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Good diary. however to miss the point entirely I must point out that I used to know a hi-fi freak and he once invited me around to listen to his (extremely expensive) sound system. Despite myself I was impressed with the quality of the sound, it had a presence I've not experienced even on my own rather expensive system (c £3,000).

but my major argument was that, in order to exercise and appreciate the system, he invariably chose to buy heavily over-produced mor soft rock that, imo, might as well have been played in elevators. I mean seriously, if you don't like music, why bother ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 08:50:18 AM EST
Which implies that martingale:
The only true way to listen to music is as Beethoven intended: read the score and imagine it!
 is not as absurd as it seems.  It is what the music evokes in you that is important...

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 09:45:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Beetoven was deaf when he composed the 9th, so clearly to him it was always imagined :-)

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 09:47:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no need for the :-)  - it was a serious point - clearly Beethoven would have wanted to be able to hear his work performed - if only to criticise his interpretors - but actually being able to hear it in all its hifi glory was not a pre-condition for him to be able to write it, and neither should it be a precondition for us to be able to appreciate it.  The limiting factor is us, not the equipment.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 10:25:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Taking this seriously is a bit odd. You can only imagine sound when you have once heard it. Beethoven, by having been actively engaged in making music for much of his life, could probably play the score in his head the same way (but more elaborately than) you and I hear an irritating tune that unwantedly gets stuck in our heads.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 04:40:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you study music properly learning to 'hear' what you're reading is part of the process. Some people get very good at it. I can follow a score, but I haven't had enough practice to do the sonic equivalent of visualising it completely.

It's a little different for composers because music of that period was constructed according to fairly rigid rules, and as long as a composer followed the rules something listenable would fall out.

Scores were more written rather than heard, if only because most people couldn't afford to keep a symphony orchestra or string quarter in the house. Usually a composer would try out lines or chord sequences on a piano or some other instrument to sketch out an outline, but the orchestration, elaboration and arrangement were all done on paper.

Doing everything mentally was a step, but for someone with thirty years of experience it wasn't as huge a step as it might seem.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 05:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but it's interpretation dear boy. you cna listne to a whole raft of recordings of any piece of scored music and they should all be different. Some to quite marked extents.

One recorded with instruments made to the same limitations as that of the era of the composer and recorded in a concert setting will be profoundly different from one with modern instrumentation in a controlled sound studio.

In rock, the studio and live environments are chalk and cheese, not least because of the visceral quality introduced by volume and social setting in the live environment.

It's the same music on paper, but the experience is another thing.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 10:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes but it is your ability and imagination to be able to experience it that is ultimately important - in the same way as an abstract painting or a poem can tell you more about yourself than about the creator.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 10:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand, I am an amateur musician (have been paid for participation in a marching band--which formally means I'm a professional!) and listen almost exclusively to classical music, but have for a sound system only an old Advent 300 receiver with one channel blown out, one Yamaha reference monitor, and an iPod adapter... Obviously I am making the best effort possible to keep the marketing of hi-fi equipment out of my life...  :-)

by asdf on Tue Jan 13th, 2009 at 09:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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