The Activity of Sound

4 April 2008

Somewhere back at the start of this notebook I wrote about a youTube clip of John Cage in action on some TV 1950's gameshow talking about and then performing a composition called Water Walk.

A few days ago I came across another amazing youTube clip of Cage, this one from an interview in a 1992 documentary by Miroslav Sebestik. It works best when you hear and see him – he has such warmth and delight when speaking about sound, but the start of the clip I really loved and wanted to transcribe.

 "When I hear what we call music it seems to me that someone is talking and talking about his feelings or about his ideas or his relationships. But when I hear traffic, the sound of traffic here on 6th Avenue for instance, I don't have the feeling that anyone is talking. I have the feeling that sound is acting. And I Iove the activity of sound. What is does is it gets louder and quieter and it gets higher and lower and it gets longer and shorter. It does all those things which I've.. I'm completely satisfied with that – I don't need sound to talk to me."