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Space is the place

Louder is softer

Yup, Sun Ra sure was right. Although I’ve never listened to much of his music I have to agree with him; in almost every aspect of music (and probably ALL the arts, probably all of life) you need space to work with. As I was playing guitar in a church band today I couldn’t help but laugh inside at all the poor musical decisions that were being made especially in terms of dynamics. The bass was excessively and consistently loud and the drummer was always playing at full energy. There was no room to build!

When I was first learning about mixing and mastering I’ve heard the phrase “louder is softer” and couldn’t quite figure it out until very recently. Basically, if you’re always loud then you’ve boxed yourself in dynamically and have no room to move. You’d be surprised at how low you can play and still be heard. In fact, if you want to be loud it’s a good idea to play soft at first to create contrast.
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