nervous system

“Silence is not the absence of sound but the unintended operation of my nervous system and the circulation of my blood.”

John Cage
Ferguson, Russell, ed. Rolywholyover A Circus. New York: Rizzoli, 1993.

sound is acting

When I hear what we call music, it seems to me that someone is talking, and talking about his feelings, or about his ideas of 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 love the activity of sound. What it does is it gets louder and quieter, and it gets higher and lower, and it gets longer and shorter. It does all those things.

I am completely satisfied with that. I don’t need sound to talk to me.

Transcript of interview with John Cage in “Ecoute” (Listen), a film by Miroslav Sebestik.

i am sitting in a room

I am sitting in a room, different from the room you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice, and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves to that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear then are the natural resonant frequencies articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.

I am sitting in a room, Alvin Lucier.

Alvin Lucier, “I Am Sitting In A Room,” Source, Music of the Avant Garde. 1969.