Elevator Music 49:
John Cage—Water Walk

Water Walk—composed in 1959 by American avant-garde musician John Cage (1912–1992)—is a three-minute piece performed on a variety of instruments and water-related household items-turned-instruments, including: pressure cooker, mechanical fish, watering can, ice cubes in a blender, rubber duckie, bathtub, and more. The piece was performed twice by Cage, once in 1959 on Italian TV, and again in 1960 on the US TV game show I’ve Got a Secret. Framing the performance for the audience, Cage said, “I consider music the production of sound, and since in the piece which you will hear, I produce sound, I will call it music.”

The score for Water Walk includes a list of properties (instruments), a floor plan with the placement of each item, a detailed timeline with pictures and descriptions, and a list of notes. With a mixture of humor and extreme care, Cage probes the relationships among music, sound, and noise, as well as what constitutes a musician, and why.

Elevator Music 49: John Cage—Water Walk presents an audio recording of Cage’s Water Walk by percussionist and scholar Katelyn Rose King, from 2016, as well as a copy of the score.

Exhibition Name
Elevator Music 49:
John Cage—Water Walk
Exhibition Type
Solo Exhibitions
Jun 1 - Sep 8
Elevator Music 49: John Cage—Water Walk is organized by Assistant Director of Curatorial Affairs and Malloy Curator Rachel Seligman.
John Cage
Student Staff
Abigail svetlik
Abigail Svetlik
2023-24 Eleanor Linder Winter Endowed Intern, past: Student Advisory Council, Public Programming Intern, Tang Guide
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