Notes on the practice of listening

things i think about a lot lately:
Changing listening practices
(Modular) synthesis and sound in nature
Broadening of my musical taste
Music without pretention
Electronic music brings a new kind of experience
Experience of time and space
Of textuality, rhythm and harmony
Listening alone, inside or outside, or together
Live performances
Listening to the soundscape of cities, natural environments
Noise pollution
streaming services, cd´s, lp´s, digital vs analog media
the flood of noise on soundcloud, bandcamp, blogs ect.
listening in the act of making
listening and recording


this is a big one, and a very difficult one for me personally – maybe not pretension, but worrying about what past me would think about me liking a thing, or my peers or even current me who’s a pain in the ass snob about everything ;{


This is a lovely list. Thank you for it! I’m going to bookmark it and re-read it every few months.

I’ve often said that the most important thing that I learned from my composition teacher, Ivan Tcherepnin, was how to listen. He would sometimes stop in the middle of class to point out the rhythm or melody in some ambient sound from outside the classroom. Just watching him listen to music was a lesson in itself.


Without similar instruction from my sixth grade music teacher, I wouldnt actively enjoy music in the same way

Still not sure why she was focused so intensely on deep listening but it changed me and has stayed with me longer than anything else from school


These are things I think about every day. Sounds like I found the right forum :slight_smile:


welcome @midilifestyle!

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Cheers :slight_smile:

Listening to classical music after a session with my modular is really nice. My listening is particularly focused on timbral changes. Classical instruments sound so beautiful and rich. Humans playing style is very sensitive and fragile.


Comparing humans as sensitive sequencer systems with sequencer modules


Real time vs mechanical time.
Ebb and flow vs driving pulse.
Natural vs manufactured.


We can never accomplish the level of musical sensivity of humans with computers or synths. On the other hand we can accomplish many things with computers and synths that human without it couldn’t couldn’t accomplish. Is electronic music a trade off between human sensitivity on the one hand and timbral and rhythmic possibilities on the other?
Just throwing some thoughts around here


Linnstrument, Roli Seaboard, Haken Continuum, Madrona Soundplane, Eigenharp, Buchla touchplates, Roland GR-55…


yeah you’re totally right about that :slight_smile:
it’s more an continuum of expression then? on one side the human voice, traditional instruments somewhere in the middle, at the far end generative systems?


I think that’s a very reasonable way to look at it.

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not that generative systems couldn’t express anything. but what they express doesn’t flow out of human expression from one to one, as is the case when you sing. or can people sing like a generative system as well?

in the end your voice can’t be decouple from your body. a generative system can. so it’s about bodily involvement too. and it’s the body where the human senses are rooted as well.

Biological systems and mechanical systems can absolutely mimic each other, enhance each other, distort/transform each other. But you’re correct to notice that they can’t replace each other.

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V[quote=“jasonw22, post:13, topic:4248, full:true”]
Linnstrument, Roli Seaboard, Haken Continuum, Madrona Soundplane, Eigenharp, Buchla touchplates, Roland GR-55…

All of these require human manipulation. None by itself produce any tone.

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True. Not sure what your point is?

(actually a couple of them have included synths, but I think you’re trying to get at something…)

I notice that my listening practice is changed since I got into modular synthesis. I listen more closely to (changes in) detail and timbre. I listen more to ambient and experimental music. I listen more to classical music too. Maybe my sense of time in music is changed. I like longer, more slowly and subtle moving compositions.