Filling Up Time with Music

David Olimpio
3 min readMar 24, 2024

I’ve heard it said (I don’t remember where, or by whom, and if you know leave a comment) that visual art is a way to fill up space and music is a way to fill up time. Words on a page (or screen) fill up space, as well, I guess. And also time. (Maybe words-art is where this analogy breaks down.) I don’t feel like the space words fill is really the point of words though. But I know many book people would disagree with me on that. Also, the time filled by words on a page seems relative and depends on the reader.

Maybe words fill up something else entirely.

A recorded poem or a recorded poem set to music (aka a song) fills up time in a kind of uniform way. Three minutes and thirty seconds, let’s say. And it’s the same three minutes and thirty seconds every time. Forever. And yet how you experience that same three minutes and thirty seconds can be different depending on where you are, who you are, how you feel, what you want, what you don’t want.

I really like that. There’s something comforting and ritualistic about it. I like how you can bring that filled time into different physical spaces with you and repeat the ritual of a listen. How the emotional effect of that combined space-time, listened to under different circumstances, ends up being different when you listen to it in one space-time versus another.

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David Olimpio

Writer. Trader. Occasional dog poet. Hydrant and train aficionado. Publisher of Atticus Review, Fugitive Words. Author of This Is Not a Confession.