Music and silence

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I have a confession to make:
When I read a quote like this, I immediately think, “Oh yeah, I know what that means.” Meanwhile, our friend Mozart is in his grave, screaming, “No, you don’t! I’m trying to tell you something important. Listen to me!”

But sometimes I do catch a taste of what he’s trying to convey with this statement, which is actually shocking when I think about it. I might be at a concert and hear the music a little differently than usual. Then I realize that Mr. Mozart was speaking about an experience he had. He didn’t just say this because it sounded good and he wanted me to nod my head and be on my way.

Maybe he listened for this silence every time he sat down to compose. Maybe he didn’t begin to write until he first heard the silence. Or maybe he was thinking about an experience he had while improvising at the piano, which he apparently did on a daily basis. Who knows? But what I do know is that he was speaking from experience. He wasn’t philosophizing or speaking hypothetically. He was speaking practically.

Is it possible to have a real, practical experience of notes coming from this silence? I wonder…

If you want to explore this idea further, check this out: “Inner Ear, Inner Ear, tell me what you really hear”

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