Author Topic: How much is too much?  (Read 4520 times)

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Offline orbital

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2007, 06:34:27 AM »
This is where you and I differ.
Perhaps :) But doesn't that take the enjoyment away a bit at least?
The seriousness is the reason why people like to fight even over music! Because, taking it seriously makes you act defensive when someone does not share your views about a piece, composer or a performer.

But again,  perhaps the main reason why we listen to music in the first place may be different too.

On another note, I also think that having music (whatever it may be, even the music that may have the most reasons to be taken seriously) in the background helos in understanding it. I always play a new piece, particularly it is an unfamiliar one, inthe background a few times. Even though you are not paying attention the music still reaches your (sub?)conscious and in time you start recognizing bits and parts of it. I find it a great way to familiarize oneself with a new piece of music without actually spending the effort to purposefully understand it.

Kullervo

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2007, 06:52:43 AM »
Well, I am not versed enough to stress over performers. 90% of the time I buy a CD, it is my introduction to the piece.

I have played music in the background before, and I don't like it. Everything just starts to sound like noise. I also think it is demeaning to the music and the composer's intentions. There's enough background music floating around anyway these days. I'd prefer not to add to it.

Yes, I take music very seriously, as I do all great art. It's worth fighting over to me. It makes life a lot more livable for me.

Offline Grazioso

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2007, 03:51:28 AM »
I take art and music seriously but don't feel the need to fight over it or get upset when someone doesn't share my opinions. Insecurity and seriousness are two different things.

As opposed to some of the more popular genres of music, most classical music practically demands serious attention and study. By nature, it's a complex, sophisticated art form. To appreciate and enjoy its nuances requires real listener engagement. To just half-listen to it as background noise, as if it were high-end Muzak, is to do it and yourself a disservice. And as Kullervo says, it's also something of a slight against the memory of the composers to treat their masterpieces lightly.

Bear in mind, I don't argue that one should listen to classical music with grim-faced intensity and perpetually furrowed brow--obviously music should be fun--but high art is best enjoyed and understood, in my experience, when you try to meet it on its own level.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Mark

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2007, 03:54:29 AM »
I take art and music seriously but don't feel the need to fight over it or get upset when someone doesn't share my opinions. Insecurity and seriousness are two different things.

Agreed.

Offline orbital

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2007, 06:58:04 AM »

As opposed to some of the more popular genres of music, most classical music practically demands serious attention and study. By nature, it's a complex, sophisticated art form. To appreciate and enjoy its nuances requires real listener engagement. To just half-listen to it as background noise, as if it were high-end Muzak, is to do it and yourself a disservice. And as Kullervo says, it's also something of a slight against the memory of the composers to treat their masterpieces lightly.

Serious attention and study to do what exactly? I am listening to music, and the music I choose to listen gives me pleasure like nothing else in the world. I am even afraid to think about paying too much attention, as it may eventually spoil the enjoyment for me. It is not really important  to "understand" music, what (if anything) the composer is trying to say. To me, how s/he says it is more important that what s/he says, because we will never be able to hear the music from the composer's point of view. S/he is just another human being with a different perception than ours. But if how he says it (and here enters the performer) resonates with us, that's all that matters for me. I don't care to understand why that particular note is there; that it is, and that I can't imagine the music without it satisfying enough.

The bit about the memory of the composer does not mean much either. I am doing his/her memory the best imaginable service by having his/her music play on my stereo.

That being said, I am not, of course,  always half-listening. There are times when I want to immerse myself in a certain piece. And that is a great experience too. However, I can easily imagine being burnt out by music if I do that all the time. 
It is just like all other important things in my life. Sometimes (though rarely)I want my family to encompass my life, but other times I just want them to be there, and not think about appreciating them. And if I have to live without them for a while, that's OK.

Also, I listen to a piece with utmost intensity if Iam  planning to learn it. There it makes sense. I plan on actively participating in the music created, so to understand the mechanics, the underlying idioms may be crucial at that point as the intention is to recreate the creation.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2007, 07:15:28 AM »
Serious attention and study to do what exactly? I am listening to music, and the music I choose to listen gives me pleasure like nothing else in the world. I am even afraid to think about paying too much attention, as it may eventually spoil the enjoyment for me. It is not really important  to "understand" music, what (if anything) the composer is trying to say. To me, how s/he says it is more important that what s/he says, because we will never be able to hear the music from the composer's point of view. S/he is just another human being with a different perception than ours. But if how he says it (and here enters the performer) resonates with us, that's all that matters for me. I don't care to understand why that particular note is there; that it is, and that I can't imagine the music without it satisfying enough.


   I have always argued that too much academic work, overanalyzing peices of music etc. never brings me much joy.  If I am having to STUDY something it is hardly ever enjoyable.  More to the point sometimes I play classical music as background music then suddenly out of nowhere a melody, or a mood in the music I am listening to jumps out and grabs my attention...it is those moments that I love the most.  Couldn't care less what notes went where or how many beats per measure are in each and every bar or what is the composer's intent when he wrote the peice...knowledge of all these technicalities hardly makes the music enjoyable to listen to. 

  marvin   

Kullervo

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2007, 07:33:38 AM »
Couldn't care less what notes went where or how many beats per measure are in each and every bar or what is the composer's intent when he wrote the peice...knowledge of all these technicalities hardly makes the music enjoyable to listen to.

But that's not it. I listen closely for things like variation and recurring themes because they are concepts that are, to me, integral to the human experience. I cannot express the emotional impact of a theme that occurs in the beginning of a piece, reappearing again in the piece, slightly changed, or even unchanged. For an example of this, listen to the "Aino" trombone theme in Sibelius's 7th symphony. The theme appears three times throughout the symphony, each time within a completely different musical context, and each time bringing the key back to C major. It symbolizes, for me, the strength of love and the triumph of the human spirit over all obstacles.

But, perhaps I'm just reading too much into it. After all, it's just music.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #27 on: July 05, 2007, 01:15:06 PM »
But that's not it. I listen closely for things like variation and recurring themes because they are concepts that are, to me, integral to the human experience. I cannot express the emotional impact of a theme that occurs in the beginning of a piece, reappearing again in the piece, slightly changed, or even unchanged. For an example of this, listen to the "Aino" trombone theme in Sibelius's 7th symphony. The theme appears three times throughout the symphony, each time within a completely different musical context, and each time bringing the key back to C major. It symbolizes, for me, the strength of love and the triumph of the human spirit over all obstacles.

But, perhaps I'm just reading too much into it. After all, it's just music.

  Sorry I have misunderstood you then, listening closely to variations in recurring themes is needed to "engage" in a piece and enhances understanding and enjoyment.  What I was complaining about is an excercise I have had to do when I was taking piano lessons a long time ago (I had to identify what notes were sharps, flats, how many beats per measure, a rigorous academic analysis or in my opinion microanalysis) .....I never really enjoyed playing that instrument, nor the music I was playing.....I wonder why  ::) !!!

  marvin

Kullervo

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2007, 07:40:17 PM »
  Sorry I have misunderstood you then, listening closely to variations in recurring themes is needed to "engage" in a piece and enhances understanding and enjoyment.  What I was complaining about is an excercise I have had to do when I was taking piano lessons a long time ago (I had to identify what notes were sharps, flats, how many beats per measure, a rigorous academic analysis or in my opinion microanalysis) .....I never really enjoyed playing that instrument, nor the music I was playing.....I wonder why  ::) !!!

  marvin

No problem, I probably should have made myself more clear to begin with.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2007, 08:58:02 PM »
I'm like a kid with a new toy when discovering new music or recordings. I repeat, explore it from practically every angle. Then there's a kind of saturation point where I don't even look at the recordings and go on to others. Usually the peak experience of being hit by a piece averages out to one a day.  Going to a concert or opera is a good substitute for a fix although there can be shorter works that sort of grab my attention. If I'm working on a piece, sort of the opposite happens. I NEVER feel like I reached bottom and up until the last minute of performing have the anxious thought "Did I miss something?"

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Grazioso

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Re: How much is too much?
« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2007, 07:46:52 AM »
Serious attention and study to do what exactly? I am listening to music, and the music I choose to listen gives me pleasure like nothing else in the world. I am even afraid to think about paying too much attention, as it may eventually spoil the enjoyment for me. It is not

Serious attention and study to more fully experience and understand the piece. Classical music is not just about providing the fleeting, momentary thrills that come from a catchy melody or driving rhythm. Classical music has a deep intellectual side: it often tells a story, it's rhetorical, it builds musical meaning through exposition, development, and recapitulation--through structure and form. If you listen carefully to a piece with due attention and ideally read up on it and/or study the score, you can start to hear it from new angles instead of just your usual default "hearing" of it. New details and connections start to appear. The differences between interpretations start to take on deeper significances.

There's something to be said for the naive enjoyment of art, but more to be said for the educated and attentive appreciation of art, which includes the former but also encompasses trying to understand what the creator is doing technically and what he might be trying to "say". Why be content just experiencing 10% of an artwork when you can start enjoying the other 90% with some extra effort?

And the best art will repay and easily bear that sort of investigation. If you're afraid of losing your enjoyment of a piece, maybe it's because you're only enjoying it superficially or in the same manner every time. Why not make an effort to dig deeper and hear more?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 07:48:36 AM by Grazioso »
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle