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What Do You Listen To Music For?

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  • What Do You Listen To Music For?

    I'm serious.

    Just something I've been thinking about lately - that what I'm after when I'm listening to music has changed over the years. I mean you can always say you listen to music "just 'cause you like to" but that's a non-insightful Answer For Dummies.

    For example, here are some reasons that are very different:

    1. to listen with a technical ear to some particular aspect of the music. The chord progression, the bass lines, the drum patterns, the mix tricks, the synth passages, etc.

    2. to listen on your favorite day off time to listen while you putter around the kitchen or whatever. For excitement, mood, nostalgia, sheer loud music banging away pleasure.

    3. to listen to seriously relax. Lie down on the grass or on a patio lounger with headphones, put on something slow or soft or truly ambient and go far, far away somewhere between meditation, sleep, trance, hypnosis.

    4. to listen to new stuff to try and understand it. Especially if it doesn't hit your immediate "I like this!" button. Or old stuff that people you respect like but you never could understand the draw. C'mon you curmudgeons, try some rap

    5. this is like #4, but different in an important way. To listen to something you already know is good, but it takes serious concentration to delve deeply into the intricacies and subtleties. Like say Coltrane or Bach or Stravinsky or Ravi Shankar.

    6. just music as background to drift in and out of as the mood carries you. Wallpaper.

    Me? I'm cutting down presently on the background music - saving my mojo for more serious listening. Staying more hungry for really getting down and diving deep into the material. I'd say items 1 and 5 are where I tend to be lately.

    But all reasons are good reasons.

    What about you?


  • #2
    Pretty much all of the above and then some.

    Music entered my life from birth and there are not only relaxing qualities but learning and medicinal purposes. It can mend a somber mood, hype the senses of crowd participation or workout, create nostalgia, or tickle your funny bone.

    Outside of the emotional aspect, music is also mathematical. It can build intricate pathways in brain logic and create stability in structure.
    Being a musician, I learn chops, chord structures and songwriting technique by listening to music that had been above my capabilities. It has helped hone a God given talent in me and made more sense in not only music theory but life applications.

    At this stage of my life, I mostly listen to music for enjoyment while traveling in my car. Any other time, I'm creating it on stage or in the studio, producing, engineering or teaching it. Collaborating with other musicians opens the door for new ideas and broadens the horizon of music.
    No matter the caliber of musician, everyone has something different or interesting to offer.

    Music is the extension of one's expression. It is another language, one that everyone understands at some level. Even animals and plants respond to it. If it is expressed correctly, a person can experience the performer's true feelings at that moment without them saying a word.

    So, when I listen to music, I am listening to an elaborate conversation with each speaker conversing in harmony to a subject. The complete orchestration is usually much greater than the sum of its parts. It turns expression + conversation into magic.
    I can find something I like in any genre of music. I was exposed to the mix at a very young age. Those who have not have to acquire a taste.


    • #3
      Make of it what you will. When I can choose I choose silence, or what passes for it, 90-95% of the time now. There was a time though when I would have filed under all of the above to one degree or another. But working full time for an orchestra, and leaving the hall to work for a band, then up early to work on my project, not to mention all the music listening and making that led up to that---perhaps my cup runneth over. Or maybe it was a wicked ear worm. A long recharge? Been there done that?

      I dunno. Profound disappointment is a possibility also.

      At any rate, I submit that silence isn't so bad, at least not when one chooses it.

      And I don't feel like I'm missing anything.


      • #4
        I would love to get back to listening, playing and even learning for my own enjoyment.....

        Playing in bands I've been force feed a lot of crap I didn't particularly like and sometimes just plain hate but being in a band is work and you're there to do a job. Right now that job is the best one you'll find in this area as far as being popular and getting paid but I've put in my notice and look forward to getting away from that for a while. I made the important decision that music is a hobby and dammit, it's going to have to be something I enjoy completely.

        Then there's another aspect that has to do with my advancing age where I often feel I've heard it all before. New radio songs use the same formulas and patterns while the message is from some naive little wiener that has no experience in life.


        • #5
          1) I listen to be emotionally moved (never to relax, I prefer to do that with silence). Whether it's 3 chord blues, a symphony or anything in between I want emotion, joy, passion, angst, thrills, or whatever.

          2) I listen to improve my arranging skills - how does this piece of music work? What are all the parts doing in relation to each other? How is it specific or radical for the genre? What is the groove?

          3) I listen to improve my playing skills. What is that musician doing? How is he or she getting their expression? What musical devices are they using, and when, and how much? How is he or she phrasing the melody?

          4) I listen to analyze if what I'm hearing might work well for my usually audiences. Will they like it? Can we cover it? Can I do a decent backing track?

          5) I listen to broaden my musical experiences. It cold be Tuvan Throat SInging, Cabo Verde music, Peruvian Pan Pipes, Indian Ragas, Peking Opera, or anything else I can find.

          Like most musicians, anything I hear, whether it is something for my own enjoyment, the Muzak in a store, something somebody else put on, or anything and everything that comes to me I analyze it. I can't help that, nor do I want to change that.

          Insights and incites by Notes
          Bob "Notes" Norton
          Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
          Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
          The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


          • #6
            I listen to music to feed my soul.



            "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
            - George Carlin

            "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
            - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

            "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
            - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


            • #7
              I like the ride mostly. Then to stimulate and work my musical senses and then to practice.
              Originally posted by Unconfigured Static HTML Widget...

              Write Something, or Drag and Drop Images Here...


              • #8
                Sometimes for it's artistic value, sometimes for emotional support with music I'm familiar with, sometimes for inspiration...sometimes I feel the need to understand other people by the music they make or listen to, but not really.
                Last edited by Anagram; 03-01-2018, 12:25 PM.


                • #9
                  Interesting replies, all. Got some serious listeners here. One thing I thought I'd mention that I do is I'll make playlists that feature a particular instrument played more or less along the style lines I play. Like maybe 35 songs that all have ballad piano. Or scratchy Neil Young-like electric guitar. Or James Jamerson-style bass lines. Etc.

                  This really helps me in my arranging and developing parts for my one-man-band recording productions. Super inspiring.



                  • #10
                    Well, a few different reasons on this end. In no particular order:
                    • To improve my mixing for church services - trying to match what the popular praise music sounds like - whether it is being driven by drums, keys, guitar, etc. Trying to bring the familiar sound into the worship experience
                    • To try and understand the times - putting myself in the place of the protagonist - mainly when I listen to old folk music (thinking about songs like "Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier" "Rocky Road to Dublin" or "Molly Bawn")
                    • For relaxation, especially when writing technical texts. Instrumental music helps things flow better.
                    • To improve my own playing, especially when learning new instruments (like the mountain dulcimer, Irish low whistle or bodhran)
                    • To improve my recording mixes, especially in the folk arena, as this is much different from the live mixing I do at church.
                    • Lastly, to remember good times - music from when I was growing up, music that played at important life events that have stuck with me over the years. Songs whose memories may bring a laugh or a tear.

                    Guess that's the main reason on this end.....
                    Last edited by Mandolin Picker; 03-01-2018, 12:57 PM.
                    The Mandolin Picker

                    "Bless your hearts... and all your vital organs" - John Duffy

                    "Got time to breath, got time for music!"- Briscoe Darling, Jr.


                    • #11
                      I listen to music for pleasure mostly. My brain seems to ache for it almost on a daily basis. A day or two without music and I feel withdrawal symptoms coming on.