The Two-Fold Aspect of Everything

The great Zen philosopher, Alan Watts, in his book, THE BOOK On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, teaches about the duality of everything in the Universe in the Game of Black & White. In this game, everything has an equal opposite: black/white, up/down, good/bad, in/out, etc. These opposites are necessary, for you only know black is black because of the contrast of black from white. Without white, black is just black, but has no meaning. Thus we need the duality of everything.

So too in music. For each sound, we need unsound, or silence. If all we had was sound, we would not know it, we would not recognize it. It is only through silence that we know sound: When there is silence and then sound, we can say, "Oh, there is sound." Similarly, when there is sound and we have silence, we can recognize silence. As drummers, if all we do is play an endless barrage of notes, how are others to even hear them, know them? When we pause and introduce silence into the mix, the listener can exclaim, "Yes, there is sound! I recognize it as being different from silence."

To carry this idea further, we need soft to know loud, bright to know dull, simple to know complex, slow to know fast. When playing your music, don't forget to balance things with their opposite. If you
play a dense field of notes, balance that with more sparse notes, or even silence. 


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