The Rambler :: blog

Friday, January 07, 2005

Dissensus - how do you hear music? 

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This Dissensus thread looks like it could shape up into an interesting one. I think listening habits - how, where, and when people listen - are fascinating, and I love listening to people's different reactions to the same thing. Listening is what makes music live after all. For what it's worth, my early contribution to the debate is as follows:
As someone who has, I suppose, a 'classically trained' ear, I find that it's something you have to learn to switch on and off. Halfway through my degree I suddenly realised that I was forgetting to listen to music sensually, and was just hearing it as technique. I could hear what the harmony was doing, but it was about as moving as a crossword puzzle. That freaked me out a bit - it's something that can happen when you analyse things too much - so I taught myself to listen emotionally again. It sounds very artificial, but it had to be done, and once you've gone down some roads you can't just pretend that you haven't. So now I usually listen halfway between the two. If I want to listen analytically and pick something apart to explain why something it is having a certain effect on me, I do; if I just want to feel it, I do. (obv different types of music work better one way or the other)

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