Silence

in Q-Inspired5 months ago (edited)
Shhhhh.

Shhhhhhhhh.

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Some moments later we "hear" absolute silence. We needed that irritating sounds at the beginning of this text to have some silence. You know that... when the librarian wants to draw attention to the fact that silence is the greatest treasure between the bookshelves in the library. Or you are sitting in the audience of a concert hall and the concert is just about to start and people are still chatting... so always, there is someone that will try to shush the mass. Noise and silence seem opposite, but in fact, can silence exist without noise, or vice versa?

It is maybe not a new topic among musicians and composers. Not new at all, sound and silence must be in tune and in harmony to serve the greater purpose. To create music. It's like our life and our daily activities. I know by myself, I talk and talk, and maybe sometimes too much and with different intensity, but I also know how to keep quiet (...uhm...when I sleep). I also know how to listen to others, if a problem, a story, anecdote, music that my students play me... then I really keep quiet and I am focused on that. Respect the space that the other needs to express itself, well I try it at least. In a similar way, silence in music has great importance too. It is the essential part of it.

How this silence thing was brought to our attention recently? Well, in the latest Spread the Vibes post by @edje, Nils Frahm played, as the first track of his newest album Old Friends New Friends, a piece titled 4:33 A Tribute to John Cage. Very well-known piece among pianists. Although Nils created a beautiful album, that you should check out in need of chilling, my first reaction went towards John Cage and his aforementioned piece 4:33. I even had the idea to "prepare" that piece as my response to the challenge, but I decided not to (still have to clarify in my mind what and how my response will be brought). But not to go far away from the silent matter. We can relate to John Cage's creation as the most known piece of that kind and it is pretty surprising to listen to the performance of it, but please take seats if not already, even more surprising fact is that he was not the first to do that! There are some "silent" compositions that existed before his one... And, you guess, they sound similar... music through silence :) However, we are talking here about a different concept. Not anymore just the importance of the silence in music, but also a humoristic approach that some composers took and what sounds represent them. John Cage gave a very interesting thought about noise, sound, and silence... and quoted the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, that there are two things that dont have to mean anything: music and laughter!

So, some of the other examples I found are just in written form, I couldn't find a "recording" of them. For example, a very complex written score, with many details, instructions, but full of signs of musical silence, with the title : Il Silenzio: pezzo caratteristico e descrittivo (stile moderno) by Samuel. It is supposed that Samuel is just a pseudonym for Edgardo Dell Valle de Paz (1861-1920) and the piece was written in 1896 and published in the Year 1. Vol. 1. Nº11. Supplement of the journal La Nuova Musica. The cover photo is an excerpt from the music scores, photo source here.

"Samuel was attempting a different means of writing one of his humorous critiques on musical society, mainly in Florence. All the techniques used are well developed and extremely diversified for a piece having no pitch and with a skill that only Erik Satie could match at that time. He highlights and questions every compositional cliché that was in vogue during the period among traditional Italian composers and the growth of modernist avant-garde arts, using humor as a mechanism of critique".source

As we see, humour played a big role in the creation of this concept... as can we call it music? Ok, I will give it a go and accept it as music and a way of expression as well as the next piece we are facing here. Written in 1897 by a French humorist and writer, Alphonse Allais: Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man. In fact, there are just 24 measures without any sing in them. Empty measures. The composer instructed: "Great sorrows being mute, the performers should occupy themselves with the sole task of counting the bars, instead of indulging in the kind of indecent row that destroys the august character of the best obsequies."

So what are your impressions about this Funeral March? :) If you are not sure, we can go to the next example, where we could also see how silence is performed, by this pianist that appears in the next video. The composition In Futurum, is composed in 1919 as a third movement of a five-set piece Five Picturesques. Composer Erwin Schulhoff. If we watch the video we can see that the scores are written with many details. The part of the left hand is written in the treble clef, and the right-hand part is in the bass clef, so it is why the pianist sometimes has to cross his hands. His left hand should cross over the right hand. Being a pianist myself, I can say that it would be interesting for me to perform this piece In Futurum.

Do we like now more the concept? If you are still not sure about that, well, let us move to the next example. The composer of this piece, Monotone-Silence Symphony, written in 1949 is Yves Klein, Here, we can hear some sounds, indeed! A 20-minute long chord, interpreted by an orchestra and choir followed by 20 minutes of long silence, also performed by the same musicians. To understand better, I am not sharing here the whole piece that lasts for 40 minutes, but a short explication of what this piece is about. Experience! The reverberation of the sound in the silence.

What would be the conclusion of this post? Well, first of all, I am moving from the topic of music and sounds now to my own experience these days as I felt a bit of silence from me in terms of posting. All I wanted to do was not any good, in my opinion, hunted by some inner doubts and insecurities, then I didn't have time, then I was without focus, then... Many then-s produced a silence from me, and the result is just more silence in this post. Ok, music will come too hopefully in the near future, but silence is the main protagonist here. Getting back to the real matter, how do you see now the importance of silence in music? Do you think, we can hear music from it? Can we have that deep pleasure listening to pure sounds, silences, and all the combinations of them out of time and measure and out accepted ways of expression? Hope you feel that it is a positive answer from me. So, what about you?

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@tipu curate 🎶

Thank youuuuuuu @rozku 🙌 💙

It is difficult for me to participate in this discussion and express my opinion.
But even so, I will try to express my opinion:
need to be able to listen to silence.
And this is also facilitated by the mood and atmosphere.

I'm not offended by jokes in my direction :-)

Yes my dear @ludmila.kyriakou , you are right, we need to be able to listen to silence. And not just the silence or sounds that surrounds us, but the silence in us. I know that I need sometimes silence from myself, from my own thoughts :)

❤️‍ 👍

Silence is the complement of sound, just as emptiness is the complement of matter and darkness the complement of light. This is how the material universe works, with dualities that cannot exist one without the other.
I love how you develop the concept of the integrity and importance of silence and how this piece highlights this aspect beyond the paradigms accepted by popular aesthetics.
I think this world needs more silences, our mind needs more silence. Silence is receptivity, it is the space where the essence of sound dwells. Silence is a virtue!
Thank you for sharing this content dear sister! @mipiano , it seems to me that to all this information you have given a meaning beyond music theory, as I said before, I feel that you have put silence as the virtue that it is! Or at least that's how I perceived it. Greetings and hugs! 🤗🙏🎵🎶🙌

El silencio es el complemento del sonido, así como el vacío es el complemento de la materia y la oscuridad el de la luz. Así funciona el universo material, con dualidades que no pueden existir una sin la otra.
Me encanta como desarrollas el concepto de la integridad y la importancia del silencio y como esta pieza resalta este aspecto más allá de los paradigmas aceptados por la estética popular.
Creo que a este mundo le hace falta más silencios, a nuestra mente le hace falta más silencio. El silencio es receptividad, es el espacio donde habita la esencia del sonido. El silencio es una virtud!
Gracias por compartir este contenido querida hermana! @mipiano , me parece que a toda esta información le has dado un significado más allá de la teoría musical, como he dicho antes, siento que has puesto al silencio como la virtud que es! O al menos así lo percibí yo. Saludos y abrazos! 🤗🙏🎵🎶🙌

Yes, I agree, that dualities can not exist one without the other. So it seems the same happens with sound and silence of course!

Well, there is plenty of silence, but we have to search for it. And not always available instantly. Sometimes, I really need the "no sound" space and time for myself. Basically, I am surrounded by music every day, most of the day ;D Lessons, music from hive, background music in the apartment, me playing the piano etc. Also, all other kinds of sounds and noise are present too. Even my mind doesn't stop producing thoughts, reproducing music, words, and all. So a switch-off button is what I need sometimes hahaha.

it seems to me that to all this information you have given a meaning beyond music theory

I hope so that it is achieved :)) Thank you @naradamoon 😇

Something that I found interesting about the John Cage video (at the begining) is the part where he said that he hears talking when he listens to music. That's interesting to me because human beings are essentially instruments and speech is essentially music. Air passes through our vocal cords creating sound and our mouths and lips create breaks in that sound to form speech. Our tongues and teeth also shape the sound as well. The speed at which the air travels through our vocal cord plays a factor to as it creates... pitch (I think the word is pitch but admittedly I'm not familiar with all the musical terms). So anyway, a human being is very similar to a horn, or organ or bagpipe.

Music and speech are essentially the same thing, it's just that our brains interpret them differently. Our brain gives different meaning specifically to words.

We could maybe take this idea even further if we brought in the concept of "neural pruning" and how language is formed in the early stages of childhood and compared musical notes to phonemes. But that is probably beyond a simple comment in a post lol. 😆

Interesting post. It really got me thinking lol

Well, you are giving nice additional information, your opinion about human voice and speech being understood as music is spot on. It is music, by all the points you explain. The vocal cords, teeth, tongue, mouth, lips, nose... all can be seen as a part of this human musical instrument. Well, also lungs that are responsible for air and diaphragm... and our mind how imagines the sound and words and shapes them.

We could maybe take this idea even further if we brought in the concept of "neural pruning" and how language is formed in the early stages of childhood and compared musical notes to phonemes. But that is probably beyond a simple comment in a post lol.

Hahaha, that would be cool, I like when a post can give food for thought and inspire the readers to give their opinion on the topic. Or, simply, a new post will come from you on the topic ;D

Thank you @leaky20 for your unfailing engagement!! 🙂

John Cage seems like he was a very interesting man.... would love to have had lunch with him. This interview included here was about a year before he passed on.

I hope Erwin did not get paid for that concert {smile} .... as for the last one I truly thought they were going to try and hold that one note for 20 minutes. This is really deep stuff actually, this whole subject you discuss here and I believe you (and other talented musicians) have an advantage to understanding and discussing the concept of silence within music better than us ungifted (musically) peoples.

Yes, he seems that he was a funny guy, not just famous for his music and serious thoughts. Well, lunch with him now... difficult that I could do that appointment for you, sorry ;)

Oh, I hope Erwin was nicely paid haha, it is not easy to do that... Actors in theatre are also paid, right? :) He had to act to play, and I assure you, he did read what was on the music sheet.
Much contemporary experimental music is difficult to perform. There are different ways how the "music" is written, sometimes just symbols or signs, lines or side notes, and you have to create a whole new composition upon those notes. One has to be very creative and open to do that. Although, there are unlimited ways then to perform a certain piece written down in that form.

I truly thought they were going to try and hold that one note for 20 minutes

Here you go :) but it is cut, the video says every second beat, so the whole thing can be listened to in 20 minutes instead of 40! ;)

Well, I dont have that advantage and it is not just "reserved" for musicians. I dont like divisions, we all can take part in experiencing this topic, each one from its own point of view and I am very glad you gave your word here too. Thank you so much for all the engagement you are showing towards my posts. HOpe, not so boring was this one... ( ok, I little bit? ) 😅

Not boring at all ... in fact quite thought provoking.... I am listening to 'one note' as I type this and I can tell you it israther intense... feels like a pressure is building up in my chest and head and I want to just click STOP .. ooooooof, I made 3 minutes and cracked.

As regards the engagement, you easy to engage with {smile}

Have a super weekend

I listened to the whole thing...when I was writing my comment to you, where the video was shared, I pressed the play button....well the one note and the silence finished, the video went to another one and I still didn't finish the response 😂

Hahah, 3 minutes!! Well, I have to admit that it is not a pleasant sound to listen to, not to enjoy like the sharings for the Saturday dinner :)

Have a great weekend you too !!

Silence is something magical. Music and Silence can do similar things to us.

Absolute silence we hardly can experience, other than going into some echo damped room. But the fact that when we think we are in a silence, but not an absolute silence, we can hear all sort of sounds. When listening carefully we may even hear music in it. Like many times I experienced silence when driving my car in wet weather conditions. My co-passengers and I in silent mode while I was hearing music in the turning wheels. And what about the (small) silence sometimes left by the DJ on some dance party: Peeps get really exited in anticipation of what is coming next.

The power of silence!

Yes, no absolute silence, as you say. Our body also makes sounds, so we would hear them too and find harmony in the combination of them. Oh, rain. I like the sound of it, it is calming. (ok, depends, if it is a strong rain, storm, thunder... then added adrenaline because of a bit of fear).

Hm, and also agree with silence as anticipation of the sound. This is how Mozart also used this surprise factor in some of his works, as well the other master of symphonies, Beethoven (and many others). Leave the people in an uncertain moment and surprise with a fresh chord, or even just one note!

Now I am wondering how deaf people experience silence - sounds? Must be also that depends on the level of deafness, and how one can "visually hear"

Spot on!

Regarding your question: good ones to which I have no answer. I suppose the only way to find out is to try yourself.... not sure how one can become deaf though without permanent staying in such state.... we shall get this chips brain implants, maybe then we have a tool to control the state of our hearing, switch it on/off as we please.

Hmmm, interesting idea. Well, not an average idea, for sure. Although I see the way that those implants can really work, to improve the hearing, or make up for the lack of sensation of hearing, it is pretty difficult to imagine we could turn off our senses with one click. But it would come in handy, sometimes :)

wow.. I couldn't help but visit your blog
what an amazing post here
from indication you're a music teacher, well am not surprised because you just blessed me musically now how?
there could be no silence without noise and silence is really very crucial and integral part of music. this point is just clear, if the place isn't quiet there can only be noise and not music.

wow.. I couldn't help but visit your blog

Hehehe, thank you for this visit and for reading this post ;)
Yes, you are right, silence is an integral part of music, I am glad you agree too!

i really have a lot to learn from you then.
am just a beginner in music and would love to know more about music
please you can help put me through, my lapses, am ever ready to amend

Yes, sure, I am around sometimes posting about music, sometimes playing, and of course, hopefully, will listen to your next entries too in hive open mic. If you say you are a beginner, well, you are a very good learner then! You indeed play so nicely 👌

oh thank you so much my teacher 🙏🙏
appreciate you so much for your time thus far🙏🙏

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