Silence and the Click Track


pam150I consider myself very fortunate to be surrounded by musicians, because, apart from their musical gifts, they also communicate in a language all of their own, which can be extremely amusing at times.


Sometimes they take their inspiration from the most unlikely of sources. The direction signal in my car has provided the click track for more than one impromptu jam where additional drum beats, guitars and even the odd horn section have surfaced.  Musicians often seem to possess a freedom of expression that allows them to break out in these bursts of musical silliness without restraint.  I love them for this, and quietly wish that I possessed that same level of freedom.  (I often turn 15 shades of scarlet if I’m asked to hum a few bars of a song to remind someone how the melody goes…)

I have a few friends, in particular, who are so extremely articulate when discussing music, that they can make me understand concepts, vibes and other intangibles that I couldn’t even hope to describe using words.  I’d be forced to use a slew of dooo-wops, frrrratt-tat-tats, and weee del eeee wooos to try to get my point across… and I wouldn’t even be able to get into the ball park….unless I tried humming again, and we know how comfortable I am with that!!!


One of the biggest “EUREKA” moments that I had recently was when a friend was talking about “playing the silence”…allowing enough room around the notes to let the music breathe.  How sometimes less was more, and jumping in a fraction of a second early, or holding back and jumping in a fraction of a second late could create a tension and dynamic throughout the song.


Hmmmmmm interesting.


Since then I’ve really been paying attention to the silence in all kinds of music.  Sometimes the silence is disguised, acting as a separation barrier around each instrument. Sometimes it’s more pronounced. Either way it’s amazing what an impact it can have.


In negotiations, one of the tools often used is referred to as “the power pause”, wherein the party looking to seize the majority of control over the situation will deliberately leave an uncomfortably long pause in the discussion, in the hopes that the “weaker” party will be so intimidated by the silence that he concedes in the negotiation.


A few nights ago I was contemplating the power of silence, while sitting outside in my hot tub.  I had the jets on what I like to refer to as “the chaos bubbles”.  On this setting, the water is moving so much that tiny streams of water frequently jump right off the surface of the water.  When the chaos bubbles are in action, it’s loud.  The sound of the water, paired with the jet motors drown out everything else.  It’s part of the relaxation.


After several minutes of chaos bubbles (and a near-drowning from the jumping water droplets) I decided to turn the jets off and just listen to the silence of suburbia.


Ahhhh…..glorious silence.


Then I heard crickets. At first they were very quiet, then a few more joined in until it was a complete orchestra of crickets…then again…silence.


A few seconds later…the crickets started again.


Then a bird.


There was a rhythm to this music, and silence was part of it.


Hmmm interesting.


Then the crickets started again….and it made me wonder…

Could crickets be one of nature’s click tracks?


I think I’ll turn the chaos bubbles off more often.




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