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Author Topic: Aural or visceral?  (Read 635 times)

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Offline Vesteralen

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Aural or visceral?
« on: August 18, 2011, 09:14:47 AM »
I may be asking for trouble (I do that alot), but this is the question I've been mulling over the last couple of days.

First of all, the setting:

I realized recently that most of the music I say I enjoy listening to appeals to me entirely on an aural level.  I enjoy the sound of what I'm listening to, though I'm seldom moved by it.

HIP is a good example.  I really like the sound of period instruments.  But, I realized recently that I've never actually been inspired or moved by anything I've heard on them.

Visceral reactions to music were, I admit, a lot more common with me when I was younger.  But, even now, certain pieces can stir up my emotions and give me highs or lows, or sometimes both within the same work.  But, those experiences are getting rarer as I get older.

Don't get me wrong - I still love music even when the appeal is only aural.  But, once in a while I feel like something is missing.

Anybody know what I'm talking about?

Smart-aleck answers thoroughly anticipated.  ;)

Offline Grazioso

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 10:32:47 AM »
I suppose it's natural as one ages and gains some equanimity, that the emotional thrills should lessen. Ditto when one becomes inundated with music and potentially jaded by it through constant exposure.

There's certainly nothing wrong, or no loss entailed, if you enjoy the sound of music (no Julie Andrews jokes, please!). Music is a very physical art form, after all, with sound waves hitting your body and vibrating your bones. (Even more physical as you play music, controlling the sounds with your own breath or limbs.)

Nonetheless, I think you neglected one other type of pleasure derived from music: the intellectual, which particularly applies to classic music, so well suited to study and analysis.



There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

karlhenning

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 10:40:56 AM »
There is always room for fresh musical thrills: Listen to some new music, in the space while it's being performed. (Call it one suggestion.)

DavidW

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 10:43:45 AM »
Take a break from music for awhile.  When you come back it will sound vital and fresh once more. :)

Offline Vesteralen

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 10:44:40 AM »
Nonetheless, I think you neglected one other type of pleasure derived from music: the intellectual, which particularly applies to classic music, so well suited to study and analysis.

I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't done as much of that as I probably should have.  A couple of years ago I listened to Robert Greenburg's Teaching Company CDs on Concertos (I think that was the one, I listened to a bunch of his "courses") and I recall what an ear-opening experience it was to have him demonstrate how Brahms Second Piano Concerto was built up on an almost endless series of permutations on one three-note sequence.  (I can read this stuff, but it really helps to hear samples as I go.)

Offline Vesteralen

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2011, 10:50:57 AM »
There is always room for fresh musical thrills: Listen to some new music, in the space while it's being performed. (Call it one suggestion.)

That is a good suggestion.  I need to attend some smaller-venue concerts now and then.

Offline Grazioso

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2011, 10:53:10 AM »
I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't done as much of that as I probably should have.  A couple of years ago I listened to Robert Greenburg's Teaching Company CDs on Concertos (I think that was the one, I listened to a bunch of his "courses") and I recall what an ear-opening experience it was to have him demonstrate how Brahms Second Piano Concerto was built up on an almost endless series of permutations on one three-note sequence.  (I can read this stuff, but it really helps to hear samples as I go.)

Music is as much food for thought as a feast for the ears.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline Vesteralen

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2011, 11:03:27 AM »
Take a break from music for awhile.  When you come back it will sound vital and fresh once more. :)

Probably a good idea.

However, I need to clarify something.  My OP was not really intended as an "Oh, for the good old days!" kind of thing.  I'm really addicted to music on a strictly aural level.

Let me illustrate.  I recently listened to some of Brahm's vocal quartets and duets for the very first time.  I loved the sound of them.  But, the weird thing is, as much as I love the sound, I really have no desire to know what they're singing about.   I don't really care to know what the meaning of the words or even the emotion of the pieces are.  It's a totally different experience for me than listening to Ein Deutsches Requiem, for example.  That music just calls out to me to know what it's all about.

You could conclude that it's just heavy music versus light music, but that's not quite it either, because it was the whole HIP controversy that got me thinking about this in the first place.  I really like the sound of HIP in Mozart, and even Beethoven symphonies, for example.  But, the same works that have thrilled me in different ways from that sampling in modern orchestra performances have never thrilled me the same way in HIPs.  I like the sound and enjoy listening to it, but somehow it turns from an emotional into a completely aural experience for me when I listen to an HIP.

Sorry, I'm kind of experimenting with how to express this all, since the revelation of it just occurred to me recently.

karlhenning

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2011, 11:04:19 AM »
Music is as much food for thought as a feast for the ears.

And, dammit, the brain is part of your body. Why act like your body is in Times Square and your brain is in Schenectady?

Offline Grazioso

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2011, 11:09:25 AM »
And, dammit, the brain is part of your body. Why act like your body is in Times Square and your brain is in Schenectady?

Blame Descartes--or the King of the Moon  :D

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/R5zVbzWgByk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/R5zVbzWgByk</a>
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

karlhenning

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2011, 11:19:06 AM »
"I just invented Spring."

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Aural or visceral?
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2011, 11:38:48 AM »
That is a good suggestion.  I need to attend some smaller-venue concerts now and then.

Indeed...a chamber ensemble in a suitably small space is ear-opening.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

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