There is a lot of depth in the silence between the notes. Don’t overplay. You don’t need to emphasize every note of every song, just some notes play themselves. A strong rhythm hides a multitude of sins.

If the melody is strong the listener’s brain will fill in what’s missing. In a sense, the listener is now composing the melody and has become drawn in as an active participant in this collaboration, not a detached viewer with nothing invested witnessing a display of technical mastery.

Two examples:

Tap out ‘the Mexican hat dance’ on a tabletop or on your lap a few times and hum the melody to yourself:

Da Dum Da Dum Da Dum, Da da da da dum, da da
Da Dum Da Dum Da Dum, Da da da da dum, do da

Now tap it out again, omitting the melody, but keeping the timing:

Da Dum Da Dum Da Dum, , da da
Da Dum Da Dum Da Dum, , do da

Notice that even though the melody is removed, you can still hear it. As a listener you’ve unknowingly composed a section of the song, personalized it if you will. In a different setting you would remember the song the way you heard it in your head, remembering the notes that weren’t there instead of remembering the missing notes.

The “wholeness” of music exists only in silence and that as soon as one note is struck, other notes are necessarily held in abeyance.


“The sound of silence is intense.”

Lenny Breau