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Silence question
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Wayne Higgins



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:51 am    Post subject: Silence question Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I had this one hit me the other day and had to throw it out for opinions:

If you heard a recording that had a blip, and then an extended period of silence, what would your feelings be?

(I don't want any "John Cage did that, you know..." type of answers.)

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Olsen



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hard to say, you have to listen to have an idea, reading it says nothing..
is like reading notation, it looks great on paper, then played sounds like s#***'t.
I don't know, even if the thing is accidental could sound very cool, if intentional
a la Autechre (which i don't like it) a glitch and a silence sounds pretentious..
In Cage... Cage is Cage...is Cage it is what it is, i love it.
In Apex Twin hard to find a moment like this
but what's the point...! all this things a re so relative..
Post an mp3 with the example of your glitch and silence, let's see how it sound.


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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ok, so I close my eyes and make a blip ... tension ... waiting for what will follow ... in a relaxed way ... a scratchy sound would be less relaxed ... I think.
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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Silence question Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wayne Higgins wrote:
If you heard a recording that had a blip, and then an extended period of silence, what would your feelings be?

I'd be much more in favour of the silence preceeding the blip Very Happy

Seriously, I wouldn't be impressed. It wouldn't do anything new or interesting for me.

DJ
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Olsen



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:18 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is hilarious, now i realize that i wrote glitch instead blip....,
Well, sometimes glitches leads to silence...
Smile
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robsol
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If the blip was worth the silence, all is good. Smile

What my feeling would be would depend on the situation, but I would most likely find it at least remotely humorous. I wouldn't be that eager to listen to it again though.

There are not many instances where music or art can be separated from its context, we always tend listen it in this context. Prolonged silence makes you more aware of the context itself, even if it's not on a purely conscious level.
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Olsen



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wayne Higgins can't complain, he have a lot of interesting answers here.... Very Happy
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Wayne Higgins



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

OLSEN!!! beer I haven't heard from you for years! I'm "the artist formerly known as Oenyaw" in case you don't remember. Very glad to see you're still around and making music.

Anyway, the whole idea was humorous at first, then it became a novelty, the a pain in the ass, remixing, listening to silence again and again. So what I was getting at was would one feel duped into listening to silence, or would one feel removed, and relax and enjoy the silence. I didn't want to post that at the beginning to influence any answers. The open questions usually come with the best responses. Thanks. It didn't really impress me either, but when the God of Comedy gives you a line, you have to check it out.

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dewdrop_world



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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'd think the author of said silence was taking the piss.

Since Cage is inevitably part of this conversation -- 4' 33" is not a recorded work. It's a piece of theater that invites the audience to reconsider their expectations of what should happen in a concert. Doing silence in a recording loses the theatrical element and is pure wankery.

In my opinion Razz

BTW, I think the first person to put a bonus track on a CD after several minutes of silence was very clever. Anyone who did it after that is just wasting our time -- by now, that gambit is wholly unoriginal. Exclamation

James

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Antimon



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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:

BTW, I think the first person to put a bonus track on a CD after several minutes of silence was very clever. Anyone who did it after that is just wasting our time -- by now, that gambit is wholly unoriginal. Exclamation

James


It also wastes space in mp3 files - silence is not optimized away.

I think Nirvana's Nevermind is often credited with being the first CD with a bonus track after a long silence at the end.

Another amusing related thing is a silent track which is 4 minutes and 33 seconds long sandwiched between Magnetic Fields' "The Wayward Bus" and "Distant Plastic Trees" on the CD "The Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees". It's not included in the CD's track listing (track 11 is omitted), but my iTunes rip calls it "4'33"" and sets the composer to John Cage.

/Stefan

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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My immediate response, before I read your later qualification, was, "It depends on what comes after the silence"
Except for the theatrical effect of 4'33 as Dewdrop pointed out, I'd say that silence in compositions is completely defined by it's bookends. Therefore, the timing would be crucial.
Confronted with a blip followed by silence, I would go through a few different stages of comprehension. Technical fault, apprehension, amusement, annoyance, boredom, etc. so my overall impression would change, depending on the timing of what followed.
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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
My immediate response, before I read your later qualification, was, "It depends on what comes after the silence" . . .

Yep, pretty much like any rest in music, really. The duration and context of the rest is determined by what precedes and what follows.

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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I worked with silence as a compositional tool in the following track:

http://kevinkissinger.com/downloads/music/MultiMediaMusic196.mp3

The track starts with relatively short events separated by relatively long periods of silence. In fact, the entire work is a kind of "study" in density from extremely austere (lots of silence) to extremely dense.

When I remixed this recording from the original multi-track tape, I tightened up the silent parts here and there. I wanted to have the longest periods of silence possible without destroying the continuity of the work.

I think to have an entirely silent track on a cd or mp3 seems kind of gimmicky to me.

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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That's a nice piece Kevin!

And with good use of silence in musical context, although I'd rather think of it as pauses.

It's completely different from the "blip, and then an extended period of silence" as questioned by the OP, of course - in that case the silence would be unbounded and thus pointless IMO. For the silence to "be worth something", or have an actual musical function, it would have to be followed some event that relates to the silent period and whatever precedes it, like Aucoustic Interloper says.

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mosc
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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Antimon wrote:

I think Nirvana's Nevermind is often credited with being the first CD with a bonus track after a long silence at the end.


I think the Beatles beat Nirvana by a few years. That's why they call them the Beatles don't ya know. It think it is on Sgt. Pepper's that there is a long silence at the end and then, "Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl..." Not only did a long silence make it unexpected, but that track ended unexpectedly too.

I have no knowledge, but I'd bet Spike Jones did something like this too.

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Olsen



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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like kkissinger's piece; the silence is definitely well applied; it creates a fair amount of tension. The piece itself is very interesting, good job man.
I would like to listen more of your works.. send us a link to your page.

Anyway, Arto Lindsay in its album Noon Chill, Track 15 starts with 12:40 minutes of silence, the piece is an instrumental improvisation of about 13 minutes long. good album, is out of print but easy to get in amazon.
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Olsen wrote:
send us a link to your page.


Kevin already did that, look at his sig.

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Olsen



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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

oh!, thanks.
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

kkissinger wrote:
I worked with silence as a compositional tool in the following track:

http://kevinkissinger.com/downloads/music/MultiMediaMusic196.mp3

The track starts with relatively short events separated by relatively long periods of silence. In fact, the entire work is a kind of "study" in density from extremely austere (lots of silence) to extremely dense.

When I remixed this recording from the original multi-track tape, I tightened up the silent parts here and there. I wanted to have the longest periods of silence possible without destroying the continuity of the work.

I think to have an entirely silent track on a cd or mp3 seems kind of gimmicky to me.


this thread has given me lots of ideas, i am at work right now and can not listen to your track yet, but it sounds like you are on the same page.
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: Silence question Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wayne Higgins wrote:
I had this one hit me the other day and had to throw it out for opinions:

If you heard a recording that had a blip, and then an extended period of silence, what would your feelings be?

(I don't want any "John Cage did that, you know..." type of answers.)


Depends on the blip, I guess. If it's a really good, compelling blip, I may be more inclined to have the patience to listen for more. Then again, if I don't hear something else pretty soon, I may just conclude my earbuds shorted out, or my soundcard finally failed, or that the music really was recorded that way and, consequently, there isn't anything else to listen to.

Not that I'm not a fan of using silence in music. The use of silence can make what precedes and follows it more interesting. Sometimes I tire of listening to the proverbial "wall of sound," in which there is never any pause at all. But, like anything, I think too much of a good thing can ruin it, too. Too much silence and the listener will lose interest. These days, most people are so accustomed to immediacy in everything in their lives that they can't tolerate even slow paced music. But, these are usually morons who have the attention span of a two-year old. Wink

Gary

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Farfield



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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I totally agree with Uncle Krunkus here.

I do think silence is an important thing many people seem to forget when they're creating music. Sounds can make an enormous impact when they follow after a certain amount of silence.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blip followed by silence? The silence might not seem quite so empty because you can still feel some kind of psychoacoustic effect from the earlier sound. The effect won't last very long though.

On the face of it, total silence in the middle of a piece of music doesn't appeal to me that much. Even when I do a really long piece in several movements there are never any gaps between them. When everyone stops playing, it's game over.

But...

I think there can also be an implied silence when one instrument stops, but its own reverb tail, or other chords, carry on going in the background. After a big drop in volume it can take a second or so before you can really hear whether there's anything still happening and where it might go.

In a couple of my current projects, when there's an important chord change coming up, some of the notes and sound effects actually stop a fair fraction of a second before the new chord comes in. Creating a void, giving you just long enough to notice, but no time to think consciously about what's missing before the void gets filled by the next chord.

Gordon
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Octahedra wrote:

In a couple of my current projects, when there's an important chord change coming up, some of the notes and sound effects actually stop a fair fraction of a second before the new chord comes in. Creating a void, giving you just long enough to notice, but no time to think consciously about what's missing before the void gets filled by the next chord.

That sounds interesting. Can you post an example?

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Octahedra



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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Can you post an example?


The only one where I've got anything recorded yet, is maybe the weaker example of the idea we're talking about, but here goes anyway!

This is a microtonal piece that has a harmonic series melody against (and I mean against Twisted Evil) 12-equal-temperament chords. The chords aren't anywhere near major or minor until the very end. Here's an MP3 of part of it. The chord change is about 25 seconds in.

The high-pitch sounds (violin overtone and rising pitch-bend synth) get louder but then totally disappear just before the chord change. When I first put these in, they stopped at exactly the same time the new chord started. This made it impossible to hear the end of the old chord, so the new one sounded like some random intrusion - a bit nasty really and not what you'd call a progression. Especially a problem when the progressions are already weak, with my freaky chords. That pause I put in means you can hear the change of chord properly, and because the sound effects have disappeared your brain is already waiting for something to fill the void when the new chord turns up.

That's me rationalising it after the event anyway! Smile

In the other piece I'm working on, most or all of the notes will suddenly stop for a fraction of a second - but the reverb tail means it'll never actually go silent.

Gordon


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks, Gordon. That's very interesting. I think I understand what you were doing there and it works for me. It certainly makes the music sound more purposeful. In electronic music there is often nearly complete independence of voices, especially when pads are used. What you did is somewhat like putting in a breath. Idea

I would like to hear this piece when you get it finished.

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