The importance of silence in music, part 2

Silence in the studio In the
sound studio during the mix often a lot of time is spent with
muting certain tracks. We used to call this “shaving the fat cat”.
A mix can get a lot better if certain instruments are silenced out
for a while. Arrangers know this too. Less is often
better.

During the mix it’s also important to stop at least every
hour and let the ears refresh for a while. Silence is a medicine
then. Studio technicians are very keen on what they call the “signal-to-noise ratio”. This basically
means the more silent a studio system is when no sound is playing
the more transparent and clean the mix will be. The gate is an
effect often used in studios to silence a track once it decays
under a certain threshold. Cutting of muddy sound tales creates
more transparency. Fade in/fade out
Think about it, from where does sound arise and where does it
disappear? Silence of course, if there is no silence you will not
be able to hear anything. Try listening to a soft ballad in a noisy
factory. In the East they are a lot of spiritual systems
based on this. In India they call it Shunyata, the basis of the whole
existence. I don’t want to go too deep and too philosophical but I
suggest a simple experiment to play with: put your attention to the
fade out of a song you love and simply experience what happens when
the last dither of the recording leaves your toes…you might get a
glimpse of the power of silence.
(to be continued)

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