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"sometimes silence makes a sound"

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 28, 2006

In Reply to: "sometimes silence makes a sound" posted by JT on June 27, 2006

: : what does "sometimes silence makes a sound" mean?

: This seems related to the well-known phrases "your silence is deafening" and "thunderous silence." It also seems related to the saying by musicians that "the music is in the silence between notes."

I don't wish to get too distracted by JT's examples, but I would suggest that "the silence was deafening" is the usual form for this, and the saying "by musicians" is more likely the saying by one musician only. You can't say something like this in the presence of other musicians without being prepared to blush.

The original phrase, "sometimes silence makes a sound," is also a phrase composed by a single individual, perhaps invented independently by others, but not a saying. It's meant to be a striking phrase by being an apparent non-sequitur, a puzzling paradox. Who the author was and what he meant I do not know. The phrase "His silence speaks volumes" is well known, and not at all obscure. "The sound of silence," a fairly well-known coinage, is also paradoxical. It may have meaning to the author(s). Perhaps.