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:

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.
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
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.
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.
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.…
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.
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


gretchen said...

So interesting. I imagine that most people who have less knowledge of music and engineering only listen aesthetically. I know that as an actor, I tend to look at films much differently - I'm very aware of the technical aspects of the filming. In some ways it's a shame, because I don't get caught up in the magic like I used to before I understood the details of the hard work that goes into the "magic".

You are linked!

viewfromdownhere said...

Very interesting! Having played the viola for 7 years, I listen to the technical aspects of the music and its composition as well. But...I also am like so many who listen aesthetically. But I always always listen to the words and take them to heart. It bugs me when so many of my friends like a certain song but have no idea what it's actually about...

Ginny Marie said...

Even though I come from a very musical family, I'm afraid I only listen to music aesthetically!

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