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What happened to the Sound of Silence?

Updated on October 26, 2013

Peaceful View from the Porch

View from the Front Porch
View from the Front Porch | Source

Growing up in a World of Silence

When I was a little girl we never had a radio, stereo or TV. We did have a record player that my mom would play a couple of times a year. She had a few records, The Blue Danube Waltz and a Tango on an old 78 is all I can remember. She taught my sister and I to dance using that record. But the rest of the time there was no music.

There was no yammering on of a radio or TV either. There was the sound of our voices and sounds of nature. Natural sounds would fade somewhat in winter when we shut the doors and windows and return in the spring when we opened them. We might hear the cows and an occasional car. A car would pass our house one or two times a day.

If we paused what we heard was often the sound of silence. Do you remember that sound? Do you still listen for it?

The Sound of Silence

Music between the Sounds of Silence

We sang in the choir on Sundays and practiced one day a week. I still love to sing the hymns I remember from my childhood. It was our voices that broke the sound of silence. The old pump organ kept us in tune and lead the way. We sang for a few moments and then the sound of silence returned.

My mother began to teach my sister and I how to play the piano. We loved the way she played Chop Sticks, Heart and soul, Jingle Bells and the Spinning Wheel. We loved the way the music broke up those periods of silence. We moved our fingers across the piano and with much practice were able to play duets with Mom. We learned that the pauses in the music allowed the sound of silence to return. The sound of silence punctuated the music.

But most of the time there was silence. No radios, no TV's, no iPods or Walkman. We didn't even have a telephone so there were no sounds of ringing phones to answer, just the sound of silence.

Kitty on the Porch

Kitty on the Back Porch
Kitty on the Back Porch | Source

Music covers the Sounds of Silence

What has happened to that silence? I miss it and crave it.

Sometimes I walk into a house and there are TV's on that no one is watching, radios constantly on and wonder how people can stand all the noise. Muzak in stores does not sedate me into endless shopping, it actually helps me to buy just the one thing I came in for and leave as quickly as possible in order to escape the noise.

Escape back to the sound of silence.

Have you ever noticed how pleasant it is to shop in a store without music? You can think about what you are purchasing. You can consider which items you truly want without distracting noise. There is no need for music to cover up the sounds of silence. Let the music hold its place as a pause in the sound of silence that is deliberately played for purpose and pleasure and then return to the peaceful calm of the sounds of silence.

View from the Dormer Room in the Fall

View from the Dormer Window in the Early Autumn
View from the Dormer Window in the Early Autumn | Source

Noise Pollution

As an adult I have often lived in cities where noise is constant. There are always cars going by, people listening to boomboxes and there seems no escape from all the noise. Do others miss the silence? Do you miss the sound of silence?

What a relief it was to move back to Vermont where there are times that all you hear is the breeze through the grass, leaves falling in Autumn, snow sifting down in the winter or frogs chirping on a warm spring evening.

Sometimes, just before a storm, you don't even hear that. It seems absolutely silent. What a pleasure to listen to the sound of silence!

Noise Level Poll

Do you miss the sound of silence?

See results

Music Breaks the Silence

Simon and Garfunkel broke up in 1970. I believe that the Beetles broke up about that time as well. In 1970 I was nearly ready to start high school.

It is hard for anyone to imagine now but it wasn't until about 1970 that we began to have access to music in the form of radio or TV on a regular basis. That was when my sister and I got our own record player. We began to listen to the Monkees, the Beetles and the Partridge Family. The gas station gave away records to entice people to buy their gas so we got a record of Disney movie songs. You see, I can list all the music we had access to because it was so limited at that time.

My highschool music teacher introduced me to Simon and Garfunkel.How fair was it that they broke up just as I was beginning to be able to listen to them? And what about the Beetles? They broke up at that time too!

One day when my daughter was watching Sesame Street Paul Simon came on with an a Capella group from Africa. He had a new slant to his music and I discovered that I liked Paul Simon almost as much as Simon and Garfunkel together.


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