Banner: The symphonic suite Cantabile

View Poll Results: What kind of listening method do you prefer?

Voters
23. You may not vote on this poll
  • Active

    16 69.57%
  • Passive

    7 30.43%
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: What kind of listening do you prefer?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Mancunia
    Posts
    1,755

    Default What kind of listening do you prefer?

    I read a lot of comments on this board about the benefits of active listening to music over and above passive listening, along with remarks saying it's the only way to fully understand the 'richness' of classical music. Occasionally this is accompanied by the statement or sometimes implication that other forms of music like pop, folk, rock etc are designed for passive listening by casual music fans whils they do other activities.

    So I was wondering what kind of listening you prefer? And also what kind of listening you most often indulge in.

    I, myself, both prefer and practice passive listening far more often. I see it as one of the great advantages of this art form I get so much enjoyment from. I listen to music whilst doing just about anything. I do find however that music with lyrics can be a distraction whilst reading a book as it tends to demand active listening, unless the lyrics are in a language I don't understand. I will listen actively to music, but mainly when I am analysing the piece or following along with a score, otherwise my brain just naturally drifts off onto other thoughts during the music anyway. Plus, I get the horrible feeling I am somehow wasting time if I just sit and listen to music for an hour or two without doing something more 'productive' at the same time.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Wirral, UK
    Posts
    251

    Default

    I will put Radio 3 on in the car providing I am the only occupant, but apart from that I will only listen actively. Before I begin I go through a ritual of ensuring I am sitting in exactly the right position relative to the speakers. Then I give myself entirely to the music.

  3. #3
    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    3,334
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default

    I prefer active listening. In some ways it's almost a disadvantage; when I'm talking with someone and there's music playing, I can get very distracted by the music. On the other hand, I love getting involved in a great performance/piece of music and getting something out of it, whether it be insight into the music or life, or just goosebumps or a good laugh. It's all rewarding to my mind.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    24

    Default

    I like active listening because I can better absorb the music and I get a feel for it more quickly, but I don't normally have time for it and when I do I don't have the attention span for it. So, normally when I'm listening I'm doing something else. Although, those lazy Sunday mornings are always the perfect time for music... I voted for passive, can I change my answer? Some of my most precious musical memories are active listening experiences. Lying in bed listening to "Wall" (Pink Floyd) for the first time, or listening to "Kind of Blue" (Miles Davis) and "Blue" (Joni Mitchell) back to back. In fact, last night I listened to "Zaireeka" (The Flaming Lips) for the first time. Those of you who are familiar with "Zaireeka", will know what an active listening experience it is. Active listing for sure!
    "Classical doesn't do anything for me, it's like they just forgot how to improvise and they're covering for it by learning alot of notes" ~Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, "Bil Mon"

  5. #5
    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    25 Brook Street, Mayfair
    Posts
    3,516
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Active, usually. (Sometimes I get interrupted by various things in life when I have music on). But I admit I have a nasty habit of putting some types of very familiar/favourite chamber music on while consuming my dinner, making it an ... (drumroll please, for member Aramis) "utterly civilised" experience. Telemann's Tafelmusik, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    Plus, I get the horrible feeling I am somehow wasting time if I just sit and listen to music for an hour or two without doing something more 'productive' at the same time.
    Strange. What might that more "productive" thing be? Vacuuming the carpet? I have always thought you are a musician and to do something else along with having music in the background all the time (as suggested by your post) seemed a bit contradictory, other than to enjoy the art itself. I guess we're all guilty of that sometimes, just like my dinner example.

  6. #6
    Newbies Existentialist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default

    The only way I can fully enjoy classical music is by listening to it actively. Classical music unlike most of the other music genres requires undivided attention. This is because of musical development. Classical pieces evolve from one movement to the next. If I do not pay enough attention to one movement I will probably feel "lost" by the next. This "lost" feeling is as if I begin reading a novel on page 100. I will know what is happening but I will probably not know why it is happening.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9,091
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Active for me as well. I also think that I tend to gravitate towards the more complex types of classical music, but from all eras. Like the Monteverdi or Gesualdo madrigals, or some of Beethoven's late sonatas and quartets, to things by Carter, Feldman or Lutoslawski. These types of composers virtually demand active listening, for me it's all or nothing. If I am distracted by other things, I lose the thread of their "argument" so to speak...
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "Oh! It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read."
    - Algernon Moncrieff (in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest).

  8. #8
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Mancunia
    Posts
    1,755

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    Strange. What might that more "productive" thing be? Vacuuming the carpet? I have always thought you are a musician and to do something else along with having music in the background all the time (as suggested by your post) seemed a bit contradictory, other than to enjoy the art itself. I guess we're all guilty of that sometimes, just like my dinner example.
    It also works the other way round, in that when I am doing something pretty unproductive (like posting on here) I find it productive to passively listen to music at the same time.
    Recently I have been reading a lot of music books (Currently On the Sensations of Tone by Hermann Helmholtz and The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross) and I feel it more 'productive' to listen to music whilst reading. I also do (or try to do) a fair bit of mathematical (non-aural) musical investigations which means my ears are free to listen to what they want. Then there's other activities I enjoy like painting and woodwork, plus some I enjoy less like cooking and exercising that I find passive listening the only option. However, when I go for walks over the fells or along the canals I don't like to listen to music but actively listen to the ambient sounds (It's amazing how inescapable the sound of the motorway is around here).

    Obviously, when I am trying to work out a piece of music or doing ear training I listen attentively to the sounds but I find this can be quite tiring mentally, and I find passive listening a nice refreshment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre
    Active for me as well. I also think that I tend to gravitate towards the more complex types of classical music, but from all eras. Like the Monteverdi or Gesualdo madrigals, or some of Beethoven's late sonatas and quartets, to things by Carter, Feldman or Lutoslawski. These types of composers virtually demand active listening, for me it's all or nothing. If I am distracted by other things, I lose the thread of their "argument" so to speak...
    I find classical extremely agreeable for passive listening. All those composers you have mentioned I find quite easy to both attune to and switch off from. The stuff that really demands my attention is where what is being said is more important than how. Most of the old Delta bluesmen and political folk songsters seem to require the most attention from me because the music is pretty simple and most of the importance and thought has gone into the lyrics. Which means that I find Woody Guthrie or Leadbelly or Skip James aren't very good to read a book to.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    India
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    I find classical extremely agreeable for passive listening. All those composers you have mentioned I find quite easy to both attune to and switch off from. The stuff that really demands my attention is where what is being said is more important than how. Most of the old Delta bluesmen and political folk songsters seem to require the most attention from me because the music is pretty simple and most of the importance and thought has gone into the lyrics. Which means that I find Woody Guthrie or Leadbelly or Skip James aren't very good to read a book to.
    It's the exact opposite here! Strange, that I always tend concentrate on classical music a lot more than other genres. Prolly because of the fact that I don't follow along lyrics all that much. Voice + words = another instrument! Interpreting the words - well, I don't do that often (except for select few artists). The same goes for opera really. Edward Appleton's remark sums it up well - "I do not mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is a language I do not understand".

    But to answer the original question - Passive listening a lot more often than active. I get this same 'not being productive' feeling if I listen actively for too long.

  10. #10
    Senior Member TresPicos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    784

    Default

    I really appreciate the fact that it's possible to do both. But there are more ways to listen than just "while vacuuming" and "with score in hand". My favorite is "passive listening while doing nothing else". Just to lie down, let the music play and space out, fully aware of the music, but not following or analyzing it.

    That said, some composers really are best enjoyed while vacuuming. Or leaf blowing.

  11. #11
    Moderator Huilunsoittaja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    USA, Mid-Atlantic Region
    Posts
    2,898
    Blog Entries
    141

    Default

    I'm really half-and-half. But I'll vote active, since that's how I come to love new music more.

    I guess it would be active to watch a video on Youtube of a pianist or orchestra performing, or seeing the score on the screen? If that's so, then I would be active, because I do that a lot nowadays. But I love to read, do homework, etc. and listen to music too, and sometimes I absorb the music better that way.

    Then, there are times that the music is so good that I have to stop what I'm doing and just listen.
    "Before I became the director [of the St. Petersburg Conservatory] I knew the treble clef and the bass clef, now I know the wrench too." - Glazunov
    Join TC's Official Russian Composer Fanclub!

    If you like to listen to and share music, join me at plug.dj's official classical room!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Conor71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    3,135

    Default

    I prefer more Passive listening and particularly enjoy playing music while on the Computer, walking or Bike riding and stuff like that - I think with a more active approach you can probably understand a piece more quickly or perhaps be more analytical about the music but I still find that I can fully absorb a piece of music with Passive listening and repeated exposure, it just takes longer but whats the rush anyways?, (thats a question I seem to be asking myself a lot these days) .

  13. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    37

    Default

    When I've listened to a certain piece enough times and have gained a familiarity with it, I can become active and passive concurrently. What I mean is, I would listen to it while I work, but am very cognizant in anticipating every nuance I like about the piece. It might serve to slow up my work somewhat, because I'm so involved with the music. So then the work would have to be pretty routine for the work to get done, not something that involves much critical thinking, otherwise I won't get the work done, because I'm too emotionally involved with the music.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    3,800
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Both

    Passive when listening while I'm walking but sometimes I'll sit with an opera libretto and try to learn it properly
    Annie

  15. #15
    Bix
    Bix is offline
    Senior Member Bix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    685

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    Active, usually. (Sometimes I get interrupted by various things in life when I have music on). But I admit I have a nasty habit of putting some types of very familiar/favourite chamber music on while consuming my dinner, making it an ... (drumroll please, for member Aramis) "utterly civilised" experience
    i can see this being a 'carry on' Carry On Civilised


    I have to say in answer to this question that I am both Active and Passive in my listening of Classical music but I do like to indulge from time to time and choose a piece to listen to and study most 'actively'.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Current Listening Vol I
    By DanielFullard in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 63377
    Last Post: May-19-2014, 19:13
  2. Replies: 154
    Last Post: Jan-05-2014, 00:54
  3. Recommendations: specific kind of romanticism
    By Aramis in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: Dec-18-2010, 04:12
  4. 10 things you are listening to these days...
    By Sid James in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: Mar-11-2010, 22:09
  5. Passive Listening
    By Polednice in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: Oct-25-2009, 02:34

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •