Tuesday, May 10, 2005


I recently found this site, which features recordings of John Cage's 4'33" available for download as both a zipped wav and as a MIDI file. The wav apparently didn't unzip correctly, however, and the MIDI file wants to download a sample it can't find, so I'm not sure I'm hearing it correctly. Anyhoo, I had the idea of converting it to a ringtone and promoting it widely, maybe even selling it on eBay. But since I don't own the copyright to that particular piece of music, I guess I'll just release this particular bright idea into the Public Domain. I still think I'll create my own mp3 file of the thing. I wonder what sort of variable bitrate will give the best fidelity...

"I have nothing to say
and I am saying it
and that is poetry
as I needed it"
-- John Cage


The King Of Music said...

congratulations, your idea grew legs:


World's First Silent Ringtone Available
By Annalee Newitz EmailJanuary 05, 2007 | 3:41:01 PM

433 Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats has created the world's first silent ringtone, a bootleg of John Cage's famous piano piece that contains four minutes and 33 seconds of silence. Cage performed 4'33" live before an audience in 1952. But, says Keats, Cage was limited by the technologies available at the time. His silence wasn't perfect because it wasn't digital -- nor could it be freely distributed via sound files. So Keats wrote "My Cage," a 4:33 minute ringtone of pure, unadulterated silence. You can get it for free from Start Mobile, a ringtone distributor, and Keats urges people to remix and mashup his ringtone as much as they wish.

Hazy Dave said...

Thanks for the tip!

Amusingly enough, just a few days ago, Ann Althouse wrote:

"I specifically enjoy the absence of music, and I seek it out. If silence were a track I could have on my iPod, it would be on my most-played list."

I recently recorded 5 minutes of our canary singing, and quite enjoy having it pop up on the playlist every now and then when I'm working. That has the effect of something in between music and silence, I think. (I had to reduce the volume a little compared to other mp3's however.)

Once while playing a Joe Cocker LP, it began to skip right in the groove between tracks one and two, so I popped in a tape and recorded a few minutes of it. I subsequently made a wav file from that, so now I can toss it onto the end of a CD-R if I don't want the car player to restart the first track too soon after finishing the disc. (I titled it "Virgin Vinyl".)

The King Of Music said...

The link to the silent ringtone at the Wired website didn't work. I posted:

"The link doesn't work: 404 Not Found

more conceptual art, or did the John Cage Foundation get to him like they did to Mike Batt? Gawd, what assholes those people are. So uncageian."

I have posted my own silent song: http://www.soundclick.com/MattLove

Silent Night (Homage to John Cage)

Do you have christmas carols, or do you love modern music or both or neither? Give yourself a break from traditional christmas songs, and enjoy this radical revisitation of Silent Night, performed in the style of John Cage's (in)famous 4'33"

By saying it's an homage to cage rather than saying he wrote it, or claiming I sampled his silence, I hope to avoid the Silent Inquisition.