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49 Top Quotes By John Cage, The Great Composer

Famous As: Composer, Writer
Born On: September 5, 1912
Died On: August 12, 1992
Born In: Los Angeles, California, United States
Founder / Co Founder: New York Mycological Society
Died At Age: 79
John Cage was a renowned American musician, philosopher, writer, artist and music theorist. He is considered to be the most distinguished American composers of the 20th century by critics. John improvised the instruments he worked with, resulting in the unique music that he produced. The ‘Prepared Piano’, was one example of his improvisational skills, where he altered the sound of the piano by putting objects in between or on the hammers and strings. John is famous for his composition ‘4′33″’, that portrayed his capacity as a composer. In addition to this, John also composed ‘Sonatas and Interludes’ that revolutionized the modern dance music. John has also made his name in the fine arts industry. He penned down ‘Empty Words’, which was a book based on music. John Cage worked on improvising the ‘wind’ and ‘percussion instruments’, fascinating musicians of all genres. His works, writings, thoughts and quotes have mesmerized people of all ages. John Cage was famous for his music, writings, sayings and his quotes are sure to strike the right notes to inspire you!
If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.

If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.

John Cage
I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.

John Cage
The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.

The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.

John Cage
If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.

If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.

John Cage
I have nothing to say
and I am saying it
and that is poetry
as I need it.

I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry as I need it.

John Cage
Every something is an echo of nothing

Every something is an echo of nothing

John Cage
Get yourself out of whatever cage you find yourself in.

Get yourself out of whatever cage you find yourself in.

John Cage
In the dark, all cats are black.

In the dark, all cats are black.

John Cage
There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.

There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.

John Cage
As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency.

As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency.

John Cage
The emotions - love, mirth, the heroic, wonder, tranquility, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust - are in the audience.

The emotions - love, mirth, the heroic, wonder, tranquility, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust - are in the audience.

John Cage
All great art is a form of complaint

All great art is a form of complaint

John Cage
Everything we do is music.

Everything we do is music." (Classical Composer)(From: 4'33")

John Cage
It is not irritating to be where one is. It is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else.

It is not irritating to be where one is. It is only irritating to think one would like to be somewhere else.

John Cage
The world is teeming; anything can happen.

The world is teeming; anything can happen.

John Cage
Our business in living is to become fluent with the life we are living, and art can help this.

Our business in living is to become fluent with the life we are living, and art can help this.

John Cage
I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing.

I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing.

John Cage
There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.

There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.

John Cage
College: two hundred people reading the same book. An obvious mistake. Two hundred people can read two hundred books.

College: two hundred people reading the same book. An obvious mistake. Two hundred people can read two hundred books.

John Cage
The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accordance with nature, in her manner of operation.

The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accordance with nature, in her manner of operation.

John Cage
Art is sort of an experimental station in which one tries out living

Art is sort of an experimental station in which one tries out living

John Cage
Why do you not do as I do? Letting go of your thoughts as though they were the cold ashes of a long dead fire?

Why do you not do as I do? Letting go of your thoughts as though they were the cold ashes of a long dead fire?

John Cage
A 'mistake' is beside the point, for once anything happens it authentically is.

A 'mistake' is beside the point, for once anything happens it authentically is.

John Cage
Value judgments are destructive to our proper business, which is curiosity and awareness.

Value judgments are destructive to our proper business, which is curiosity and awareness.

John Cage
It is not futile to do what we do. We wake up with energy and we do something. And we make, of course, failures and we make mistakes, but we sometimes get glimpses of what we might do next.

It is not futile to do what we do. We wake up with energy and we do something. And we make, of course, failures and we make mistakes, but we sometimes get glimpses of what we might do next.

John Cage
There is nothing we need to do that isn't dangerous.

There is nothing we need to do that isn't dangerous.

John Cage
Whether I make them or not, there are always sounds to be heard and all of them are excellent.

Whether I make them or not, there are always sounds to be heard and all of them are excellent.

John Cage
Nothing is accomplished by writing a piece of music
nothing is accomplished by hearing a piece of music
nothing is accomplished by playing a piece of music
our ears are now in excellent condition.

Nothing is accomplished by writing a piece of music nothing is accomplished by hearing a piece of music nothing is accomplished by playing a piece of music our ears are now in excellent condition.

John Cage
The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all.

The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all.

John Cage
Combine nursing homes with nursery schools. Bring very old and very young together: they interest one another.

Combine nursing homes with nursery schools. Bring very old and very young together: they interest one another.

John Cage
Sleep's what we need. It produces an emptiness in us into which sooner or later energies flow.

Sleep's what we need. It produces an emptiness in us into which sooner or later energies flow.

John Cage
Freedom from likes and dislikes, the sudden sense of identification, the spirit of comedy.

Freedom from likes and dislikes, the sudden sense of identification, the spirit of comedy.

John Cage
In our forests
part divine
and makes her heart palpitate
wild and tame are one. What a delicious Sound!

In our forests part divine and makes her heart palpitate wild and tame are one. What a delicious Sound!

John Cage
Remove God from the world of ideas. Remove government, politics from society. Keep sex, humor, utilities. Let private property go.

Remove God from the world of ideas. Remove government, politics from society. Keep sex, humor, utilities. Let private property go.

John Cage
He suggests that contraceptive substances be added to basic foods.... Should a couple wish to have a child, they'd go to special stores to procure their food. Every child a wanted child.

He suggests that contraceptive substances be added to basic foods.... Should a couple wish to have a child, they'd go to special stores to procure their food. Every child a wanted child.

John Cage
While he rested, she asked, 'What's the difference between natives and outsiders?' 'Natives,' he replied, 'eat indoors and shit outdoors, outsiders eat outdoors and shit indoors.

While he rested, she asked, 'What's the difference between natives and outsiders?' 'Natives,' he replied, 'eat indoors and shit outdoors, outsiders eat outdoors and shit indoors.

John Cage
I discovered that those who seldom dwell on their emotions know better than anyone else just what an emotion is.

I discovered that those who seldom dwell on their emotions know better than anyone else just what an emotion is.

John Cage
Farting, don't think, just fart.

Farting, don't think, just fart.

John Cage
An error is simply a failure to adjust immediately from a preconception to an actuality.

An error is simply a failure to adjust immediately from a preconception to an actuality.

John Cage
I want my writing to be as clear as water I can see through so that what I experienced is told without my being in any way in the way.

I want my writing to be as clear as water I can see through so that what I experienced is told without my being in any way in the way.

John Cage
Everything we do is Music

Everything we do is Music

John Cage
...the important questions are answered by not liking only but disliking and accepting equally what one likes and dislikes. Otherwise there is no access to the dark night of the soul.

...the important questions are answered by not liking only but disliking and accepting equally what one likes and dislikes. Otherwise there is no access to the dark night of the soul.

John Cage
Syntax, like government, can only be obeyed. It is
therefore of no use except when you
have something particular to command
such as: Go buy me a bunch of carrots.

Syntax, like government, can only be obeyed. It is therefore of no use except when you have something particular to command such as: Go buy me a bunch of carrots.

John Cage
You can feel an emotion, just don't think that it's so important.

You can feel an emotion, just don't think that it's so important.

John Cage
I needed another basis for musical structure. This I found in sound's duration parameter, sound's only parameter which is present even when no sound is intended.

I needed another basis for musical structure. This I found in sound's duration parameter, sound's only parameter which is present even when no sound is intended.

John Cage
Power and profit structures're out of cahoots with current technology. Aware of new inventions, corporations put them aside, waiting for competitive reasons until they're obliged to use new gimmicks.

Power and profit structures're out of cahoots with current technology. Aware of new inventions, corporations put them aside, waiting for competitive reasons until they're obliged to use new gimmicks.

John Cage
Now we have come to the end of the part about structure. However, it occurs to me to say more about structure.

Now we have come to the end of the part about structure. However, it occurs to me to say more about structure.

John Cage
We, the garden of technology. We, undecidable.

We, the garden of technology. We, undecidable.

John Cage
Valda said that if you change your residence every six months you can legally free your children from compulsory education.

Valda said that if you change your residence every six months you can legally free your children from compulsory education.

John Cage