External Video Link



ALL - Whitmeyre Great Hall

  • Brief In-class Writing - IUP MS Team
    • Introduce yourself


Demonstration of logging on to Perusall for homework reading.

Homework for Thursday

  1. Review Syllabus
  2. Visit http://www.perusall.com and join our class with this code: SHERWOOD-9GCHH
  3. Read this brief biographical tribute to Cage from the Guardian Newpaper
  4. Read, John Cage “Experimental Music” via Perusall and comment on it.


Team A in Davis; Team B via Zoom

1. Syllabus questions? Sherwood Unit B - Syllabus

2. Reading Discussion - Perusall

  • Discussion of Experimental Music
    • What claims does Cage make about good music?
    • Serving as composer and critic at once, does his work try to shift the terms?

In this 5 page essay by John Cage, he lays out a case for breaking away from some expectations of how music ought to be made. Set aside the questions of why he would want to do so for the time being and consider: How would we know if music made according to his framework were Good? or Bad? Could we also change the rules for how music is evaluated, to make this experimental music fit (if we wanted to do so)? Or is there something about this experimentalism that would make that impossible? (See the final question in the fake dialogue).

Reading via Perusall

3. Intro to 4'33 and Dodd video lecture for Friday


Asynchronous Today

Cage's most famous (and infamous) piece is 4'33“ (four minutes and thirty-three seconds). For our purposes, it should help us to think about “The Good, the Bad, Limits and Contexts.”

In lieu of a regular class today, I would like you to:

  1. Listen to John Cage, 4'33“ performed by William Marx - External Link (If possible, please use headphones / earbuds! I'm not joking)
  2. Then listen to the Audience reaction
  3. and, finally, watch Julian Dodd's lecture on Cage Ted Talk (15 min).
  4. Initiate or participate in a discussion via Teams (Reply to an existing thread if you're commenting on an ongoing conversation;

On Monday we will think together about our experience of the piece, the recorded audience's reactions, and how Dodd makes his argument that Cage's piece is NOT music. (If we're really clever, we'll also link it back to Barbara Hernstein Smith's essay on value!).

Bonus, for the musicians in the house, check out: John Cage, Solo for Sliding Trombone, Sonata V for Prepared Piano or Third Construction (Percussion Quartert)


Please read Cages' “Lecture on Nothing” via Perusall. (It's part of the same PDF, but I created a separate reading prompt).

Monday: Team B in Davis; Team A via Zoom