Essay Postmodernism : The Grand Scheme Of Theoretical Lenses

980 Words Oct 20th, 2016 4 Pages
It would be easy to say that modernism and postmodernism are opposites within the grand scheme of theoretical lenses. They do embody different elements, and they do produce results that are very far in relation from one another. However, opposites isn’t quite the word that best summarizes their relationship, as both do, in fact, strive to defer and branch off from the accepted and standard visions of art. Where modernism exists to stimulate its audience by challenging traditional conventions of artistic works for a discussion of meta and subtext, postmodernism exists in a farcical space in order to force self-awareness onto an analyzing viewer and challenge the human need to find deeper meaning in everything.
John Cage, a postmodernist composer in the mid-1950s, illustrates perfectly the defining characteristics of what it means to be postmodern. One of his most famous pieces, 4’33, is incredibly relevant to the conversation. No pun intended, of course, seeing as the piece itself is three acts of silence while sitting at a piano. Here’s the element where postmodernism comes into effect, though—since the performance is completely silent, can it be considered music? Cage himself said yes. It completely ignores what most musical works present in terms of structure, sure—but one still looks for things to listen to within its performance. It’s still something that requires conscious thought when presented, even if the material presented isn’t something of relative substantial…

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