Masters of the space between notes

Virtuosity and speed are nice, in music and life. But you leave some space between the notes or slow things way down? Make some space in between the music for the music to happen? Now you’re cooking something good. For example:

  • Aretha Franklin, the greatest of all time at making the most of the space between notes. As I’m fond of saying: there is no song Aretha Franklin could not perform slower and better than anyone else. Compare the tempo of Otis Redding’s Respect to Aretha’s version, both recorded in the same year.
  • AC/DC, “Back In Black” or “Highway To Hell”. This is where I’d start rock and roll songwriting 101.
  • D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)”. Most of his work is an exemplar, he’s a master of making songs feel spacious.
  • Joe Cocker, “With A Little Help From My Friends”. Take a jaunty, mid-tier Beatles song and draw it way out. This makes room for the huge, stacked vocals chorus. Suddenly, it’s right in the feels.

Related: the funk is the notes you don’t play.

Adam Keys @therealadam