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October 20, 2014



Speaking as a musicologist who teaches at a university, I do not dismiss the use of teaching structural listening. However, I want more of us to consciously teach non-structural listening--to teach our students to listen in the moment, to pick up interesting timbres, weird rhythmic gestures, etc. As Andrew points out, we too often use structural listening to prove our superiority and to prove the superiority of the music we love.

Virginia Anderson

Very useful approach, especially for non music readers. We all do this. In my article, "(Re)Marking Time in the Audition of Experimental Music" (Performance Research, 15.3, 2010), I explained how the satisfaction of achieving the anticipated event (chorus, say) is like Barthes' punctum (that moment that pricks us). It can be a good event even if done in a negative way. My example was learning about the retransition to the recaptiulation in symphonies when I was taken to free San Diego Symphony concerts as a child from a culturally-deprived neighborhood. The classical music absolutely bored me but the retransition alerted me that I'd only have three more movements before we got back on the bus (and I loved riding the bus). The teleology of the music was as obvious as that of a sitcom.

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Dedicated to the idea that music criticism can be literate and fun to read, The Avid Listener fosters weekly discussions between scholars and novices alike.
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