Author Topic: How do you hear music?  (Read 5674 times)

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Offline knight66

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How do you hear music?
« on: February 22, 2008, 01:03:30 PM »
One of the executives within BBC radio has claimed this week that men predominately listen to the technicalities of music, whilst women have a predominantly emotional response.

I don't relate to this generalisation, but wondered if it holds any truth for the people here.

Mike
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Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2008, 01:29:23 PM »
whilst women have a predominantly emotional response.

More like a predominantly sensorial response. Most women i've met wouldn't understand emotion if it hit them in the shins.

Don

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2008, 01:39:15 PM »
More like a predominantly sensorial response. Most women i've met wouldn't understand emotion if it hit them in the shins.

Sounds like you don't think very well of females.

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2008, 01:42:28 PM »
Sounds like you don't think very well of females.

It's in my psychological make up:

http://www.ourcivilisation.com/whatis/chap12.htm

greg

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2008, 01:48:15 PM »
both

Offline Brian

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2008, 01:51:30 PM »
More like a predominantly sensorial response. Most women i've met wouldn't understand emotion if it hit them in the shins.
Watch out, man, or there's going to be a woman hitting you in the shins.

EDIT: Or somewhere else.

Offline Brewski

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2008, 01:51:56 PM »
One of the executives within BBC radio has claimed this week that men predominately listen to the technicalities of music, whilst women have a predominantly emotional response.

I don't relate to this generalisation, but wondered if it holds any truth for the people here.

Mike

Good question, and one that I haven't thought about in awhile.  I think I perceive music both ways, depending on what my initial approach is to the music.  If I've been briefed on the structure (i.e., overall arc, number of movements, repeats, etc.) ahead of time, my listening will probably go that way, at least at first.  If other elements have been highlighted, then I may be paying more attention to timbre, pitch, rhythm, etc.  But generally I try to "listen first, analyze later," if at all possible.  (Sometimes it's not, of course.)

Sometimes at first, it's very hard to separate out the elements that are creating what you are hearing.  In the best works, they are usually working in tandem, in such a sophisticated way that it is difficult to isolate exactly what is producing the "I really like that" effect.  Interesting question, and one I'll have to think about a little more.

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Offline knight66

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2008, 02:01:27 PM »
I am pretty sure that I react emotionally first and probably last. I can get interested in the nuts and bolts. But if my emotions are not engaged, then I am never going to get as far as the technicalities.

I certainly listen differently to things when I have performed them and you get to understand it somewhat from the inside.

Mike
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Offline orbital

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2008, 03:14:34 PM »
Good question, and one that I haven't thought about in awhile.  I think I perceive music both ways, depending on what my initial approach is to the music.  If I've been briefed on the structure (i.e., overall arc, number of movements, repeats, etc.) ahead of time, my listening will probably go that way, at least at first.  If other elements have been highlighted, then I may be paying more attention to timbre, pitch, rhythm, etc.  But generally I try to "listen first, analyze later," if at all possible.  (Sometimes it's not, of course.)


I am perceiving the technical aspects of music as well, but not quite in the same way. I probably do not notice those phrases and their relation to each other, even sometimes repeats. But with piano music in particular, I am developing more and more of a visual sense of the music, meaning how it would be to watch somebody play the music. Or, how and if I would be able to play it, with which hand and fingers. Often times, in subways for example, I find my self air-piano playing :D which probably looks weird  ;D

The emotional part hardly ever gets me in the first listen, and sadly very few pieces that I've listened to hit me in that direction. But when they do they become an integral part of the music for me. The con fuoco part of the G minor ballade gives me the goosebumps even after I've listened to it I-don't-know-how-many-hundredth time  for example  :)

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2008, 03:29:26 PM »
One of the executives within BBC radio has claimed this week that men predominately listen to the technicalities of music, whilst women have a predominantly emotional response.

I don't relate to this generalisation, but wondered if it holds any truth for the people here.

Mike

  I couldn't disagree more with this generalization Mike.  For me music is all about emotion.  I am drawn to "mood" altering music- the more powerfull the emotions a peice of music brings out in me the more I am drawn to it.  Its ironic that I am an Engineer (technically, scientifically and mathematically minded) and yet technicalities of music interest me not!  The human mind is very complex indeed  ;)!

  marvin

  marvin

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2008, 03:57:32 PM »
^ So you are like, the exception that proves the rule?

Ephemerid

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2008, 07:29:00 PM »
When I was younger (and in music school), I was all into the technicalities of a piece of music, the construction, what was going on harmonically, motivically, etc. -- you know, looking at it more from a craftsmanship perspective.  I used to live for that.  Emotionally I would respond to music as well, but at the time, that's what I tended to focus on.

I'm not sure when, but sometime in my early 30s, my attention shifted to the emotional and sensual aspects of a piece.  I can still hear those technical aspects when I choose to, but the mechanics of a piece is not what draws me deeply.  Technique may be important and I can still appreciate it, but when I am *in* the music, I actually find all that falls to the wayside for me. 

In my most receptive moments, I often find music brings me to tears, which I can't always explain-- whether the music seems to express great joy, grief, violence, or whatever, somehow there are a great deal of pieces that elicit that response from me, sometimes unexpectedly.  It seems over the years I become more receptive to that.  There are certain pieces I can't even have just playing in the background at work or in the car because it can get under my skin so easily. 

With the exception of two particular pieces * , I don't necessarily associate the various music I listen to with specific, extra-musical, personal events in my life, but I feel that living through certain things in my life have somehow helped me relate to music in a way that is really more possessive. 

There have always been certain pieces that have moved me but over the years I've noticed that's just become more prevalent in my listening habits.  Maybe I'm just turning into a sentimental fuddy duddy.   ;)

The technicalities of a piece is still something I appreciate, but that's generally something I consider only after the fact (usually after repeated listenings).  Its like the difference between an analysis of a kiss and the act of actually kissing.  There's something sensual and even erotic I find in the best music that stirs up something in me physiologically that still surprises me! 

* Vaughan Williams' "Silent Noon" and Ravel's "The Fairy Garden" from the Mother Goose suite, which have very specific connections with someone I love deeply.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 07:34:45 PM by just josh »

Ephemerid

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2008, 07:34:03 PM »
Oh, but I do want to add this-- sometimes the "intellectual" and "emotional" sides converge-- I'm thinking of Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem-- the shock of realising (again and again and again) how that tortured melody of the opening dirge is transformed in the third part into this heavenly melody!  It's the SAME MELODY!!  The realisation of that in that moment is so powerful (for me, anyway), connecting that theme in a totally new context, far removed from the opening movement.  There are other examples of that as well.  Maybe sometimes its not such a good idea to put "emotion" and "intellect" into neat little boxes like that.   :)

Offline val

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2008, 01:46:37 AM »
To me the emotional response, or the pleasure, is always in the first place. But the understanding of the work, its structures must be there too.

That is why I don't feel confortable with works, such as Schönberg's Pélleas et Melisande that I cannot understand.

On the other hand, if a composition doesn't give me pleasure or doesn't touch me emotionally, then what's the use of understanding it?

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2008, 08:56:34 AM »
^ So you are like, the exception that proves the rule?

  I never looked at it that way, though I would venture and say that I believe there are many more men like me than that generalization presumes. Music to me is a form of art- to be appreciated on levels far beyond its technicalities.  Isn't that what the romantic movement in music was all about? I am talking about the likes of Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler and R. Strauss.

  marvin
« Last Edit: February 23, 2008, 08:58:33 AM by marvinbrown »

Dana

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2008, 06:35:37 PM »
When I was younger (and in music school), I was all into the technicalities of a piece of music, the construction, what was going on harmonically, motivically, etc. -- you know, looking at it more from a craftsmanship perspective.  I used to live for that.  Emotionally I would respond to music as well, but at the time, that's what I tended to focus on.

I'm not sure when, but sometime in my early 30s, my attention shifted to the emotional and sensual aspects of a piece.  I can still hear those technical aspects when I choose to, but the mechanics of a piece is not what draws me deeply.  Technique may be important and I can still appreciate it, but when I am *in* the music, I actually find all that falls to the wayside for me. 

In my most receptive moments, I often find music brings me to tears, which I can't always explain-- whether the music seems to express great joy, grief, violence, or whatever, somehow there are a great deal of pieces that elicit that response from me, sometimes unexpectedly.  It seems over the years I become more receptive to that.  There are certain pieces I can't even have just playing in the background at work or in the car because it can get under my skin so easily. 

With the exception of two particular pieces * , I don't necessarily associate the various music I listen to with specific, extra-musical, personal events in my life, but I feel that living through certain things in my life have somehow helped me relate to music in a way that is really more possessive. 

There have always been certain pieces that have moved me but over the years I've noticed that's just become more prevalent in my listening habits.  Maybe I'm just turning into a sentimental fuddy duddy.   ;)

The technicalities of a piece is still something I appreciate, but that's generally something I consider only after the fact (usually after repeated listenings).  Its like the difference between an analysis of a kiss and the act of actually kissing.  There's something sensual and even erotic I find in the best music that stirs up something in me physiologically that still surprises me! 

* Vaughan Williams' "Silent Noon" and Ravel's "The Fairy Garden" from the Mother Goose suite, which have very specific connections with someone I love deeply.

      This is why I don't put much stock in the above generalization - people change. To say nothing of the lack of actual research apparent behind that quote.
      With that said, I listen for both, but find that the when I do listen with a primarily emotional ear, I feel like I'm not really paying attention, but simply letting the music wash over me. That's not to say that I'm sitting in my seat thinking "ok here's the transition... and now the second theme..." but knowing where those markers are allows me to follow the arc of the music much better.

DavidW

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2008, 06:58:12 AM »
whilst women have a predominantly emotional response.

Namely anger. ;D

DavidW

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2008, 07:07:53 AM »
Anyway when I listen to music it's for the emotions and not the technicalities.  Copland wrote about the different levels to music appreciation and I try but to me it's still a largely emotional response.

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2008, 07:15:30 AM »
  For me music is all about emotion.  I am drawn to "mood" altering music- the more powerfull the emotions a peice of music brings out in me the more I am drawn to it.  Its ironic that I am an Engineer (technically, scientifically and mathematically minded) and yet technicalities of music interest me not!  The human mind is very complex indeed  ;)!

Same here, including the Engineering part. :)

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. - Romans 1:22, KJV

Danny

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2008, 01:06:43 PM »
One of the executives within BBC radio has claimed this week that men predominately listen to the technicalities of music, whilst women have a predominantly emotional response.

I don't relate to this generalisation, but wondered if it holds any truth for the people here.

Mike

I wish I could appreciate the technicalities more; for me, music tends to be a purely emotional experience.

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