Silent Music

In this essay, I investigate musical silence. I first discuss how to integrate the concept of silence into a general theory or definition of music. I then consider the possibility of an entirely silent musical piece. I begin with John Cage’s 4′33″, since it is the most notorious candidate for a silent piece of music, even though it is not, in fact, silent. I conclude that it is not music either, but I argue that it is a piece of non-musical sound art, rather than simply a piece of theatre, as Stephen Davies has argued. I end with consideration of several other candidates for entirely silent pieces, concluding that two of these are in fact pieces of music consisting entirely of silence.
Keywords Music  Silence  Definition
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1540-6245.2010.01429.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,178
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Practising Silence in Teaching.Michelle Forrest - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (4):605-622.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

110 ( #44,620 of 2,163,701 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #62,626 of 2,163,701 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums