage was taught that the artist must have a point of view in his music but realized art should help open the artist to the environment. Marshall McLuhan postulated that music was a continuation of the central nervous system through electronics. Music should change the environment and the role of the artist is to help abet this process.

Credits: John Cage Talks of His Work and Aesthetic (00:30)

Credits: John Cage Talks of His Work and Aesthetic

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John Cage Talks of His Work and Aesthetic

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3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



Conversation between avant garde composer John Cage and Jack Kroll, senior arts editor at Newsweek. Cage was a composer and a philosopher of aesthetics, whose revolutionary definitions of music influenced a whole generation of artists to, as he put it, take chances and accept accidents. “I welcome into my music sounds that are considered unmusical in order to heighten awareness of the environment.” This awareness is the entry point for his strong social agenda, nothing less than one world, with all resources shared equally. “The world mind can be changed.” In this far ranging conversation Cage discusses his life and work, the purpose of his music, and his experiments

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL128491

ISBN: 978-1-64023-324-9

Copyright date: ©1969

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.