Musical Piece composed of silence

The musical piece known as 4’33” (pronounced 4 minutes, 33 second) is a three-movement piece composed by John Cage in 1952.  It piece consists of 4 minutes and 33 second of silence. The first movement was 30 seconds long (of silence). The second movement was the longest at two minutes and twenty-three seconds (also of total silence). And other third movement took the remaining one minute and forty seconds.

This piece was first performed by on piano by David Tudor on August 29, 1952 at Woodstock, New York. Although the piece was composed for any instrument or combination of any group of instruments.

Tudor closed the lid of the piano to indicate the start of the movement. He opened the lid to mark the end of the movement. And he did that for the three movements. He timed the piece by counting the notes mentally and turned the pages of the sheet music accordingly.

Learn more about the piece on Wikipedia. And hear the radio episode “Quite Please” on To The Best Of Our Knowledge, in which they played a part of the piece at the end of the episode.


We do not have free will

We do not have free will.  Our mental construct of our self makes us think we do.  At least that is what neuroscientist Julian Keenan says when he talked with Ann Strainchamps on the radio episode titled “You and Your Brain” on NPR’s To The Best Of Our Knowledge.

You can listen to this enlightening episode in the above link.

Experiments showed that when you reach for a cup, you hand moves before your brain is aware.  When the brain catches up, it then comes up with the reason as to why it “decided” to move the hand.

Another experiment used electromagnets to bias a subject’s decision one way or the other.  But the subject will come up with a “rational” explanation of why he/she decided that way when in fact the magnet biased the subjects decision.  And the subject will not believe that the decision was influenced by anything else beside self.