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Can tSilence be Music?

Jack_Dead
Posts: 22
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6/23/2016 3:50:50 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
When hearing a solo performance, there will be pauses between some notes/segments
Most ppl considered those blank moments as a part of music, adding tension/breathers to a musical piece.

Hence silence can be considered as music ?
Chaosism
Posts: 2,673
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6/23/2016 4:09:35 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/23/2016 3:50:50 PM, Jack_Dead wrote:
When hearing a solo performance, there will be pauses between some notes/segments
Most ppl considered those blank moments as a part of music, adding tension/breathers to a musical piece.

Hence silence can be considered as music ?

No more than a blank sheet of paper can be considered a letter.

Utilizing similar reasoning: since blank spaces are a necessary component of a written letter, couldn't we consider a blank space, in of and itself, a letter?

I believe that you may be falling into a form of the Fallacy of Composition.
Jack_Dead
Posts: 22
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6/24/2016 4:13:12 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
umm.. i get your point,
But no letter can be packed just with words, just as no music (solo especially) can be packed just with notes, they often contains space between.

But doesn't that mean silence, not only is a part of music, but also an indispensable part of music ?
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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6/24/2016 9:30:34 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/23/2016 3:50:50 PM, Jack_Dead wrote:
silence can be considered as music ?
(Disclosure: among my interests are music, composition, production and sound-engineering, though I have no professional skills in these.)

If we imagine the simplest case of silence punctuating white noise of constant amplitude, the information can be thought as shared almost equally across the duration of each (though white noise volume and pitch range offers some additional info our brains may not care about.) So in that sense, the rhythm of the white noise is the rhythm of the silence. It'd be straightforward to rig up a software synth to play white noise except when a drum-pad is pressed, so you could actually modulate rhythm through the silence, and change the 'attack', 'sustain' and 'decay' of the silence depending on the drum-pad to give you simple effects. :)

What sense we might make of that I don't know. We're so used to listening for sound rather than silence, I suspect we'd hear the inverse of the played beat. (I may mock it up some time on my sound-desk and check. :D)

But this is a pathological case, Jack. If you modulate frequency (pitch) and amplitude (volume) as we normally do with music, sound will contain vastly more information than silence, which really only has duration. So silence and white noise together can't match amplitude and pitch modulation for bandwidth, but you might get a simple drum-kit out of it. :)
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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6/24/2016 9:52:52 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/24/2016 4:13:12 AM, Jack_Dead wrote:
doesn't that mean silence, not only is a part of music, but also an indispensable part of music ?

If you mean literally zero acoustic signal, no it's not always. For example, some bagpipes emit a constant drone just from air-pressure through an unfingered pipe (called 'the drone') even when the piper isn't playing fingered notes. So when a piper starts up, you often hear a droning sound for a fraction of a second before the melody is played. Linked top right is just the drone sound, while below is a melody played over the drone. The harmonic drone under the melody helps give bagpipes their haunting quality, and they're never truly silent. Even if the bagpiper dropped the pipes, they'd keep droning as the bag deflated. :)

But silence is used to great effect in music, including the deafening silences you can hear in symphonies and soundtracks. Techniques like syncopation (accenting unexpectedly, or leaving silence where you rhythmically expect a note) are also used effectively in jazz, blues and dance music.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,053
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6/24/2016 11:24:18 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
some bagpipes emit a constant drone

Compared to bagpipes, silence is definitely music.

No one is going to menton 4:33 by John Cage?
https://www.youtube.com...
Jack_Dead
Posts: 22
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6/24/2016 1:58:01 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
@RuvDraba
Actually you made a really good point there!
RuvDraba state that there is no such thing as absolute silence
Because no matter how good your earphone is or how great the sound-proof mechanism is, there will always be disturbance/white noises
(Orfield Laboratories' 'anechoic chamber' holds a Guinness World Record for being 99.99% sound proof. )

@keithprosser
Actually, the 4'33" performance by John Cage strengthened RuvDraba arguments!
Since the this song is supposed to remind us, that even when music isn't playing, you can still hear sounds... You can never experience complete silence.

Since true silence can never exists, doesn't that mean silence can never be music?
(but the lack of rhythm can of course be music, to add special effects :P)
Jack_Dead
Posts: 22
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6/25/2016 3:47:29 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/25/2016 2:14:00 AM, Akhenaten wrote:
The space is the music. Its the anticipation of the next note which creates the 'music'.

The problem is that there is never a vacuum, the space in music is always filled with disturbance/white noises, in that case, there is never silence in music.
(the best we can do is 99.99% sound proof)