“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
I love this quote. Mozart is said to have been a genius. As the story goes, he began composing music at age five and wrote his first opera at the age of fourteen. His entire life was about music. His father was a musician and a music teacher. Mozart was immersed in music before he was born and likely never had a day off from either composing, playing, or thinking about music.
I don't know when Mozart was credited with that quote but one can assume he was likely an adult. As a curious person, I am always amazed at how some people can have their whole life consumed by one thing. He died at a relatively young age - thirty-five. The cause of his death is uncertain but medical experts have agreed that his busts of creativity and then periods of depression suggest he suffered from bipolar disease.
When I read the quote over again I think that he might have found solace in the silence between the notes. Perhaps a brief moment where his mind could be calm and appreciate the pause in action before the next note. As a meditation teacher I am constantly reminding myself and my students to take time in as many moments as possible and pay attention to the present moment. I wonder with a mind and a mental state like Mozart, if these moments of silence between notes were moments of mindfulness. The gift of silence is it is a period, however fleeting, where one of the five senses is not bombarded and allows our conscious mind to take notice of the absence.
Our subconscious mind which processes unfathomable bits of information twenty-four hours a day, takes care of running the machinery of our body so that our conscious mind can be freed-up for more interesting tasks like thinking and communicating and empathizing. Perhaps the brief moments of silence is where the creative genius of Mozart came from. The silence was the well he could dip into for not only moments of reprieve from his active mind, but also moments of inspiration.
While we will never likely be a genius like Mozart, we can learn something from people like him. Perhaps the most important lesson from the genius is how to better utilize our minds. Our minds, like a powerful computer, heat up and need time to cool down and recharge. By most accounts, strokes of inspiration or great ideas come from well of silence. As the summer winds down and many people return to a busier time with more routine, hopefully we can remember to take time and listen for the beautiful music that is made in silence.