Il silenzio diventa tempo - appunti sulla poetica di John Cage

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Silence becomes time - notes on John Cage's poetics

Paolo Bolpagni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


[Autom. eng. transl.] The essay tries to capture the non-obvious aspects of the various experiments conducted by John Cage around the notion of silence. Very famous is the case of the always quoted "4'33": a piece from 1952, conceived for any organic ad libitum, in which the performers are required to prepare everything needed to make music, but then to be silent exactly for the duration indicated in the title. At the beginning of a performance of "4'33 '", the spectator-type is struck and surprised by the lack of the musical element and, before his perception is attracted by the acoustic richness that will characterize the environment anyway (rustling , crunches, coughing, etc.), its receptivity will open up to a double series of sensations: feeling the musical-musical mode frustrated, the attention will focus on the visual component, as if a compensation mechanism of the expectation were activated . And the time course, not being structured and "ordered" by the rhythm of the organized sound, will fully reveal all its relativity, ie a new reference system will be generated, with its own coordinates, different from those usual in the context of a room from concert. This is why we can say that with "4'33" silence becomes time, as well as determining a different perception of space than the norm, due to the gap between waiting and fulfillment.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Silence becomes time - notes on John Cage's poetics
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)9-11
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cage
  • silenzio
  • tempo


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