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Test yourself: Can you tell the difference between music and noise? - Hanako Sawada

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4,664 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

In 1960, composer John Cage went on television to share his latest work. But rather than using traditional instruments, Cage appeared surrounded by household clutter, including a bathtub, ice cubes, a toy fish, a rubber duck, several radios, and performed “Water Walk.” Most people watching had the same question: is this even music? Hanako Sawada explores the boundaries between music and noise.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

John Cage shared his ideas through listening, percussion, chance, electronics, and other artistic means. View Cage’s collaboration with Cunningham, experience the prepared piano app, or perform your 4’33”. See his scores and artwork, too. Learn more about 20th century music through books like Notations.

Want to learn more about the music that shaped history? Check out these TED-Ed videos:

The secrets of the world’s most famous symphony - Hanako Sawada
The secrets of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” - Joshua Borths
Why should you listen to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons"? - Betsy Schwarm
Music and creativity in Ancient Greece - Tim Hansen

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Hanako Sawada
  • Director Héloïse Dorsan Rachet
  • Narrator Pen-Pen Chen
  • Music Jarrett Farkas
  • Sound Designer and Mixer Weston Fonger
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Senior Producer Anna Bechtol
  • Associate Producer Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Senior Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Special Thanks Edition Peters Group, Naxos of America

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