John cage music for keyboard 1935 1948 - John Cage: A Book of Music (1944) - YouTube

Silence played a major role in several of Cage's works composed before 4′33″ . The Duet for Two Flutes (1934), composed when Cage was 22, opens with silence, and silence was an important structural element in some of the Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48), Music of Changes (1951) and Two Pastorales (1951). The Concerto for prepared piano and orchestra (1951) closes with an extended silence, and Waiting (1952), a piano piece composed just a few months before 4′33″ , consists of long silences framing a single, short ostinato pattern. Furthermore, in his songs The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs (1942) and A Flower (1950) Cage directs the pianist to play a closed instrument, which may be understood as a metaphor of silence. [10]

It's easy to be seduced by that line of thinking. After all, what is his (in)famous silent piece, 4'33'' , if not a masterstroke of conceptual fullness and pre-determined sonic emptiness rather than a piece of music in any sense that the term had been understood before David Tudor sat down at that piano in 1952 and didn't make a sound for exactly 4 minutes and 33 seconds ? You could make similar arguments for his development of his beautiful graphic scores , abstract images for musical interpretation rather than conventional notes; his use of the Chinese Book of Changes, the I Ching , so that his compositional process was governed by chance operations rather than the workings of his ego; even the prepared piano he created in the late 1930s as an all-in-one percussion and piano section, by sticking nails and bits of rubber into the strings of an otherwise normal piano: great concepts, all of them, that opened gates of perception to new kinds of thinking about music. "Happy new ears", as Cage himself put it.

John Cage Music For Keyboard 1935 1948John Cage Music For Keyboard 1935 1948John Cage Music For Keyboard 1935 1948John Cage Music For Keyboard 1935 1948