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Silent Music
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
  • Andrew Kania, Trinity University
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In this essay, I investigate musical silence. I first discuss how to integrate the concept of silence into a general theory or definition of music. I then consider the possibility of an entirely silent musical piece. I begin with John Cage’s 4′33″, since it is the most notorious candidate for a silent piece of music, even though it is not, in fact, silent. I conclude that it is not music either, but I argue that it is a piece of non-musical sound art, rather than simply a piece of theatre, as Stephen Davies has argued. I end with consideration of several other candidates for entirely silent pieces, concluding that two of these are in fact pieces of music consisting entirely of silence.
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Kania, A. (2010). Silent Music. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 68, 343-353. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6245.2010.01429.x