Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Taste the Music

My apologies to Skittles lovers, as this does not relate to tasting the rainbow in anyway.

I realized early on that I listened to music on many levels. What I have found is that over the years the number of levels has increased. Not to say that all of these levels are achieved with every song I listen to— but I can listen to music and have more than one way of perceiving what I listen to simultaneously:

Aesthetically
I, like nearly everybody who listens to music, enjoys the music I listen to. It may seem like this is obvious— but sometimes the other ways of listening to music tend to drown out the good feeling I get when I hear a great song.
Analytically
There are several different kinds of analysis, but I typically focus on music theory and practice. I listen for the different chordal structures used; the phrases and how they are executed; melodies and counter melodies
Choreographically
I am not a choreographer, but I do like a song that makes you want to get up and dance. I also enjoy trying to interpret the way the song rises and falls and how that moves me both physically and emotionally. There is so much here that it probably deserves a separate post entirely.
Compositionally
Usually this goes hand in hand with music analysis. I try to figure out how the song is structured and how I would write the music so others can perform it.
Engineerically
Since I have a degree as a sound engineer, I tend to listen to music using a technically acoustical approach. I ask myself how that particular sound is reproduced— or even how the engineers who recorded the song may have set up the microphones in order to capture that sound. I listen for the balance and the layering involved. I listen to see if they used compression and determine how best to make the sound translate to mono. etc. etc.…
Pedagogically
Being an educator means that you are looking for ways of teaching something. Since I have a degree in Music Education, I look for ways of teaching the song. This ranges from how do I pick apart the melody to teach it to somebody, to even how do I teach the diction to the singer so that they pronounce it appropriately.
Poetically
I tend to gravitate towards songs that have interesting lyrics. I enjoy interpreting the lyrics and what they mean to me. I also enjoy good wordplay and creative diction which makes singing it quite a challenge.

I'm sure that there are others, but these are the ones that seem most prominent. What about you… in what ways do you listen to music?


Second Blooming
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