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Thread: Do you ever lose touch with reality when listening to music? If so, what pieces?

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    Moderator Huilunsoittaja's Avatar
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    Default Do you ever lose touch with reality when listening to music? If so, what pieces?

    I've been thinking about this recently.

    My life has been tough the last few months. Not just school stuff, but several high-pressure musical things including 2 auditions and some major performances. Also some sadness/despair over a certain secret circumstance I'm in. I've been having some trouble typing and reading things correctly, worse than in the past, dyslexia? Yet this is no real trouble to me since I have excellent grades in my courses. Some hallucination of spots and things moving in the last weeks, but not recently. A few mornings ago, I had just woken up and was half asleep, and started reading my bible, when I heard my name yelled by a male's voice, not exactly anyone I knew. Also my dreams have been so realistic, pertaining to certain concerns in my life that even hours later, I'm still not sure if what I experienced was a dream or something that really happened. This all concerns me. I hope I haven't done a self-fulfilling prophecy by accident, I wrote a story about someone like this almost a year ago, someone spiraling into insanity... dream and reality becoming one... who knows, I might go all Black-Swan soon (I watched that movie 2 weeks ago, I really sympathized with that poor girl).

    And on top of all of this, if I just listen to some piece by Arensky, I leave everything behind. All is well again. I might be stressed, but I can be artificially uplifted in my mood without anything ever changing in my life.

    Does this ever happen to you, that you get a loss of touch with reality even for a slight moment when listening to music? It might not necessarily mean your mood changes, but you get an odd sensation of no longer being in the present, but being somewhere entirely different.
    "Music is an art, and art is forever. Music should not succumb to fashion, which is passing and forgotten."
    Glazunov


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    This seems to be a variant of another thread, or perhaps other threads (I don't keep track of all of them), in which the best or most sensible answer is "all," but the OP wants some other answer besides "all."

    Anyway, in addition, in this case, I would say that music is real, so all music that I listen to puts me into reality. A deeper, richer, more real reality than anything else (almost) that is usually referred to as "real."

    But, that's all as may be. Soon other posters will sign on with the "right" answers, which are "Beethoven's Hammerklavier" or "Tchaikovsky's Romeo & Juliet" or "the opening to Bach's St. Matthew Passion" or something of that sort.

    Oh, it's fun.

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    Senior Member ptr's Avatar
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    Frequently, listening in the dark like I have done tonight to Olivier Messiaen's 'Des Canyons aux Etoiles...' reality cease to exist and the experience of the music posses my senses totally!

    /ptr
    Je suis Charlie ~ I am a certified OrgaNut! (F.—I.W.)

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    Senior Member cwarchc's Avatar
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    Most definitely
    If I am listening and concentrating (doesn't always happen, life gets in the way)
    I find that my focus is on the music, nothing else intrudes (it's similar to meditation)
    A very enjoyable experience, to be repeated whenever "life" gets in the way (or if you just feel like it)
    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

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    Senior Member Kieran's Avatar
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    I don't know about losing touch with reality. The clarity and logic of great music brings me closer to reality, but the beauty often makes me soar. Yeah, I get lost in the minutiae, I can fade away to another place, my mind is no longer my own. I think this is true of any inspirational art or writing: it absorbs us as deeply as we absorb it...

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    Senior Member deggial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    But, that's all as may be. Soon other posters will sign on with the "right" answers, which are "Beethoven's Hammerklavier" or "Tchaikovsky's Romeo & Juliet" or "the opening to Bach's St. Matthew Passion" or something of that sort.

    Oh, it's fun.
    relax

    I agree with you about music (any that works for the listener) intensifying reality, whichever that may be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    Anyway, in addition, in this case, I would say that music is real, so all music that I listen to puts me into reality. A deeper, richer, more real reality than anything else (almost) that is usually referred to as "real."
    Glazunov does that for me. I almost always feel firmly grounded to reality when listening to his music, I'm not sure why. Perhaps because his emotions are slightly more constrained, and not hysterical like some Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff or Arensky. But with some other pieces, as with T, R, and A, I get feelings of, "I don't belong here. I belong where that piece of music is," or something along those lines.
    "Music is an art, and art is forever. Music should not succumb to fashion, which is passing and forgotten."
    Glazunov


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    Senior Member Feathers's Avatar
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    I agree with the posts about music putting us into or closer to reality. When I am under stress, I sometimes "distort" my reality (or even my personality) by fixating my attention too much on one or a few problems and difficulties, and music brings me "back to reality" and frees me, at least for a while. When I listen to music, I feel more like myself than ever.

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    ...and this is a moderator? That explains a lot...

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    Sometimes, maybe. Actually, usually it just seems to intensify the emotions I already have. I don't know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Huilunsoittaja View Post
    My life has been tough the last few months. Not just school stuff, but several high-pressure musical things including 2 auditions and some major performances. Also some sadness/despair over a certain secret circumstance I'm in.
    I'm sorry to hear this. I have my own secret circumstance. I hope things improve for you soon!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klavierspieler View Post
    Sometimes, maybe. Actually, usually it just seems to intensify the emotions I already have. I don't know.

    I'm sorry to hear this. I have my own secret circumstance. I hope things improve for you soon!
    Well, some of it's resolved. I did my first opera performance this evening and it went well, but I also got an email this evening saying I didn't get into an Orchestral Institute I auditioned for 2 weeks ago. So, mixed emotions, relief, frustration...

    Things will only improve when someone leaves my life forever...
    "Music is an art, and art is forever. Music should not succumb to fashion, which is passing and forgotten."
    Glazunov


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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    First, my commiserations. You have listed, in combination, the reactions to a classic case of big-time stress.

    Typical, btw, for an undergraduate or grad student who has many obligations and deadlines across so many areas, plus, being 'young,' many other 'youthful' personal involvements.

    The good news it is truly temporary, a good deal of what is taking it out of you will be relieved, as always, at the end of the semester you are now in :-)

    Many have wondered while in the middle of it, since student stress and 'fallout' is so well-known, why universities and colleges do not adjust their syllabus in order to prevent more students being similarly stressed out from one generation and semester to the next.

    None of that is on the syllabus, but in life after school, all the things creating tension and stress which you've related or allude to can happen just as much and just as often (if not in greater extreme) in regular doses, and also in far more than inconvenient clusterf___s, with the added gloss that once in the swim of adult life and making a livelihood what is at stake is not a matter of failing a course one can take over, regardless of the expense, but instead involves circumstances where it can make or break you, lose you your job, etc.

    So, all that has remained not-adjusted for school life, the knowledge that life after school can be as rough if not rougher from time to time. Ergo, it is an experience you must learn how to handle, and a 'test' you must pass.

    Thank your stars it is neatly scheduled around trimesters or semesters, rather than coming at you randomly, with no scheduled end of term in sight :-)

    ADD: as per the OP. I have always tended to get 'completely involved' in pieces I choose, prefer, listen to, study to perform, or comps I am in the midst of making.

    Often enough, I've put music on -- for listening -- as a focus / distraction away from worries I know are 'just worries,' vs. "solutions" or "strategies to solve a problem." Sometimes, so focused, the conscious linear thought part of the mind stills, and the intuitive aspect has more uninterrupted time to go to work on the same problem, more likely to later surprise you with 'all of a sudden' knowing what to do, worry about or not worry about.

    As bad as it may seem, if you can 'escape' into a piece of music in the middle of a stressy cluster of events, you do not yet know the greater extremes of stress: at those junctures, being able to concentrate on anything like a full length symphony becomes virtually impossible, which relegates anything with lesser degrees of stress, as real and uncomfortable as those are, to the status of 'first world problem.'
    Last edited by PetrB; Apr-13-2013 at 05:54.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Regarding the mild hallucinations and dreaming while awake symptoms, I had this happen over a year ago and it gradually got worse and worse. I was also wanting to sleep all the time and at inappropriate times. It turned out to be sleep apnea. I was not getting proper dream sleep and so was dreaming while awake -- or sort of awake, though I had dreams while sleeping too and they seemed vivid to me. All is better now after getting diagnosed and treated! Usually this happens in older people who are overweight, but it can happen to anyone. Worth keeping in the back of your mind if you find your self with unexplained fatigue and bizarre mental states.

    Regarding music taking me away, I would say it always does that to an extent. That may be one of its main functions. Naturally if I'm down I wouldn't want to try being artificially perky by listening to some happy Scarlatti sonata for instance. It doesn't work that way. Sometimes wallowing in music similar to my mood is therapeutic. On the other hand this approach does not work with stress. I do not want stressful music when I'm already stressed. I'm not sure why there is this large of a difference. Lately I have noticed that too much stress lessons my ability to be taken away by the music, and this is very frustrating. That may be age related as well as explained by PetrB above.

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    Yes! But what piece(s) send me, and to where exactly in my musical Nivana, is dependent first on my mood. This determines my listening selection, which, if appropriate (i.e. the music matches my mood) transports me to that special place of unreality. The moments are usually fleeting - but they are indeed "touching the Face of God" moments. Pity we can't stay there, but then again, we are at least reminded that these places do exist and wait for us (in those special times of need when necessary). This, as the OP suggests, can be a tremendous a source of comfort for all connoisseurs of music. It is for me. So, to the OP question... yes again.
    Last edited by KRoad; Apr-13-2013 at 09:56.

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    Reality, to me, is not the demands that are thrusts upon us by the society, nor the dilemmas it puts us into, nor any outside expectations. However, I tend to take those things for reality, for what is really important. What helps, is to remind myself, through music, for instance, of the truly meaningful things. To keep sane is everyone's foremost task. And the external circumstances of one's existence (code name: "reality") are the biggest obstacle. They are not meaningful in themselves, yet we feel ourselves at their mercy. This bizarre disproportion produces the most dangerous stress. Listening to music, that is finding true meaningfulness entirely in oneself, helps easing that stress.
    "What's intended in this end section of course is a sort of, how shall I say, exhilirating immersion in total negation - which itself produces a sort of sublimity." - Brian Ferneyhough

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