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Triple EntendreFurniture Music, Muzak, Muzak-Plus$
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Hervé Vanel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037993

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037993.001.0001

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Muzak-Plus and the Art of Participation

Muzak-Plus and the Art of Participation

(p.84) Chapter 3 Muzak-Plus and the Art of Participation
Triple Entendre

Hervé Vanel

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the composer John Cage's interest in Muzak and his concept of “Muzak-plus”. Cage's long-lasting interest in muzak was not because he liked Muzak, or that he was sympathetic to its alleged power. On the contrary, Cage often stated his distaste and, to a certain extent, his fear of Muzak. But he perceived his aversion for muzak as something to be somehow overcome. Cage first alluded to the concept of Muzak-plus in a piece he wrote in 1962 for the collective publication Module, Proportion, Symmetry, Rhythm. Muzak-plus is a situation where being creative never seemed so natural and unnoticeable an act (fulfilled simply while going through the room). In itself, the principle of listeners–performers–composers activating the space by simply traversing it recalls Cage's remark that actually “no one means to circulate his blood.” With Muzak-plus, one could barely dream of a more integrated form of art as life.

Keywords:   Muzak, background music, John Cage, musical genre, art, Muzak-plus

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