Musical listening and the fine art of engagement

British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (4):401-415 (2007)
When we listen to music, what do we listen to and for? How do we listen? How well do we listen and how do we listen well? This paper suggests that ‘modes of engagement’ are the active, operational means by which listeners experience music and that listening experiences more often than not involve multiple interacting modes rather than a fixed mode throughout. Modes of engagement may be voluntarily employed or involuntarily adopted; they may be technical or descriptive; they may involve explicitly musical details and relationships, or they may seem more peripheral to the music. In the end, though, successive, simultaneous, and interacting modes of engagement are said to define unique and meaningful trajectories through music as heard.
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/aym023
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