The Space Between

positive and negative space in harmony

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Monday, August 15, 2011

“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.” Can you guess which composer spoke these words? Don’t worry, I’ll wait!


4’33” later (har har. sorry)

John Cage completely disassembled the concept of music and built it back up again, exploring beauty, noise, silence, and contemplation within the construct of performed concert music.

Good and evil, light and dark, positive and negative space. As the song goes, you can’t have one without the other. There is no sound without silence, there is no form without void. This week, we’ll calm things down a bit pay attention to the spaces between the notes. This week’s show is all about music that is friends with contemplation. 

When have you found silence to be most arresting? Most captivating? What's the most profound, or even dramatic moment of silence in music?

Hosted by:

Nadia Sirota

Comments [2]

Paul Epstein from Lower Manhattan

To me it's not so much the silence as the background sounds that interrupt the silence that are most arresting & captivating. Not the jack hammers of the construction zone I live in, but more when I get away. Say, on a lake in Vermont--trees rustling in wind, hidden birds chattering, water gently brushing shore or dock. Or the unexpected "thrill" of laying on the grass on a Maine Island with my wife watching soaring birds overhead, and suddenly hearing whistles. Turned out to be wind blowing over our beer bottles sitting near our heads.

In music, besides Cage, I think of Miles Davis at being great at silences between notes. My wife & I have debated whether Miles was the Pinter of jazz, or Harold Pinter (who's plays are full of effective pauses) was the Miles of theatre.

Aug. 16 2011 01:45 PM
Gary Gach from no longer at the computer

Can I guess which composer spoke those words? The same who writes :

"My composing is actually unnecessary.
Music never stops.
It is we who turn away.
Again the world around.
Sounds are only bubbles on its surface.
They burst to disappear."

Aug. 15 2011 12:42 PM

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