Timing is something you spend your whole life perfecting, it is so different with each individual case and it takes every skill of analysis to deduce when would be the 'perfect timing', but it is always of utmost importance to review the context of something, because the context often dictates the outcome. I have found that many of the laws of music have direct parallels with laws in life, and today I want to talk about the law of timing.
In music, the height on a staff of a note determines the pitch and the order along the bar determines the timing. Most people, particularly in the early stages of musical learning, focus only on the notes. But timing is of equal importance to pitch, and for more advanced musicians who have mastered the pitch, timing is of higher importance. Why?
Because timing changes everything about the sound â it defines the feel of the note and notes around it, and in the art form of musical expression, the feel is everything. Think of each note like a person, and then look at how long you're giving each person time in your busy schedule that is the song. You only have so much time to meet with each person, and you need to get through each person by the end. An amateur would look at each person as equal and spend the set amount of time with them before going onto the next person, irrelevant of the person before or after.
But a master would take the time to study the overall picture and intention of the composer, realise which people are of more importance and give them more time and feel than others, but fully aware of and sensitive to their context. Each note you play, don't just concentrate on the pitch, think more linear and tell a story with the notes you are playing â this will add a whole new dynamic to the music you are making and will undoubtedly take you musicianship to the next level.
This linear perspective can be applied to life as well. Each note can be related to a deed that you want to do or achieve within the time-span of your life. Achieving goals is important, but making sure the timing is right to achieve each particular goal is paramount to both the success of that goal and the continued success of other goals. So for the next decision you make, consider your best option and ascertain whether it is the perfect timing for it even before you set out to do it, and when you treat them wary of their context, your life will tell a beautiful story and have a clear direction.
The timing of some things also refers to the order in which they are outworked. Often people are just happy to get things done, which is all well and great, but make no mistake, the order of events defines the importance of each event and has a profound effect on the outcome.
In Christendom, we are saved from the inside first, and then out â and the order is crucial! Change must take place on the inside first before it can permeate outwards where it is an effect not an affect. We are saved by Grace for works, not saved by works for Grace. Both being saved and doing sinless works are great things, but the order in which they are achieved completely determines whether they are legitimate or not. The elements are the same, but the order defines the outcome.
Likewise, in most modern pop songs they are written using the same chords and melodic movements. So it's not necessarily in the notes that the songs find their uniqueness, but it's the order and the timing of the notes that characterises them.
This is interesting because most musicians spend and unbalanced amount of time concentrating on the notes, whilst disregarding the timing and feel. But if you are song writing, you will quickly realise that the timing is one of the most important elements in a song, and the rhythm, pulses and structure is often what makes or breaks a successful song.
So look at the order of things and be wary of their context before you set out to complete them, and you will do well in making a beautiful story that flows right throughout and captures attention from start to finish. Am I referring to music or life in general?
Daniel J. Mathew has finished his Bachelor of Music at Sydney's Wesley Institute and currently volunteers in Hillsong Creative, City Campus.
Daniel J. Mathew's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-mathew.html