Silence  

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Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man (1884), a composition by Alphonse Allais. It consists of nine blank measures and predates comparable works by John Cage ("4′33″") by a considerable margin.
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Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man (1884), a composition by Alphonse Allais. It consists of nine blank measures and predates comparable works by John Cage ("4′33″") by a considerable margin.
Illustration: Laocoön and His Sons ("Clamores horrendos" detail), photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen
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Illustration: Laocoön and His Sons ("Clamores horrendos" detail), photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Silence is a relative or total lack of sound. An environment with sound below 20 decibels is considered quiet or silent. Languages such as German have the verb schweigen[1] for being silent, or shutting up.

Contents

Gestures of silence

shh, gestures of silence

Placing the index finger in front of closed lips[2] is the most widely recognized gesture of silence. The gesture can be used to demand silence without raising one's own voice.

Visual representation of silence

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Silence

There is a hidden tradition in the painting of silence: Vermeer, Caspar David Friedrich, Chardin, Bonnard, Chirico and Morandi. That the genre is still popular is proved by the work of Erzsébet Vojnich.

The 'Copenhagen Interior School' ("Interiørmaler") is the name given to the work of a loose grouping of Danish artists famous for painting images of "Sunshine and Silent Rooms."

Two works have the word "silence" in their titles: Le Silence [3] by Odilon Redon (1840–1916) and The Silence [4] by Henry Fuseli. There is also Silentium[5] by Manet.

In music

"It's Oh So Quiet" by Bjork, list of silent musical compositions

Music inherently depends on silence in some form or another to distinguish other periods of sound and allow dynamics, melodies and rhythms to have greater impact. For example, most music scores feature rests denoting periods of silence.

Some composers take the use of silence in music to an extreme. The first composition of this kind is Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man (1884), by Alphonse Allais. It consists of nine blank measures and predates comparable works by John Cage ("4′33″") by a considerable margin.

Socially

In Western cultures, it is sometimes difficult to interpret the meaning of a person who is silent (not speaking). It can mean anger, hostility, disinterest, or other emotions. Because of this, many in some Western cultures feel uneasy when one party is silent, and usually try their best to fill up the silence with small talk.

Dicta

Namesakes

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Silence" 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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