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Tent_camp.jpgPhilip Alperson, in the introduction to “The Philosophy of Music,” describes “the four broad areas of music which were to become standard areas of inquiry in Western thought” about music. They are:
Formalist, which is “concerned with the qualities of musical form itself.”
Expressive, which is focused on “the connection between music and human emotion.”
Metaphysical, concerned with the “ontological, cosmological and religious significance of music.”
Ethical, concerned with “the effects and role of music within society.”
I read and hear lots of you talking about how the music feels, how it makes you feel, and things like that, so I bet that the expressive camp would be well-populated. And the idea of an ethical perspective on music might help clarify that muddy thing that so many people seem to be concerned with when they talk about how vapid and empty some music seems to be.
Maybe the formalist camp would be reserved for the most esoteric and avant-garde among us; and the metaphysical might be populated by new age listeners and certain composers.
Of course, we’d wander between camps. We might be in two or three at once, even.
Even so, do you think you can place yourself in one or more of these groups? What are your concerns when you listen to music? If you have no concerns, does that automatically mean you are an “expressive” listener? Are there any things that are missing from this list?

Comments

  1. Louie
    March 05, 2008 at 2:56pm
    Music must be like "art" - I don't know all the big stuff about music, but I know what I like! My station playing "blues" is just about the best thing I've enjoyed in a long time. I like different kinds of music, but the variety of my station is fantastic! I listen all day (most days) at work.
    Reply
  2. Meg Umans
    March 07, 2008 at 12:32pm
    Any effect a particular piece of music has on the listener or on society is emotional, whether that effect was intentionally written in or not. Think of national anthems, protest music, work songs, worship songs, love songs, marches.... Some of them are intended to move us to action or reflection, and all of that starts by affecting our feelings. This was a good question, proven by the variety of interpretations. Way to go!
    Reply
  3. Roman
    March 13, 2008 at 5:35am
    Formalist
    Reply
  4. sulky selkie
    March 19, 2008 at 12:24am
    MUSIC IS OLDER THAN WORDS. WHALES WERE SINGING BEFORE WE HAD SYNTAX. WE LISTEN, SOMETIMES WE HEAR - BUT A GROWING MAJORITY OF US REALLY JUST WANT TO... DANCE, YOU HEARD ME - DANCE, MOVE AND REACT WITH OUR PHYSICAL BODIES TO WHAT THE MUSIC IS SAYING!!! YES, A MOOD FILTER, THE ENTIRE GENOME OF HUMAN EMOTIONS, THIS WOULD BE QUITE THRILLING, I HAVE BEEN MAKING COMPILATIONS TO THIS EFFECT FOR OVER TWO DECADES NOW - A COMPLEX NEVER ENDING LABOR OF LOVE, BUT THERE IS SOMETHING MORE THAN THIS... I AM SWIMMING TO WHERE THE FISH MAKE THEIR OWN GLOWING LIGHT AND THE SEA IS ONLY AN ECHO OF ITSELF... THERE IS THE LOST CHORD. AND IT IS STILL MISSING. NOT UNLIKE THE HOLE IN OUR OZONE. WE NEED TO DREAM UP SOME PRETTY SOPHISTICATED TECHNOLOGY TO MEND THE AIR, PERHAPS SOMETHING AKIN TO A SONIC OR VIBRATIONAL FIELD, A MOLECULAR STABILIZATION OF SOME KIND, SADLY - WE ARE PAST THE POINT WHERE A MASSIVE FILTER WOULD BE OF ANY BENEFIT. PANDORA COULD HOLD MORE ANSWERS THAN WE EVER DARED TO IMAGINE... VOICES IN THE SKY! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_MzJyI-AtA&feature=related SHE SEA CALLS TO ME SING OF WHAT THE BLUE BIRD KNOWS, CHILDREN ARE WAKING - THEIR EYES DANCE, THEIR FEET ARE DANCING, THEY KNOW NOTHING OF MUSIC BUT EVERYTHING OF MOTION... YET THEY SING AND KNOW NOT WHAT THEY SAY. MUSIC IS DANCE, THE SOUNDS ARE MOTION, WATCH THE WAVES, YOUR EYES WILL DANCE WITH INNOCENCE - LIKE A CHILD'S! DANCE AND YOU WILL KNOW THE MUSIC AS IT HAS ALWAYS KNOWN YOU. DANCE, expressively - this is the connection between music and human MOTION.
    Reply
  5. Mercedes
    March 20, 2008 at 11:36am
    Why is it that when u bookmark a song u can only listen 2 a sample of the song? Why can't u listen 2 the whole song ,I mean when I bookmarked a song I expected 2 b able 2 listen 2 it whenever I want.Now,other than that I luv pandora!
    Reply
  6. kayleen
    March 20, 2008 at 6:24pm
    I love music and this website. Every time i come home i just jam and sing along,I even record myself, i notice how better my voice changed.when me and my buddies were about to make a band i got excited but we didnt even know were to start and they didnt like my drummer so they quit and now im just trying to make my own music by myself with the piano and lyrics it actually is fun but sometimes i could get lazy.
    Reply

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