Author Topic: How do you hear music?  (Read 6507 times)

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Offline jessop

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #80 on: May 15, 2017, 04:52:57 AM »
I completely agree with this, as I'm always trying to quiet my mind while listening to music.  So if an emotion, memory, image, etc., comes to me, I take it in and then pass it by going back to the music.  It's often quite hard for me concentrate, especially on music rich in complexity.  So I guess how I hear music is that I try to listen to it as best as I could.
I'm sorry to hear that you have difficulties in concentration and this affects your listening. Has this always been the case? Do you find yourself not being focussed with other things as well? I'm very curious about this, as listening to music is as easy as breathing to me.......

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #81 on: May 15, 2017, 05:01:05 AM »
It can require effort to resist internal distractions.  A good meditation.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline Niko240

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #82 on: May 15, 2017, 05:33:13 AM »
I'm sorry to hear that you have difficulties in concentration and this affects your listening. Has this always been the case? Do you find yourself not being focussed with other things as well? I'm very curious about this, as listening to music is as easy as breathing to me.......

It takes disciplined listening for me to hear technically sophisticated, emotionally complex music.  Another area that requires this sort of discipline for me is philosophy, which I enjoy reading.  Is the music of Webern "as easy as breathing" to you?  I think that you might be a better listener than I am.  Usually I'm trying to keep myself out of the experience, perhaps along the lines of a dissolution of the ego.   

It can require effort to resist internal distractions.  A good meditation.

That's true.  I don't meditate or practice mindfulness so listening to some of the composers discussed on this forum is closest to achieving a clear state of mind without internal distractions. I've asked several people who know a lot about meditation if it would help me understand a piece of music with less listens, but haven't gotten convincing answers.  It probably helps resist internal distractions, but being a good listener, or listening to music deeply, is another ball game.   
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #83 on: May 15, 2017, 05:37:22 AM »
I've asked several people who know a lot about meditation if it would help me understand a piece of music with less listens, but haven't gotten convincing answers.  It probably helps resist internal distractions, but being a good listener, or listening to music deeply, is another ball game.

I think you’re right, there.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

millionrainbows

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #84 on: May 15, 2017, 12:27:01 PM »
This may all change. In fact, I guarantee it.

Offline jessop

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #85 on: May 15, 2017, 03:47:01 PM »
It takes disciplined listening for me to hear technically sophisticated, emotionally complex music.  Another area that requires this sort of discipline for me is philosophy, which I enjoy reading.  Is the music of Webern "as easy as breathing" to you?  I think that you might be a better listener than I am.  Usually I'm trying to keep myself out of the experience, perhaps along the lines of a dissolution of the ego.   
Ah I see. Personally I don't think I'm a 'better' listener than anyone. I haven't been listening to music for as long as most people on this forum so I am much less experienced and have listened to fewer composers by far, however I do listen to music for what it makes me feel and for my own enjoyment. I love it when I feel like I'm hearing beauty or I feel excited when listening to music. The only thing I do is let it enter my ears and then my reactions are things I have no conscious control over. Webern is a wonderful composer; I'm especially fond of his five movements for string quartet op. 5.

Parsifal

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #86 on: May 15, 2017, 03:54:58 PM »
Technicalities differ from emotions in exactly the same way as knowing that tears are produced by an excitation of the lacrimal glands differs from crying.  ;D

Oh my word.  That is rather perfect:  one is dry, the other wet, lol.

I don't find Florestan's analogy rings true. The anatomy of lacrimal glands is unrelated to the source of grief that results in tears. The technicalities of music are the tools that composers use to create emotionally evocative music. Florenstan's understanding of lacrimal glands would be analogous to calculating the normal modes of vibration of a violin string.

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #87 on: May 15, 2017, 08:57:28 PM »
The anatomy of lacrimal glands is unrelated to the source of grief that results in tears. The technicalities of music are the tools that composers use to create emotionally evocative music.

There are some posters here who claim precisely that the technicalities of music are unrelated to the emotions we experience when we hear it.

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Offline jessop

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #88 on: May 15, 2017, 09:05:20 PM »
There are some posters here who claim precisely that the technicalities of music are unrelated to the emotions we experience when we hear it.


That sounds like a silly point to try to make.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #89 on: May 16, 2017, 02:49:01 AM »
There are some posters here who claim precisely that the relation between technicalities of music are unrelated to and the emotions we experience when we hear it is indirect and complex.

FTFY
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #90 on: May 16, 2017, 02:49:29 AM »
That sounds like a silly point to try to make.

It's next-door to a strawman.  Certainly a tiresome simplification, and I fail utterly to see the use Andrei finds in flogging it.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #91 on: May 16, 2017, 03:25:05 AM »
FTFY

In respect with your position on the issue, I agree with the correction.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #92 on: May 16, 2017, 03:39:39 AM »
In respect with your position on the issue, I agree with the correction.

Meanwhile, in the Unpopular Opinions thread . . . .

Barring the attachment of non-musical information, it is impossible, completely impossible, to write music which will mean the same thing, emotionally, to all listeners.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #93 on: May 16, 2017, 03:43:53 AM »
I dislike the word "technicalities," because that implies a trivialization. It would be more proper to speak of the "materials" of music. And these include things most of us will recognize, no matter how much musical training we may or may not have. We can all distinguish an oboe from a violin; we can all easily perceive that a waltz is in 3/4 time and a march in 4/4. These are all part of the vocabulary of musical materials. The general public, however, is usually not educated in identifying intervals, chords, cadences, modes, and the like; and so when discussion of those things comes up it is regularly dismissed as indulging in "technicalities" or "looking under the hood" or "I don't have to know how the food is made to enjoy it."

But the analogy is false: there's no "looking under the hood." It is all out in the open. And if I were to sit with one of the "technicalities" crowd and identify the sound of a subdominant chord in a plagal cadence (the "amen" sound), you'd simply say: "Oh, that's what that is! It's easy once you know what you're listening to."
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #94 on: May 16, 2017, 04:04:02 AM »
I dislike the word "technicalities," because that implies a trivialization. It would be more proper to speak of the "materials" of music. And these include things most of us will recognize, no matter how much musical training we may or may not have. We can all distinguish an oboe from a violin; we can all easily perceive that a waltz is in 3/4 time and a march in 4/4. These are all part of the vocabulary of musical materials. The general public, however, is usually not educated in identifying intervals, chords, cadences, modes, and the like; and so when discussion of those things comes up it is regularly dismissed as indulging in "technicalities" or "looking under the hood" or "I don't have to know how the food is made to enjoy it."

But the analogy is false: there's no "looking under the hood." It is all out in the open. And if I were to sit with one of the "technicalities" crowd and identify the sound of a subdominant chord in a plagal cadence (the "amen" sound), you'd simply say: "Oh, that's what that is! It's easy once you know what you're listening to."

That's true, and a sad reflection on the state of general musical education worldwide. I for one regret not having a "technical" music education --- not because I'm not able to analyze to death this or that piece, but because I'm not able to play an instrument.

My point, though, is that for some people (not you nor Karl, just to be clear) it seems the "technicalities" in themselves are far more important than the actual response music evoke in listeners. I simply cannot understand how such a clearcut distinction between the technical and the emotional part of music can be made, and how the latter can be said as primarily dependent on factors other than the former.
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #95 on: May 16, 2017, 05:25:34 AM »
That's true, and a sad reflection on the state of general musical education worldwide. I for one regret not having a "technical" music education --- not because I'm not able to analyze to death this or that piece, but because I'm not able to play an instrument.

My point, though, is that for some people (not you nor Karl, just to be clear) it seems the "technicalities" in themselves are far more important than the actual response music evoke in listeners. I simply cannot understand how such a clearcut distinction between the technical and the emotional part of music can be made, and how the latter can be said as primarily dependent on factors other than the former.

Then again, none of us knows how we actually listen, as opposed to how we talk about how we listen.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #96 on: May 16, 2017, 05:28:22 AM »
Then again, none of us knows how we actually listen, as opposed to how we talk about how we listen.

Very good!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

millionrainbows

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #97 on: May 16, 2017, 09:48:47 AM »
Listening to Wagner, like Parsifal or Tristan, to connect the "extended" harmonies back to traditional tonality is an intellectual exercise. Only an informed listener would know to make that connection, because without resolution, all the chromaticism is just chromatic, not tonal. So even chromatic "tonal" music needs informing.

Truly tonal music is based on harmonic realities, and its "logic" is in its sound. It is not an intellectual construct as much as it is a visceral experience.

One cannot truly grasp the structure of chromatic, 12-tone, and serialism without some form of understanding of that which is not apparent, and is "hidden" in the structure in the sense that it is not apparent to the ear. Without this, it is still beautiful sound, but not as fully understood as it could be.

millionrainbows

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #98 on: May 16, 2017, 10:37:39 AM »
The ear/brain has a natural tendency to hear interval relations in terms of their relation to a fundamental tone (not "root"), so your acuity (or lack) at perceiving more abstruse harmonic meanings (meanings which shift constantly) is similar to the ability of "experts" who have learned (and have inherent propensities) to perceive other types of perceptual meanings, like seeing visual meaning in abstract art, the ability to draw, to dance, throw a football, a master chef's sense of smell/taste, and other areas.

What I'm saying is that you either hear it, or you don't. The people who can hear meaning in abstruse music are the ones who like it, and have a natural visceral propensity; the ones who say that they "reject" it are more often than not unable to hear it, based mainly on an inherently lower visceral propensity. These people are "crippled" from the start.

If a person has demonstrated that they do have a good ear/brain connection (by playing an instrument, singing, etc) and they still can't penetrate more abstruse music, then this is more likely to be from willful choice, due to unfamiliarity or refusal to explore, not an inherent inability. This type of "refusal" is much more credible than the run-of-the mill criticisms of those listeners who are inherently unable to hear and understand, from both a vicseral and cognitive standpoint.

What I'm saying is that "your ear" (visceral) is the stimulus that "draws you in" to more difficult music. This is a very natural ability, and some folks have it, while others don't. This translates (after the fact) into "preference."

This preference is not "debatable" on a credible level by those who are unable to hear it on a visceral level, because this boils down to inherent ability, not will. It's like some people don't enjoy dancing because they can't do it well (comparatively).

Offline jessop

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #99 on: May 16, 2017, 02:12:39 PM »
Listening to Wagner, like Parsifal or Tristan, to connect the "extended" harmonies back to traditional tonality is an intellectual exercise. Only an informed listener would know to make that connection, because without resolution, all the chromaticism is just chromatic, not tonal. So even chromatic "tonal" music needs informing.

Truly tonal music is based on harmonic realities, and its "logic" is in its sound. It is not an intellectual construct as much as it is a visceral experience.

One cannot truly grasp the structure of chromatic, 12-tone, and serialism without some form of understanding of that which is not apparent, and is "hidden" in the structure in the sense that it is not apparent to the ear. Without this, it is still beautiful sound, but not as fully understood as it could be.

We can grasp the structure just fine, thanks. It isn't necessarily a 'hidden' structure. Motifs and harmknies derived from a row can be perfectly audible when a composer chooses to highlight those characteristics of a row. And for anything that isn't 12-tone, composers ave their own way of creating some kind of internal logic in each piece. The ears hear everything the composer writes for the musicians to play and we just happen to enjoy it and make sense of it because the composer wrote something that obviously has some kind of structure....

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