layers of silence

“a brief silence, like an indrawn breath” (Sylvia Plath)

“heavy silence, like a fallen cake” (Raymond Chandler)

“Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?” (Lawrence Durrell, Justine)

SILENCE; n. /ˈsʌɪləns/:
– the absence of sound; stillness
– the condition or quality of being or keeping still and silent
– the state of being forgotten; oblivion
– concealment; secrecy
– to put (doubts, fears, etc.) to rest; quite

In order to work on a new music piece I am trying to get a grip on my own definition of silence. To start with, obviously there’s no such thing as silence. Is there a way to define something that doesn’t even exist in order to make it visible/audible? The perception of silence seems to highly depend on contrast, so this should be the starting point – when talking about defining silence, the question to be asked is: “Silence as opposed to what?” ….

“like a stuffed frog with laryngitis” (P.G. Wodehouse)

“a brittle silence stretched like iced chords through the kitchen” (Anthony E. Stockanes)

“the enfolding silence was like an echo” (William Styron)

“a great painful silence came down, as after the ring of a churchbell” (Loren D. Estleman)

“hushed, like a holy place” (Lynn Sharon Schwartz)

“Men fear silence as they fear solitude, because both give them a glimpse of the terror of life’s nothingness.” (André Maurois)

“Silence… like an explosion.” (John Fowles)


What does silence mean to you? 



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