Author Topic: Serious listening?  (Read 1572 times)

ffcal

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Serious listening?
« on: November 08, 2011, 10:41:56 AM »
The other Forrest's comments (Sundummy) in the adjacent thread got me to thinking about how differently we seem to listen to music now.  Maybe this comes from the old days of listening to prog rock albums from beginning to end (who would think of skipping through 'Dark Side of the Moon' or 'Close To The Edge'), but I think that with the increasing convenience of listening has come a decline in serious, focused listening as an end in itself.  I find this somewhat depressing both a musician and as a listener.  I still prefer to listen to releases from beginning to end (though finding the time to do this is not that easy), and don't find the idea of shuffling or randomizing the trcaks I listen to very appealing.  Maybe this is just part of the overall tend toward multitasking and increased distraction that has accellerated with the computer and gadget age.  It's hard not to notice this when you see increasing numbers of people looking down at their devices as they almost walk into you.

Forrest

Mark Mushet

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Re: Serious listening?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 11:10:44 AM »
I completely agree. Worse still is the fact that the conditions you describe affect our ability to communicate effectively in other aspects of our lives. Politics and daily social discourse is affected in myriad ways. Relationships suffer, levels of potential connection to art suffer. After that, producers begin to pander to the condition so that complexity and nuance in all aspects get dumbed down.

OTOH I see some glimmer of resistance from young people who are seeing this all take place.

headonist

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Re: Serious listening?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 11:28:13 AM »
I like, if possible, to listen through an album from beginning to end. But these days I find myself less focused than before. I rather sit at the computer and surf around than sitting infront of the stereo. The music experience often suffer.

SunDummy

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Re: Serious listening?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 03:14:51 PM »
I rarely use shuffle; I like the flow of a whole album.  I do find that my attention span is getting shorter, though; while I used to be able to just stare at the wall and really listen, I now get antsy and need other distractions, like reading or the web or whatever.  Kinda sad, I guess, or maybe I was just really freakin' lazy but I thought I was being "deep" by just staring at the wall.

I used to think that ambient music lent itself very well to deep listening, but I'm finding more and more that it can all too easily become wallpaper if I don't really concentrate.  Which I do less and less.
I wish I was a Glowworm; a Glowworm's never glum. 'Cause how can you be grumpy, when the sun shines out your bum?

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DeepR

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Re: Serious listening?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2011, 02:31:00 PM »
Becoming more and more a fan of certain classical music, I have come to believe that the level of musicianship and creativity of those composers back then is virtually out of reach in today's world.
I'm sure there are more potential musical geniuses, because there are more people after all. I just get the feeling that the conditions in today's world do not allow for the development of talent and creativity to its highest potential. Modern life has too many distractions.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 02:33:00 PM by DeepR »

Mark Mushet

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Re: Serious listening?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2011, 04:15:09 PM »
I just get the feeling that the conditions in today's world do not allow for the development of talent and creativity to its highest potential. Modern life has too many distractions.

It feels like we are on the downside of a great hill that has only recently been climbed. But I suppose we should expect the unexpected, too. I know people who argue that there are unprecedented levels of creativity unleashed by our current circumstances. I tend to agree though it's hard not to see everything as being fragmented beyond repair sometimes.

Scott M2

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Re: Serious listening?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2011, 06:49:08 PM »
I tend to multi-task while listening to music in recent years too. However, I'm looking forward to taking a night off Friday,
turning the lights down and immersing myself for the first time in the quad and 5.1 mixes of Wish You Were Here -
an album I easily declare as my favourite for containing Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

ffcal

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Re: Serious listening?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2011, 12:40:55 AM »
I just get the feeling that the conditions in today's world do not allow for the development of talent and creativity to its highest potential. Modern life has too many distractions.

It feels like we are on the downside of a great hill that has only recently been climbed. But I suppose we should expect the unexpected, too. I know people who argue that there are unprecedented levels of creativity unleashed by our current circumstances. I tend to agree though it's hard not to see everything as being fragmented beyond repair sometimes.

I think it's still a great era to be living in--to have access to so many different styles of music, across different cultures and even centuries.  Increased global mobility, not to mention the internet, has made it much easier for emerging artists to be exposed to new influences.  But I would agree that there is not as a common "audience" as there may have been 50 or so years ago, when access to media and to new music was more limited.  I don't know if there will ever be another Artur Rubinstein or a Vladmir Horowitz, but I think there some great classical pianists out there, like Martha Argerich, Richard Goode and Mitsuko Uchida.  The original minimalists (Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley) will always remain great influences on me, though I probably haven't been following their more recent music as closely.  I am more concerned about the influence that a fragmented and distracted culture might have on the experience of listening.

Forrest