Monotone Music           Nothing            Radical Art             


Silence


Alphonse Allais: Marche Funèbre Composée pour les Funérailles d'un Grand Homme Sourd, 1884.

First exhibited in the Salon des Incohérents, 1884. Printed in: Album Primo-Avrilesque. Paris: Ollendorf, 1897. [Reprinted in: Guy Schraenen: Erratum Musical. Bremen: Institut Français, 1994.] [Préface.]



Yves Klein: Symphonie Monoton-Silence, 1949-1962.
Twenty minutes of one tone followed by twenty minutes of silence.

Conceived by Yves Klein in 1949.
Tape version by Pierre Henry played at a show of monochrome IKB paintings at Gallery Iris Clert, May 1957.
Grammophone record "Musique du Vide", 1959.
Instrumental version by Yves Klein, played by chamber orchestra (in conjunction with Anthropométrie performance), March 9, 1960.
Shortened instrumental version by Yves Klein: one chord for 5-7 minutes followed by silence of unspecified duration. Score for orchestra consisting of 20 singers, 10 violins, 10 cello's, 3 double basses, 8 flutes, 8 oboes, and 3 French horns (1961). [Cf. Stich 1994, p. 176.]
"Second Monotone Symphony" by Pierre Henry played at Klein's wedding with Rotraut Uecker, January 21, 1962, Saint Nicolas des Champs.



John Cage: 4'33", 1952.
(For any instrument or ensemble. The title indicates the total length.) The piece consists of 3 parts; each part is silent.

4'33" is concerned with sound, but suggests a generalization of music which deals with a completely abstract notion of temporal structure. It can also be read as a musical rendition of nothing. (Cage also wrote abook called "Silence", which includes a "Lecture on Nothing".)
Other influential aspects of this piece: (1) It turns musical performance into a subgenre of minimalist theatre. (2) It introduces the element of chance. (Cage has insisted that everything you hear during a performance of 4'33" is part of the piece.)

Larry J. Solomon: The Sounds of Silence. John Cage and 4'33". 1998/2002.




La Monte Young: Composition 1960 # 4.

Announce to the audience that the lights will be turned off for the duration of the composition (it may be any length) and tell them when the composition will begin and end.
Turn off all the lights for the announced duration.
When the lights are turned back on, the announcer may tell the audience that their activities have been the composition, although this is not at all necessary.
[6 - 3 - 60]

[In: La Monte Young (ed.): An Anthology. 1963.]
    



Fred Forest: Broadcast Silence, 1972.

60 seconds of silence interrupt the news broadcast of the second French national TV channel at 12 noon, January 22, 1972. Later that year, the piece is repeated in the following contexts: Radio: Europe Ní 1, France-Culture, France-Inter (France), Radio Jovem Pam (Brazil), Radio Suisse Romande (Switzerland). Television: Bandeirantes Channel 13 (Brazil), Z.D.F. (Germany), R.A.I. (Italy), B.R.T. (Belgium).



VOLVO, 1980's.
Dutch rock 'n roll band who never played, performed, or recorded.

Quotes

"Maeterlinck, with his theory that silence is more musical than sound!"

Mario Praz: Romantic Agony, p. 15.

"I, too, am an apostle of silence."

Marcel Broodthaers. [As quoted by Thomas McEvilley: "Another Alphabet.
The Art of Marcel Broodthaers." Artforum, Nov. 1989, p. 106.]