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Thread: Do musicians listen to music differently than non musicians?

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    To the first line, the title of this thread, I would say "yes", but to the second line I'd say "not necessary".

    I think a lot of non musicians (like myself) can dissect a piece of music very well, although probably based on other knowledge/experience.
    There are a lot of non musicians who know perfectly well what different meters are (analyzing a subtitle from Supper's Ready will have inspired many), because they also read articles, interviews etc. about music.

    Personally I think I've started listening different to music since I started writing reviews and like Ernie I sometimes wish I wouldn't. Analizing music can take away some of the joy to listen to a piece with the heart.
    Agreed.


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  2. #27
    I'm not sure I'm a musician. Don't really play an instrument, just compose. Don't think I listen differently, though listening to music can give me ideas for my own music, which can also happen if I hear something I don't really like, but still think is interesting.

    Perhaps musicians often have a broader taste in music.

  3. #28
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    it's a myth, we all listen the same way.
    i'm not a musician but i can tell the difference.
    i don't read or write in music nor understand those numeric references
    to know how much effort was put into a recording.

  4. #29
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I'm no musician, or at least not much of one. A few years ago I started teaching myself guitar and it got derailed by breaking my ankle (seriously, you cannot play an acoustic guitar with your leg propped up) and then by tendinitis. Nonetheless, one day Star Wars was on TV and when I heard the Imperial Theme I thought, that'd be cool to play on guitar. Then something popped into my brain: it will start on D. Now I do not have perfect pitch and I had no idea where the hell that came from. So I look for a tab and see:

    e|------------------------------------------|
    B|------------------------------------------|
    G|----------------------7-7-7-7-8-----------|
    D|-5-5-5-5---8-5---8-5------------8-----8-5-|
    A|---------6-----6------------------9-6-----|
    E|------------------------------------------|

    So even the most rudimentary fucking around on guitar has at least changed the way I hear music and identify what I'm hearing.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  5. #30
    I read a study years ago about what happens when the brain hears music. I don't know if the conclusion is still valid (this was in the 80's), but It spoke to the fact that a person only finds a sound (or music) interesting, when they can relate something to it. When the Star Wars theme came out, it appeared to increase people's interest in classical music, because they found it easier to relate to the music. It also went into what an 18th century person would hear when they listen to Rock music, and the conclusion was - it would be nothing but noise to them. It also mentioned that with complex music, the mind doesn't actually hear everything at once, but jumps between individual parts or melodies very quickly. In essence, you cannot process multiple parts simultaneously. Your mind simply jumps between the parts rapidly, which the study concluded may contribute to the increased enjoyment of music that is complex. It creates new links within the brain, which contributes to a feeling of learning, or euphoria.

    When I was young, my parents hated the Beatles, but now they find it very enjoyable, because they have had nearly 4 decades to "learn" how its really just music, just not presented as they were used to. It literally was just "noise" to them, until they had time to dissect it and their brains can learn to jump between the various parts, and the sounds that they recognized. Ringo's drumming became real rhythm to their ears, but it took a while.

    The study also mentioned that infants, can only hear "one thing at a time" but as they "learn" to listen, they discern pitch, then melodies, then eventually, a person can comprehend more complex instrumentation, and hence the "enjoyment" factor increases. Why some people enjoy complex music (Yes) over simple music (KISS) is still left up to taste, but as I sit down to listen to the new Dream Theater album I just received, I will have my thinking cap on, I will picture in my head, what Mike Mangini is doing ont he drums, and What each player is playing, I will involuntarily jump between the different sounds I hear, and when a song comes up that my brain cannot decipher or discern the various parts, I will eventually hit the "next" button and have to wait for multiple listens to be capable of discerning and finding recognizable parts. Part of the pleasure of complex music, for me, is the learning my brain has to go through to keep up with what he musician is playing. I can see each part, tho I am no lead guitarist, I see what Petrucci is doing in my mind. I know what the pluck of a string feels like, and listening to the amazing speed and accuracy of what he does always makes me smile in appreciation for the hours, months and years he has put in to master those parts. It is all pure pleasure, pure joy. Same with keys, bass, Vox... I have at least tried to have some appreciation for all those instruments. I also play woodwinds, and for me, Sax is a challenge, because I imagine I can feel the reed up against my teeth, and the discomfort of that in my head, so sax bugs me just a little, and I have to back off and just appreciate what the sound is. My first response when I hear Sax or any reed instrument is one of irritation. But I can step back and shut that down. When I listen to blues, or three chord songs I have to "back off" my habit of listening. That is why simpler music written to a radio friendly shape tends to bore me - not immediately, but sometimes quickly. When I hear modern music, I think about what makes the sounds, and if it is generated, not by a human, but by a machine, I have a difficult time enjoying that kind of music. Because thinking software is not how I listen to music. Prog seems to be my perfect type of music, because it is so close to what I have perhaps involuntarily trained myself to enjoy. It is trained, we all do it and have done it since we were infants. I do believe you can force yourself to appreciate any type of music. You just have to be patient, and allow your brain to make those neural connections.

    I believe Knowing how to play an instrument definitely can increase your appreciation for more complex music.
    Last edited by Yodelgoat; 3 Days Ago at 12:23 PM.
    I got nothin'

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  6. #31
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Not necessarily. I know a few musicians who are clueless about things like meter. I have one friend who used to play drums, and I remember hanging out in a dressing room with another band, and she asked the drummer about time signatures. I mean, as in "What's the difference between 3/4 and 4/4".

    Gregg Allman once said that when he played Whipping Post for the rest of the band back in 1969 or whenever it was, Duane expressed amazement that it was in 11. Gregg said he didn't understand what Duane was talking about, so Duane had to count out the rhythm to demonstrate what he was talking about. Gregg said he had just thought of it as 3 bars of 3, with a bar of 2 to get back to the first chord.
    That would relate back to the age old question, "What's the difference between a guitar player and a guitarist?"
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  7. #32
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    I rather think those that become musicians often do so because they hear music differently, not the other way around. I imagine there are people who feel music on a deep level and those who don't. Of those that do, many become musicians because of their passion for music.

    Many years ago when I taught guitar a student wanted to learn an Aerosmith tune, and not being a fan of Aerosmith and assuming it'd be a simple piece of cake to learn a simplistic song, I was very surprised how hard I had to work to play the song properly and gained a new appreciation for their guitarist! So, evidently I hadn't listened to their music very deeply at all to have made such an ignorant assumption.

  8. #33
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    Many years ago when I taught guitar a student wanted to learn an Aerosmith tune, and not being a fan of Aerosmith and assuming it'd be a simple piece of cake to learn a simplistic song, I was very surprised how hard I had to work to play the song properly and gained a new appreciation for their guitarist! So, evidently I hadn't listened to their music very deeply at all to have made such an ignorant assumption.
    What's even more amazing is Joe Perry is left handed, but learned to play like everyone else.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  9. #34
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    Most musicians hear harmonic nuances that are beyond the grasp of most non-musicians.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneTull View Post
    Most musicians hear harmonic nuances that are beyond the grasp of most non-musicians.
    Do you have a source for this "statement"? Was there a research that came to this conclusion?
    I guess not, because the use of the words "beyond the grasp" sounds more like you're not taking "most" of the non-musicians seriously as listener.

  11. #36
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    A composer is absolutely a musician as is a conductor. In fact, they must be at the highest levels of musicianship. A person that plays a musical instrument is an instrumentalist.

    A critical listener that can understand and critique music is also a musician. Listeners can often be more knowledgeable musicians than instrumentalists. Instrumentalists can be lousy musicians.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year ó the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  12. #37
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    What's even more amazing is Joe Perry is left handed, but learned to play like everyone else.
    Except for Hunter and Wagner.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  13. #38
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    What's even more amazing is Joe Perry is left handed, but learned to play like everyone else.
    Like Fripp ?

  14. #39
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    Instrumentalists can be lousy musicians.
    I definitely proved that over my little musical career.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  15. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    A composer is absolutely a musician as is a conductor. In fact, they must be at the highest levels of musicianship. A person that plays a musical instrument is an instrumentalist.

    A critical listener that can understand and critique music is also a musician. Listeners can often be more knowledgeable musicians than instrumentalists. Instrumentalists can be lousy musicians.
    I'm a lousy instrumentalist, who thinks she can compose. I may be an imposter.

  16. #41
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    Except for Hunter and Wagner.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Like Fripp ?
    Like everyone else, as in those of us who are right-handed.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  17. #42
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    I'm a lousy instrumentalist, who thinks she can compose. I may be an imposter.
    ...only if you're a lousy composer - and I recall listening to some of your nice stuff you had posted a while back, so I don't think that's the case.

    One sign of a good musician is that they are often their own worst critic - case in point the dearly departed Mr. Holdsworth. Another example is me: I think I'm a shit guitar player, but actually I'm really fuckin' awesome. /s
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year ó the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

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