What noise disrupts In a Silent Way?
July 15, 2011 1:27 PM   Subscribe

What's that noise in Miles Davis's "Shhh: Peaceful" from "In A Silent Way"?

Roughly here in "Shhh: Peaceful" there's an odd percussive noise. Did someone drop a glass? Is it a guitar string breaking? What's the story, Internet?
posted by chrchr to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh and there it is again.
posted by chrchr at 1:31 PM on July 15, 2011

are you talking about the kind of "chugga chugga" train sound? That's a high hat cymbal. It sounds like the drummer is playing it with brushes or very lightly.
posted by cosmicbandito at 1:37 PM on July 15, 2011

Best answer: Sounds to me like a guitar string plucked behind the bridge / nut. It sounded like a single note on an acoustic piano at first, but listening to the second example at 16:21 made me think guitar. Also, McLaughlin is otherwise silent during both instances.
posted by Lorin at 1:41 PM on July 15, 2011

(I think YouTube changed the way deep links work. It needs a & instead of a #. Used to be, either would work; this appears to no longer be the case.)

That sound is a lot like ice cubes being dropped into a glass. It's might be a xylophone or vibraphone or glockenspiel or something, but I 'm hearing more of a bell thing to it. Almost like a bicycle bell. Weird.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:43 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Actually, yeah, on non-preview, it sounds a lot like guitar strings, above the nut or below the bridge, or maybe a harp of some sort, or plucked piano strings.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:46 PM on July 15, 2011

Likely, it's John McLaughlin doing something bizarre with his guitar. Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock both played electric pianos on In a Silent Way, so I doubt it's a plucked piano string.
posted by brand-gnu at 1:54 PM on July 15, 2011

If you're talking about the weird kind of "Thunk" sound int he first link, it sounds like the marimba or vibes player dropped his mallet and then muffles it with his hand.
I don't hear a similar sound in the second link.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:04 PM on July 15, 2011

The two links point to the same music: Teo Macero assembled the piece by copying & pasting the first section to the end.

It also sounds to me like two successive guitar strings plucked above the nut. Note that the two sounds are about a fourth apart, which makes sense if they're two adjacent guitar strings.
posted by dfan at 2:17 PM on July 15, 2011

John McLaughlin often plays around with open string harmonics in his music; that could be what we are hearing, if it isn't some of the other guitar trickery mentioned above.
posted by TedW at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2011

The percussionist in the house says it's a closed vibraphone. If I weren't on my phone I'd hunt up a link.
posted by toastedbeagle at 8:44 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow metafilter. I was thinking of this during the week. I presumed it is a breaking glass.
posted by the noob at 1:00 AM on July 16, 2011

Another vote for the guitar string plucked above the nut.
posted by smirkette at 12:33 PM on July 16, 2011

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