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Re: About Silence

Hi Pablo,

Silence in music changes its nature with its length and context: when it's long enough, it can work as "rest." When it is shorter, it can punctuate rhythm and groove. When it is very short, you sometime don't even notice the presence of the silence, but that short silence helps you to recognize sounds separately and clearly without masking effect. Some unanticipated silence (e.g. oddly long rests in Haydn's works) can function as surprise or acceleration. It can also affect the auditory streaming effect. Silence functions in a very rich way.

Curtis Roads has a discussion about the time scale in his book "Microsound."

I'm not very aware of the longer silences literature but there must be quite a few in music segmentation and rhythm perception (rhythm folks on the list?)

For the shorter silences, you can start from onset asynchrony and micro-timing: Bruno Repp's paper about onset asynchrony, and Matt Wright's PhD thesis about perceptual attack time, which addresses a question of "when the sound starts," in addition to a good literature review on timing perception in chapter 2.

-Repp, B. H. (1996). Patterns of note onset asynchronies in expressive piano performance. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 100(6), 3917-3932.
- Matt Wright's dissertation link: http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~matt/diss/

 - hiroko

On Jul 4, 2009, at 8:11 AM, Pablo Hernan Rodriguez Zivic wrote:

Hello everyone!

My name is Pablo. I apologize in advance of my english =D.

I recently joined this mailing list because I'm doing some research about music. My intention is to use computational/statistical models to create music, and that models be driven by cognitive/musical claims (1).

Since the very beginning of my research I had trouble modeling silence. The silence is not just another pitch which has the ability of not to sound. I think that silence has to be treated apart from pitches, but I don't know how.

So here comes my question: Do you know anything I can read to help me out with this?

Thanks you all!


(1) If you are interested, you can hear an example here of what I've already done: http://lafhis.dc.uba.ar/%7Epzivic/E.nar.mid

In that example, the piano is of Scott Joplin, and the solo is composed by mi program. The silences that you hear, are artificial, is just a simple rule that I introduced, if the solo plays all the time it gets annoying


Hiroko Terasawa