Should all [silence] tracks be merged into one recording?

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f756a178658>

Since we consider tracks that have different lengths to be the same recording if the difference is just silence on the start or end of the track it also makes sense to merge [silence] tracks with different lengths.
I’d also argue that a silent track can’t have an artist, so why only merge [silence] tracks for one artist, why not merge them all into one recording with the artist set to [no artist]?

What do you think? Merge [silence] tracks…

  • only if they are by the same artist
  • only if they have the same length
  • only if they are by the same artist and have the same length
  • always
  • never

0 voters


(You are up against Duchamp’s damned toilet bowl too.)
Can we find a usable boundary between ‘just silence’ and ‘art’?


I would say no on this. Different silences are produced in different ways. Yes - associate them all in a common group, but don’t make them the same track.

For people in the outside world using the database confusion will rise if all the silent tracks in their music collections became the “same” track with identical MBIDs. The tracks are not the same in this situation as the length of the different silences become important to the context they are being “played” in.

Yeah, it make sense when a normal release has a gap between it and the next track as the musical parts are the same just with longer gaps around them. Whereas in the case of [silence] the length of the silence is important.

(Can I suggest you use the forum features to put an actual poll up in your initial post? That way people who read the forum but don’t always post can also add their thoughts)


The piece consists of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed

So it’s not [silence].

Good idea. Done.

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The track could be [silence] if the Artist arranges the track for (non) performance by electronic instruments allowing the CD listener to hear what is happening in their real world background.

PS The poll is missing option for not merging [silence].

But that is not silence is it?
I have actually never used [silence], but I assume it’s to be used only for absolute silence - not for ambient noises.

Yeah, unfortunately polls can’t be edited after 5 minutes. :frowning:

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The Recording could be silence. And the listeners be intended to hear what is happening around them where they replay the Recording.
No problem around the poll.

Oh, now I get what you mean.
Yeah in that special case I’d leave it as a separate recording if only so it can be linked to the work without linking all other [silence] tracks to that work.
Then again I’d probably not call the track [silence] either as the brackets are usually used for tracks that have no works.

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That is not a poll. You have not given any balanced choices - just a set “this has to happen”. Please allow for all sides of a discussion which includes options that you do not agree with. :slight_smile:

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As you have never used it, why are you trying to change it? I suggest you leave that one to other people who actually make use of the silence option. :slight_smile: We are all weird and have different reasons to do things.

And if you can’t change the poll, maybe it is better to delete it and try again? In the current state it is very misleading.

I want to, but it’s not possible to edit after 5 minutes (can’t be deleted either). A @moderator has to help out.

PS: Seems the moderators can’t be summoned on this forum so I’m summoning @Freso who was last online instead.

I am. That’s why I didn’t vote in the poll and didn’t plan to either.

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I have an old rule I follow - “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. So I am confused why the topic has appeared :smiley:

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I’d probably agree to merge multiple silent recordings on the same release. But that is as far as I would go. And definitely not merge silence recordings of significantly different length. There is a notable difference between 1 second and 1 hour silence.

The brackets indicate unnamed or unofficially named titles, that is unrelated whether a work is attached or not.

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I came across this edit (which I also linked to in the first post) and after initially thinking “This can’t be right.” it took me about ten seconds to change my mind to: “This must be right - only the guidelines don’t explicitly say so. Maybe I should start a forum topic.”.

That edit says to me they should not be merged. It is a ambient \ meditation album so silence is important. As I added to those notes, I’d love to hear that album and see what kind of silences are in place. Notice how they are all back to back tracks - so there must be reasons behind making a recording like that. Otherwise they would have just done one single track to cover that gap.

I think this is also covered by “Artist Intent” :grin: If the artist thought this was all the same silence then why make different length versions of it?

I agree with @IvanDobsky here. And in addition I want to add that I work even consider the silence tracks with significant different length separate recordings. For everybody arguing against that I would suggest sitting down in you favorite chair and carefully listen to a track of 4 seconds silence and one of 20 minutes silence. I bet it is a different experience (for me it definitely is).

Some more important points:

  • Tracks of silence can have a distinct work attached, like the 4’33" example above. Those recordings definitely should not be merged with other silence
  • Different tracks of silence can have different ISRCs. The discussion whether those cases should be considered a single recording probably need to be held on a case by case basis. E.g. I could understand merging them if they are on the same release and have similar lengths.
  • Different tracks of silence with different lengths will have different AcoustIds. Merging them will result in this mess which is definitely not helpful when using AcoustId to identify recordings

An example where I am clearly in favor of merging:

But edit #55672893 is a case where I think merging does no good. At least not when merging every silent track in.

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I can’t edit them either. I closed the “old” poll and created a new one with a “never” option. These were the results of the old poll at the time of closing:
old poll


There can be some interesting uses for silent tracks such as the below where there are 99 tracks on the cd with most of them to hide 2 track at the end of the cd.


This is one example for which I would clearly be in favor of merging the tracks.


Classic Internet - a debate about nothing.