What is music? Does music have to be mathematical and notated? Does it have to contain "melody" and "harmony"? Can the most abstract noise coming from any given source be considered "music"? Is music really art, in the accepted sense, when most music is made by accident? -David
The cultural historical moment described by Richard Heck aside, it remains that there was something that Cage was turning on its head when he offered - composed would be the wrong word - the event that is 4'33: the experience of listening to music itself. There would be no history of music if all composers had been like Cage. But there would have been no Cage without music, no content to 4'33 if people didn't know what music normally was. That it is possible to exhibit a urinal in a museum or not play anything in a concert hall and be taken entirely seriously as an artist must be considered a cultural phenomenon, worthy of interest, but not a phenomenon internal to the technical forms that developed over the centuries and that gave us symphonies, songs, paintings and sculptures.