Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

The Music of Silence


The Music of Silence is a genre of essentially classical music deeply inspired by a form which appears to have no precise name: Post Rock, Ambient, Shoe Gaze. Within this genre are two basic forms; that music which is performed with drums, electronic or real, and that in which they are absent.

Let’s call the music that so influences the Music of Silence Ambient never mind that this music has been around since Steven Hill first started playing of Hearts of Space.

One of the features that seems to charaterize Ambient is a muddy backdrop of grey noise. I often wonder at it purpose but I know of no explanation as to its purpose. My ignorance speaks. There a smaller number of bands and individuals who produce music without this muddy backdrop.

I say this because I am uncertain as to its merit. Then, of course, we have endless albums = I am talking of YouTube as a source – where waves lap at the beginning of many, many albums.

The Music of Silence is characterized by its spareness of notes. Notes are played singly or in clusters, or chords, often dissonant and held for 8 to 20 beats lento. The sound however formed is allowed to decay until inaudible. The sounding of the note or notes is played from ffff, possibly: the source is an electric piano down to pppp and beyond. To silence. There are extended pauses between sounding hence Music of Silence. The effect on the listener and performer alike is of instilling great calm. In fact, the music cannot be played unless the performed is calm, very calm.

The only electronic treatment of the music is the Reverb function on the electric piano. Stringed pianos might produce the long decay required to produce this genre without the electronic assistance that some baby grands have. Are there full grand pianos with electronics. I suppose there are but they are not a practical proposition for a composer living in an ordinary suburban house.

The Music of Silence is recorded, and it is conceived as a recorded form, though live performance may be possible – it is far beyond the composer’s pianistic abilities to do so. In fact his play is inept. But we’ll see how we go. The public has yet to hear this form – by wholly ananouge form with as little electronic treatment as possible. For example, mixers will be left flat in setting. The objective is to present the listener with music in its raw form with as little intervention along the way as possible.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 10 June, 2018

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