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Thread: listen to this.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Default listen to this.

    we must have touched on this before but cant remember when or where
    but just a thread about listening and getting better at it.

    there's one line of development where the ear is educated
    to discern pattern, to discriminate between notes, time
    signatures etc


    and there is another line which would stress a generalised
    enlarging of the field of awareness INCREASED CONSCIOUSNESS
    and greater sensitivity of perception.

    these two directions are not necessarily complementary
    but i don't think they're necessarily antagonistic either.

    all listening has to include listening to the feedback too-
    that is to say, we must listen to ourselves listening

  2. #2
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    Its something I think about a lot in relation to ambient, the relationship with environment being paramount, and obvious antecedents with Oliveros and people like Lawrence English.

    Deep listening is difficult, and some genres demand it whilst others do their best to discourage it. I remember being struck at a classical performance, just how demanding the music was of the listener. Its possible to appreciate on a surface level of course, the mood and overall vibe of the music, but to follow the changes in tempo, bar structure, the interplay of instruments, melody and counter melody and the overarching narrative and gestalt - that takes a kind of work that is generally not required from a lot of contemporary music.

    Similarly with jazz. There's the superficial level and basic signifiers, but IMO, proper appreciation requires a particular ear and mindset which is actually a significant barrier to entry in my experience. I wonder if the emphasis on hidden meanings, lyrical analysis etc. in pop and rock is an attempt in some way to substitute meaning and depth that was present in more musically sophisticated older instrumental genres.

    Drone in particular occupies a strange zone. Its lack of rhythm, melody, structure and narrative and virtually imperceptible micro changes & progression demands intense attention from the listener, but the more you focus the less you find, or rather the harder it is to grasp what it is your hearing. Oliveros tackled this in her deep listening workshops, and the emphasis on the cultivation of a mindful, meditative approach to listening. Some footage towards the end of this. Its deep hippie territory.


  3. #3
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    I remember really trying to improve my listening after reading a couple of things - Toop’s Ocean of Sound was important as it pointed me in the direction of Deep Listening but also Perec - a series of experiments he did on noticing everything for a specific period of time - tuning in to that which we tune out. I could do with getting back to that - I do wonder if screens etc have made me much worse at that deep attention.

  4. #4
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    i like it when jazz is a riot. so the complexity becomes sort of viceral.

    classical is too transcribed and notated for that to happen most of the time imo.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2016
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    i have insomnia so i listen in bed on the mp3. ain't read ocean of sound yet but i feel I'm doing the deep listening when there's no computer/internet access or distractions at night. currently listening to that roland kayn box set. it's a lot of work.

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