There is general agreement that John Cage's attitude toward records and recording was ambiguous and not necessarily coherent. However, if one closely analyzes his work and his evolution of the concept of the art—that is, from his pieces for prepared piano to his use of the I Ching for Music of Changes to 4′33′′ to his prototype of Happenings at Black Mountain College in 1952—one finds a critique of something that other composers take as self-evident. Cage's critique of recording relates to the representation as re-presentation of music. The author aims in this article to discover/uncover Cage's critique of the metaphysics of presence through his work and utterances.

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