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The (Real) Sound of Silence June 11, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in art, creative, music, science.
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Science shows what we all instinctively know: pauses in music speak loudly to the brain.

by Meera Lee Sethi

The (Real) Sound of Silence
Image: Yaroslav B/Anna Gosline

In the second section of Samuel Barber’s exquisitely mournful composition “Adagio for Strings,” the cellos, violas, and violins join together to build to a rising melodic climax, reaching a thrilling, almost keening peak of grief – and then sharply stop. There is a breathtaking silence that lasts several long seconds. Finally, after more than a few thudding heartbeats, the instruments resume their play with a series of soft chords that now seem painfully delicate, carrying the piece to its sighing, fading conclusion.

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