Lacuna (music)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
white space (visual arts), negative space

In music, a lacuna is an intentional, extended passage in a musical work during which no notes are played. A lacuna acts as "negative music" to induce a state of serenity (or tension) in the listener through its contrast to "normal" music consisting of sounded notes. Though no notes are sounded during a lacuna, it is a purposeful and valid musical passage used for a specific effect in the context of the overall work. Lacunae may last from several minutes to hours, days, or even years, depending on the intent of the composer.

Contrast this to a musical rest, which is of much shorter duration and a normal part of musical performance that serves to create rhythm and movement between notes. In general, rests do not call attention to themselves in the perception of the listener, whereas lacunae actively force the listener to experience silence as part of the overall performance.

Lacunae are seldom heard in popular music, as the attention span of the average listener and the financial constraints of popular media don't accommodate large amounts of silence. However, the long gap between the last listed track on a CD and a hidden bonus track could qualify as a lacuna, particularly in cases where the intervening silence is in some way meaningful, such as causing surprise with a loud fanfare or delight in an echoed theme when the hidden track begins.

Some classical forms of music incorporate lacunae. Additionally, some Japanese music incorporates lacunae, the auditory equivalent of negative space, a visual aesthetic element particularly appreciated in Japanese culture.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lacuna (music)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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