Actually, I wasn't being so bold as to advance any theses one way or
another - that's why I used quote marks :) I was asking questions because
it seems to me that this notion of a performance of 4:33 is odd (vague) on
the face of it in various ways, and I wanted clarification of what others
took it to be. Personally, I suspect John Cage of trying to mess with my
mind :) (01)
Simon and Garfunkel wrote "The Sounds of Silence". I think that at least
some folks are taking it that a performance of 4:33 is intended to direct us
towards attending to silence? (Is that right? - Chris spoke of 4:33 as a
limiting case of a musical rest.). Do we know that it's not the intention of
the composer or performer to direct us to listen to ambient sounds during a
performance? Do we know that these ambient sounds are not part of the
'music' that we are supposed to attend to as well as attending to silence?
(Jeffrey referred to John Cage 'music'. Is the point of performing 4:33 an
attempt to direct us to reconsider what our definition of music is? - Does
music have to be sound intentionally produced? What about an accidental
bow-scrape? What about foot stomps during Flamenco? What about my own
foot-tappings?) Are we even supposed to be attending to silence as well
as to sound? Or have I missed something about what a performance of 4:33 is
supposed to be? (02)
Ironically, my phone just rang. When I picked it up, there was 'silence' on
the line, besides a background noise.Was someone trying to call me or was it
a random computer glitch somewhere? This happens a lot more these days than
it used to :) I guess this is an epistemological question, though. (03)
Other questions which puzzle me: (04)
What if two performers announce simultaneous performances of 4:33 on the
same stage and I don't hear one of the announcements? I suppose that I, in
the audience, only (hear?) attend to one of the performances? But other
folks hear two performances? Is that right? Or does everyone hear one
What if a performance of 4:33 is broadcast on the radio, but the transmitter
fails during the 4:33 broadcast. - does the radio audience hear the whole
performance? (Someone else alluded to this, I think.) (06)
An orchestra can perform a Beethoven symphony without announcing it first,
and then folks in the audience willl likely respond affirmatively to the
question: did you hear a symphony just now? And maybe, depending on the
audience, even to the question, did you hear a Beethoven symphony just now?
But will folks in the audience of an unannounced performance of 4:33 respond
affirmatively to the question: did you hear a performance of 4:33 just now?
What's the difference in these cases? Or can one perform 4:33 unannounced?
(Chris spoke of 'an internal nod', though.) (07)
Also, is there a problem about (how you represent) the notion of 'hearing
silence' (or of 'attending to silence')? Since silence is the absence of
(iff ( hearsSilenceDuring (?X ?T) (not (exists ?Y) (and (sound ?Y) (hears ?X
?Y ?T)))) (09)
??? (A crude attempt) (010)
How are you supposed to formalize this stuff? (011)
PS Speaking of intentions: (013)
" Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence" (014)
Metaphor and simile, of course, and so off-limits to formalization, as far
as I know. That's why I suspect Cage of messing with my mind. He was an
artist after all :). (015)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Current Semantic Web Layer pizza (was ckae) (016)
> Dear Chris,
>> > > Your questions betray a radically extensionalist view of
>> music, Jay
>> > > -- you seem to be suggesting that a performance of Cage's piece is
>> > > identical with any 4'33" interval of silence.
>> > >
>> > > > What is the sound of one hand clapping?
>> > >
>> > > Obviously you don't watch The Simpsons. :-)
>> > >
>> > > > "No entity without identity."
>> > >
>> > > Ah, confirmation of your extensionalism!
>> > What Jay had actually missed was the intentional nature of a
>> > performance.
>> Er, uh...huh? I chided Jay about his apparently extensional view of
>> musical performances, i.e., the view that they are identical with the
>> sound produced.
> MW: Well then perhaps I should be asking what you mean by
> extensionalism, since it seems to be different from my understanding.
> MW: My understanding would be that under extensionalism, the
> identity of an object (that it is a distinct object) is defined by its
> extension. So a performance of 4'33" is a particular piece of space time
> including temporal parts of the performers and listeners and some
> instrument(s). It would not be any peice of silent 4'33", because it
> needs to be an intentional silent performance of 4'33" to qualify. So
> I would see a category error in what you were criticising as apparently
>> Obviously, what is missing from such a view are the
>> intentional elements of a performance (as I even illustrated; see
> MW: Yes, we are agreed on this. It is the leap to a problem with
> xtensionalism that I do not follow.
>> > (You may recall Leo pointing out the intentional nature of
>> > performance.)
>> And you may recall my pointing out that musical performances are not
>> extensional. ;-)
> MW: Well I would say that they were extensional, so clearly we mean
> something different. I'd like to know what you mean.
>> > There is no performance of 4' 33" unless it is intended to be. The
>> > intentional nature of performance is a key element of its identity.
>> *boggle* In addition to registering my disagreement with an
>> view of musical performance, I paid explicit homage to the intentional
>> in a passage you neglected to quote:
>> > > Obviously [4'33"] begins at the beginning; given the nature of the
>> > > piece it seems to me it begins when the performer gives
>> some sort of
>> > > internal nod and, of course, ends 4'33" later.
>> > Extensionalism here is irrelevant, except that it allows
>> you to answer
>> > the question of how many performances there were in a
>> particular hall
>> > at a particular time based on the participation of the
>> performers and
>> > the audience.
>> I think you need to re-read my post. Our views of performance are
>> apparently quite similar. Why you failed to see that is
>> rather baffling
>> to me.
> MW: I agree our views of performance are similar. I am baffled by
> what you mean by extensionalism.
> Matthew West
> Reference Data Architecture and Standards Manager
> Shell International Petroleum Company Limited
> Registered in England and Wales
> Registered number: 621148
> Registered office: Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA, United Kingdom
> Tel: +44 20 7934 4490 Mobile: +44 7796 336538
> Email: matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx
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