Abstract

Abstract:

In 1952, John Cage wrote 4′33″ which famously asked the performer not to play a single note: tacet. This provocative work raises a number of questions. In music—and by extension, music education—what does it mean to not do something? What does it mean to make no sound? More fundamentally, what is the nature of non-action, non-sound, and even nothingness in and of itself? Since Cage was influenced by Eastern philosophy, we journey to Asia in search of insights into nothingness and associated notions of absence and negation. In particular, we draw on the writings of Daoist philosophers, principally Laozi, to examine a quartet of philosophical terms, namely, wu (nothing/ness), wuwei (non-action), wusheng (non-sound), and wuaile (neither sorrow nor joy). Using these ideas, we propose a Daoist-inspired philosophy of music education, one that emphasizes the usefulness (yong) of nothingness (wu).

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-3412
Print ISSN
1063-5734
Pages
pp. 88-101
Launched on MUSE
2021-04-02
Open Access
No
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