The Space Between the Notes

Music, it’s not about the notes, it’s about the space between the notes.

Extraordinarily talented producer and friend of mine, Roy Salmond, relays this quote often.

I agree with what I think it means. Any piece of music can benefit from rest. In fact, a rest can make the song what it is, what it’s meant to be. To me, this applies to all genres, a symphony, a jazz piece, pop, rock, you name it. A particular instrument rests for a time, and re-enters the composition. The whole ensemble ceases, if even for a moment, creating anticipation. Instruments re-enter, one by one, or all together in an epic rise of volume and unity.

I wonder, if my day is analogous to a song, from beginning to end, how much rest do I need in that day for the ‘song of my day’ to be what it needs to be? A few minutes rest each day? Half an hour? More? A brief bit of time removed from the action and activity around me, so I can re-enter with a decent contribution to the song of my day.

I wonder if my week is like a song, how much rest does it require. Maybe a day, as the Sabbath was designed and recommended by the Creator? What if I liken my past year to this idea of treating it like a song, that requires periods of rest. Did I rest enough? Or was my year just one long noisy thing, with no dynamics, no flow, no musicality…

If I look at my life in seasons, and I observe the preceding 10 years as a season, and apply this abstract but interesting (to me) concept of space and rest to it, then how much rest and space do I need for my decade season long song? The last thing I need is a whole bunch of accomplishments lined up one after the other, never taking time to celebrate or appreciate or cherish…Never-mind the fact that a song without some rest is not only far less interesting and creative, it can also quickly become pretty annoying and self indulgent.

So, here’s to creating music with the appropriate rests. And here’s to living life just like that. I recommend some rest. Space between the notes.