Some reminders before we dive in: There are three different kinds of comments you can make in these online discussions in order to get the most out of this experience. Refer to the assignment description you received in class (also available here). The most effective comments in this kind of forum are concise, clear, and supported.

This online discussion is open for comments September 24-30.


 

Listen:

Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

Billy has gone to sleep a senile widower and awakened on his wedding day. He has walked through a door in 1955 and come out another one in 1941. He has gone back through that door to find himself in 1963. He has seen his birth and death many times, he says, and pays random visits to all the events in between.

He says.

Billy is spastic in time, has no control over where he is going next, and the trips aren’t necessarily fun. He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next.

—Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughter-House Five (1972)

 

When are we now?

If I asked you when you are as you listen to this piece of music, you’d likely say (after looking at me quizzically) that, of course, you’re listening to it right now (approximately sometime in the third week of September 2018).

There’s the experience right now of listening to the music, but is that the only place you are? In class, we talked about how listening to a piece of music can remind you of past experiences: places you’ve been, people you’ve been with when you heorbitard that piece previously, or other pieces of music you’ve heard. Part of your brain is somewhere else—perhaps it’s more accurate to say that your brain is somewhen else. As you exist in the present, you’re also mentally in another time.

These additional sensations, memories, and times that a piece of music conjures up for you define your personal listening experience—the piece of music is a nucleus around which all these other ideas come into orbit. How varied, rich, deep, or extensive that orbit is for you is a big factor in how meaningful a piece of music seems to be.

Multiple simultaneous orbits

A piece of music needs three kinds of people in order to exist: a creator, an executor, and an auditor—in more common terms, a composer, a performer, and a listener (or in even more pop-friendly terms, a songwriter/producer, a singer, and an audience). Notice that I said three kinds of people, not three different people: they could all be the same person! You as an individual could come up with a musical idea right now (create), sing or hum or tap it (execute), with no one around to hear it but you (audit).
triangle

It’s also possible for the three people in this triangle to exist in different points in time: a piece of music might be created by a composer in 1725, played by a performer in 1985, and listened to by you in 2018—time travel! And each person involved, because they’re existing at different points in time, brings different ideas, different purposes, different intentions, and different concerns to the piece—they’re experiencing a completely different orbit or constellation set in motion by the piece of music.

Here’s the flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Flute Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034, III. Andante. The work was recorded in 1985 but composed ca. 1725:

 

The composer—Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)— might have been thinking about his contractual obligations and pleasing his employer, or an aspect of his compositional technique, or his devotion to God.

rampal
Jean-Pierre Rampal

The flutist in this recording, Jean-Pierre Rampal (1922-2000), had a different set of purposes: creating superlatively beautiful sound at all times, playing in a style that people wanted to hear in 1985, and continuing his ongoing project of recording every single piece of music written for the flute in an effort to raise the profile of the instrument (which had been largely ignored since the 19th century in favor of the piano and violin).

And neither of their concerns would be same as those, say, of a parent at their child’s recital playing this piece for the first time: “I can’t believe I’m paying all this money for lessons and Junior can barely hold his flute up,” or “Wow, I’ve got a great shot here for the video,” or “Ugh, classical music is boring but they say it’s good for my kid’s brain or something.”

As your knowledge of music and music history broadens over the course of this semester, you’ll be bringing a greater range of understanding, depth, and nuance to your listening experience—the orbit set in motion by a piece of music. Your listening experience will entail the sounds you hear, your personal or emotional reactions, as well as some time travel: to the time when the piece was written and to the time when the piece was performed. The more you know about the thoughts, life, concerns, or intentions of the composer (and the performer!) and his/her time period, the more layers in your understanding of the piece.

Historical performance practice

Not only do compositional styles change (e.g., Baroque to Classical), but so do performance styles. The way in which people produce musical sounds, behave on stage, or program concerts has changed significantly over time as tastes change, new ideas come to light, and the technology of music (instrument production, amplification, distribution media) evolve.

In the classical music world, it was common practice in the 20th century for a performer to use the same style for a Baroque piece (written ca. 1600-1750), a Romantic piece (from the 19th century), and a modern piece. But in the 1970s, classical musicians began to think more consciously about one particular aspect of this time travel: would it be possible to perform musical sounds in a manner closer to a composer’s intentions—to go back in time and come away with a more “authentic” performance style closer to that of the period when the music was written? Were there aspects of a musical experience that could be brought to life that an ahistorical style would gloss over?

The historical performance practice movement rests on research done by hundreds of musicians (musicologists and performer-scholars) and brought to life in performances: re-reading historical documents such as instructional treatises (such as those by Johann Joachim Quantz and Leopold Mozart), music criticism, and first-hand audience accounts; iconography (the study of images, which we’ve done in class!); and taking contemporary philosophy into account. The historical performance practice movement also tends to use period instruments or modern re-creations of period instruments. So, for a piece written in 1725, a flutist would play on a wooden, keyless instrument used that time, rather than the metal, multi-keyed flute developed in the mid-19th century.

flutes-comparison
A modern flute (top) and a modern replica of a keyless wooden Baroque flute (bottom)

 

kuijken
Barthold Kuijken

Here’s a recording of flutist Barthold Kuijken (b. 1949) performing the same Bach flute sonata and doing so on a period-appropriate instrument:

 

 

 

 

 

There are period keyboards, bows, horns, and vocal techniques, too, and playing on older instruments allows the musicians to time travel and immerse themselves in the techniques of the past, and the sounds they make create a more vivid historical experience for the listener.

 

 

 

At first, “serious” classical musicians scoffed at the early music movement, saying that only musicians who weren’t good enough to be successful were trying to play in a historically-informed manner. And then many started noticing how much more of the music came to life when played in a historically informed style. Now there are a significant number of professional ensembles (Anonymous 4The Hilliard Ensemble, New York PolyphonyPraetorius, The Tallis Scholars), concert series and festivals (GEMS, Amherst Early Music Festival), and degree programs in conservatories or music schools (Juilliard, Yale) devoted to historically informed music making.

Musicking

To bring this full circle, let’s return to the idea of where you go when you listen to a piece of music and why the listening experience is so important to the meaning of music.

Christopher Small (1927-2011) was a musicologist (a person who studies music and its role in society) whose work grew out of his discomfort with the way we typically talk about music: we talk in a way that suggests that music is an object, a thing that is already done (i.e., made by a musician), and we listeners just sit back and have no role in making it.

But wait!

Didn’t we just think about the idea that each of has a rich, varied listening experience, one set in motion by a musical experience but whose trajectory and scope is defined by us, the listener, and what we bring to the table?

To this end, Small coined a new term: “musicking.” Musicking is a progressive-tense verb (like running, evolving, becoming, doing) that implies a kind of ongoing action. In his mind, music isn’t a thing at all:

Musicking: To music is to take part, in any capacity, in a musical performance, whether by performing, by listening, by rehearsing or practicing, by providing material for performance (what is called composing), or by dancing. We might at times even extend its meaning to what the person is doing who takes the tickets at the door or the hefty men who shift the piano and the drums or the roadies who set up the instruments and carry out the sound checks or the cleaners who clean up after everyone else has gone. They, too, are all contributing to the nature of the event that is a musical performance… [To] pay attention in any way to a musical performance, including a recorded performance, even to Muzak in an elevator, is to music… [The] verb to music… covers all participation in a musical performance, whether it takes place actively or passively, whether we like the way it happens or whether we do not, whether we consider it interesting or boring, constructive or destructive, sympathetic or antipathetic… Value judgments come later, if they come at all. (Christopher Small, Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening, 1998; p. 9)

Part of the reason Small coined this term (coming up with a new word is called a neologism), is that thinking of music as a “thing” or an “object” doesn’t let us appreciate music as it’s being made, only as a thing which has been made. However, music is just a means to create an opportunity to do something and to do something with other people. In other words, musicking creates relationships between people:

The act of musicking establishes in the place where it is happening a set of relationships, and it is in those relationships that the meaning of the act lies. They are to be found not only between those organized sounds which are conventionally thought of as being the stuff of musical meaning but also between the people who are taking part, in whatever capacity, in the performance. (Ibid, p. 13)

Our job as listeners is to forge those relationships: to engage, whether physically, socially, or intellectually, with the sounds we hear, the people making them, and the people around us who are also listening/participating. So, Small says that music is an action, one in which we should all take part:

The fundamental nature and meaning of music lie not in objects, not in musical works at all, but in action, in what people do. It is only by understanding what people do as they take part in a musical act that we can hope to understand its nature and the function it fulfills in human life. Whatever that function may be, I am certain, first, that to take part in a music act is of central importance to our very humanness, as important as taking part in the act of speech… If that is so, then our present-day concert life, whether “classical” or “popular,” in which the “talented” few are empowered to produce music for the “untalented” majority, is based on a falsehood. It means that our powers of making music for ourselves have been hijacked and the majority of people robbed of the musicality that is theirs by right of birth, while a few stars, and their handlers, grow rich and famous through selling us what we have been led to believe we lack. (Ibid, pp. 8-9)

In light of Small’s argument, we, the listeners, have an important role to play when it comes to “making music.” He says that “musicking… is an activity in which all those present are involved and for whose nature and quality, success or failure, everyone present bears some responsibility” (Ibid, p. 10)

Time travel: the future!

There’s also a composer-performer-listener triangle that’s oriented towards the future: what will happen next in the world of music, and how do we shape that future? Here’s a 2010 New York Times article from the newspaper’s music critic Allan Kozinn dealing with this very issue: 2010.12.28 Kozinn – Searching New Music For Keepers

Final thoughts

I think of the listening experience simultaneously as something that is social—listening to sounds made or conceived by another person, often with other people, and contemplating other people’s perspectives or ideas—but also solitary—no one can ever have the same listening experience as you, because they won’t have your exact knowledge, share your past experiences, be in your body, or pay attention to the same things. Bridging the gap between the solitary and the social rests on our ability to articulate what it is that we think, experience, and why: sharing in words the richness of our listening experience with others.

-Dr. J.

125 thoughts on “Musicking

  1. I do feel like i’m “Time Traveling” when Im listening to old school music, like Aaliyah, TLC or Total. I feel like i’m in the 90’s lol! also, I like how one person can be 3 different things, as i was reading “Multiple simultaneous orbits” i always thought multiple people provided different things, by when it went in depth on how ONE person can bring 3 things i was kinda shocked.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes! A lot of musicians today exist as three different types of people in musicking. They come up with the idea of the song/beat, listen to it over and over again or perform it repeatedly to get a complete sense of what was created and then edit it with adding or omitting things to their creative abilities. I say this but i don’t mean like artists that have ghost writers because they only work on the performance aspect out of the three types.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. ebonemilton20 I can understand what you mean. when I listen to “New York, New York” by frank Sinatra I can feel like im in the past. Even listening to bands like Queen, or Earth,wind, and fire I can feel that im listen in the past and hearing them in the past, in a form of “time traveling”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The “Time Traveling” aspect of the article is very true. In fact, i experienced the exact thing when i listened to “Over my dead body” by Drake. This is why music is the best. It can help you in so many many ways such as bringing you back to old memories and times that you just want to relive over and over again.

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      1. Music is a complex art, where the inspirations, the transcribed feelings, the journeys that it procures are multiple. The complexity of this art can make you travel differently according to the sensitivity of the listener for the theme or the story told. the article on “time traveling” is true some music makes me travel or remind me of good or bad memories like the song of the Belgian singer Stromae “papaoutai” which reminds the death of father every time that i listen to it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Exactly! Just like the other online discussion, music can be a type of therapy. It also gives us a chance to think and communicate our ideas. Music can make us remember bitter sweet moments to ones where we wanna be stuck at forever.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. the complexity of music in general is what makes the art form so beautiful and delightful to our ears elisendiaye. listening to tracks like “Bohemian rhapsody” by Queen, which is a classic for a lot of people, you can sort of hear the past in the artist past. In some that are recorded in the past, you can hear how the past sounded and how the song was heard by people during the time it first came out. Listening to music can definelity have an impact, bring what we learned from the past article we read about how music affects our brain.

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      1. I agree! Sometimes music plucks the right chord (no pun intended) and it sets us back to a time that maybe wasn’t the best of times. In retrospect, it can also bring up some of our happiest memories.

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    1. Definitely, I agree, music is THE BEST. TIme travelling while not scientifically possible, through music I can go anywhere, anytime. And that is simply amazing.

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      1. I agree with this and the whole time traveling scenario . This is why I never get rid of old music from certain time periods whether good or bad. It just sets different moods for me 😩 and has sometimes literal control over my emotions !

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      2. I agree, years ago Whitney Houston did a remix of I will always Love you and it became a Number one hit now many people never heard the original version done by Dolly Parton

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I definitely agree with you I time travel all the time listening to music sometimes it takes me to a place I wish never existed and sometimes to place I want to always revisit and then to places I want to be

        Like

    2. I agree with your comment because so many songs out there just have that affect to take you to a specific moment in time and once its over you go back to that specific time you left off at. Its honestly one of the most amazing things about music.

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    3. Exactly. I had the best time ever at EDC NY and now every time I listen to EDM, it brings me back to all those warm memories and feelings. It’s so nostalgic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed Christopher Small’s take on music. Music has been such of an escape for me in my life for the good and bad. It think that we are always enjoying music and it should be referred to as musicking because it will never stop being enjoyed.

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    1. Music is ever evolving as we are. The same song you listened to or performed yesterday will give you something different every time depending on factors like your mood, daily perspective, emotions and new experiences that latch on to the music you’re creating or taking in.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Obviously people cant travel back in time, but the fact by listening to an old piece of music that individuals haven’t heard in a while can bring our mind back into the past is quite remarkable. The old memories, emotions and experiences just flashing in our mind is amazing. Bring back the past isn’t always a happy ending. The triangle with a composer and performer, I’ve always thought that the person who writes the song, is the performer. But is there people who create music and have another performer perform their music?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Allllllll the time. There are producers who write songs, make soundtracks and have contract artists to sing the song for the public. One great example is Sia. She does a lot of song writing and gives her songs to artists like Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and the list goes on and on.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I completely agree. Music can, for some people, be a trigger for a past experience or memory. It can bring us back to a certain time just by the intro to the song or certain lyrics. Its actually quite fascinating.

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  5. I like the idea of musicking being introduced as a verb because I have never heard this concept before. Often times, people feel that if they are not the ones composing or performing music, they have no contribution to make. However, people fail to realize that by taking part of an audience, they are also becoming part of the
    music. By doing so, they are able to contribute and interpret their own meaning of a piece, possibly in a way even the composer wasn’t thinking of. Christopher Small says, “Our job as listeners is to forge those relationships: to engage, whether physically, socially, or intellectually, with the sounds we hear, the people making them, and the people around us who are also listening/participating.” I agree with this statement because it explains how being an active listener contributes to the art of music, which is something everyone is able to participate in.

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    1. I feel the same way about the word musicking, I never knew it was such thing. And now that I know the word and know the definition I realized that I myself take part in musicking all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. fionaangelica that is the beauty of this article and this class. Music is so easy and simple to listen, but the beauty of music is that it can be complicated at the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. For starters Smalls thoughts on music it really changed my views in how to view music and those who make it. However, when it comes to time traveling in when listening to a certain song bringing you to an unforgettable time regardless if it’s a sad or happy moment. Or simply daydreaming about the future or our desires. It’s just super relatable, I also go back to the time me and my boyfriend had our first date sitting at Brooklyn bridge park, and him playing what’s now our song Romeo and Juliet by Trippie Redd. It just gets me deep in my feels and makes me think like wow who ever knew a year from now I’d still be with him. I agree 100% with @michaeljohnto when he said ” we are always enjoying music and it should be referred to as musicking because it will never stop being enjoyed.” which is true because again it gives this certain spark and feeling for any reason regardless if we can relate to it or not.

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  7. @sbilyk13 to answer your question yes, there are many people who write songs for others to perform or even if an artist has died someone will show their respects or remember him/her by performing their song. Personally I think we do that a lot without realizing in the shower or simply getting ready. We are singing and doing a show for ourselves or for a group people.
    But as Small talks about relationships when it comes to music I feel like it’s also an important thing when you’re making music only because they can help you grow and improve in a lot of ways. Example my boyfriend and his cousins both play a role in making music and others around them help them improve and suggest things to make what they do better. All this relationships are about support, in my opinion what is yours?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the passage in the beginning, Vonnegut describes this senile, lonely man, Billy. Billy explains how he can travel to any moment in time. We know he isn’t actually traveling in time but the power music has to bring us back to a specific moment in our lives can make it feel a lot like time travel. We all have memories, ones that make us happy and some that upset us when we remember it. Musicking can have that impact on us as well. Music can alter our moods and I appreciate the term musicking, I’ve never heard it before, I like that it includes anyone interacting with music.

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  9. The various terms Christopher Small coined were quite interesting to describe music and its concepts. The term Musicking is an interesting term which is taking any part in music performances. I thought the invention of this word was quite surprising because it considers the behind the scenes parts of music such as sound checks before performances and even cleaning up after the performance. Smalls redefines music and identifies that in this age, we consider music neologoism which nowadays we consider music an object. This is a very true fact and we don’t appreciate readily being able to listen to music today.

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  10. Music is a very interesting topic especially how its relates to time. Every time period has it’s own music and can alter your mood and change your mind as said in the text ” Music not only takes you somewhere but also somewhen.” Also music takes you through time not only mentally but physically you can see what type of instruments were being played back such as the Baroque flute and the different types of bows they used for stringed instruments.

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  11. I strongly agree with this article where that says “The more you know about the thoughts, life, concerns, or intentions of the composer (and the performer!) and his/her time period, the more layers in your understanding of the piece”. Before taking this class, I didn’t listen to the classical music mostly because it didn’t grab my attention. The only time I listened to the classical music is when I visit my dentist where they play classical music in the waiting room. After taking music class, I sometimes look for classical music on YouTube when I read the weekly reading assignments. I still don’t have much knowledge about the classical music but I hope, i end up liking the classical music after I am done with this semester.

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    1. @doo88 I’ve always enjoyed classical music because when you listen to it, you kind of make your own interpretations on the song itself. I don’t know much about many composers, artist or performers who do this music or the history but everyday we are exposed to it either in a cartoon, elevator, hotels or movies but we never look into it because no words catch our attention. Compared to songs in our time that give you the lyrics itself.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. After reading this article musicking it showed me the different parts of music they give me a bit more information and it shows me how music is something that’s very important today.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The most interesting part to me was when the reading defined the word musicking. The way it described as everyone has a part in the way music is done. From the performers to the people who clean and make the performance possible. No job is to small because we all rely on each other to make music possible. Also the way we all listen to the same song and see the same performance but interpret it differently. I wonder was that the message originally intented for music to give.

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    1. I totally agree with you about the definition of “musicking” its completely different from what I thought. i thought “musicking” was about composing or performing only.

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  13. I find the verb musiking to be something quite different from what I am used to. After reading the article and taking some notes, I have a much broader view on how I view music. The word neologism is also new for me. I also don’t think music is ever truly finished because it has such a large and ongoing involvement in our everyday lives. “The fundamental nature and meaning of music lie not in objects, not in musical works at all, but in action, in what people do”. This quote speaks so much to me, its how you play the piece, how you absorb the piece, how much it resonates with you that matters. I find the bit where Ibid mentions that our powers of making music have been robbed. I too feel that I am unable to compose anything without some form of training. Even though many people have done so without training. Though I must admit that this class and the continuing online-discussions have certainly changed my opinion on what I can and can’t do. And for that, I am truly appreciative.

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  14. Christopher Small’s term, Musicking, emphasized the importance of every small or large part in the music making process. I strongly agree with this, as one of my friends is an aspiring rapper and I personally get to see how every person plays a role in his musical career. Anyone from his music producers, to the studio manager, to even the people attending his shows can inspire and motivate him to better his craft and continue to making music. The concept of musicking shows how everyone plays a part in music, even though it may not be direct.

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  15. I’m kind of glad I read this article because it’s helping get a more broaden definition of what music is really and about and is teaching me a lot about different musicologist and there perspective on music period.

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  16. Music is a very interesting topic I think music in itself is healing, It’s an explosive expression of humanity it’s something we are all touched by no matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music. I Personally love music smetimes music is the best solution of all my problems.

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  17. I agree what “Time Travel” article said because music does brings back your memories and sometimes you just want to keep listening that song in order to remind urself that you had that great moment . after i read about multiple simultaneous orbits , i couldn’t imagine how one person could experiencing three different type of people at the same moment.

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    1. I agree that music can transport you to a different time period. Music is just a reflection of the time period or setting. If you can listen to a piece of music and understand the context of the content being performed then you can truly immerse yourself in that piece.

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  18. I love the term musicking ! It kind of makes me feel like I’m in the act of doing something. I also like the fact that according to the article musicking has many different roles. The fact that you could just be collecting tickets at the door and it would be considered musicking is actually very cool. When I thought about music I used to just think about the literal song and the artist. This article helped open up my mind even beyond that !

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    1. That’s so true I can actually agree with you on that because musicking is something different like totally different in my eyes it makes me Soon like the star.

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  19. Interesting article! While traveling and by listening music makes the memories. We remember things better and retain longer when we make meaning of the song. Music makes us recall that physical feeling, sound, image and that makes the memory more stronger . Music mnemonics provides a structure of information and incourages repetition. It’s easier things to momorize through music than words. Music uses jigals to make massage stick in to the brain . If somebody remember or not in early childhood hood we learn alphabets ABC in a musical way and that we remember easily and still when we are grown up. I think if we learn music with science we could learn more better and interestingly.

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  20. I have never heard of the verb musicking before. I am very glad I learn it now . Should somebody ask me to define it, that I would have said: “Musicking should be the art of doing music”. Obviously, it involves much more activities that people often neglect but yet those activities are super important.

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  21. An example given for how music travel over time was: “a piece of music might be created by a composer in 1725, played by a performer in 1985, and listened to by you in 2018”. Do you guys think we can make an analogy to how popular music artists remix 1990’s songs nowadays?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Music is a complex art, where the inspirations, the transcribed feelings, the journeys that it procures are multiple. The complexity of this art can make you travel differently according to the sensitivity of the listener for the theme or the story told. the article on “time traveling” is true some music makes me travel or remind me of good or bad memories like the song of the Belgian singer Stromae “papaoutai” which reminds the death of father every time that i listen to it.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. After reading many comments on “Time Traveling” through music, I am interested in knowing if you’re just able to visually remember a person place or thing? Or is a song so powerful that allows you to actually remember the date, weather, time, place, person & even smells around you?

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    1. Yeah music is that powerful that we remember our travelling experience or time spent with the people at that time. We connect our emotions or feelings to that music which helps us remember those moments.

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    2. Songs bring me back to past events all the time. If a song was played on a road trip with my friends for example, and i hear the song again on the train to school, it will bring me back to the last time i thoroughly enjoyed hearing it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can relate when I have listened to music my older sisters have played when I was little and if it was playing recently I would remember like I have listened to this with them and how I have enjoyed it.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. After reading the article and seeing the definitin for “Musicking”, I actually notice that listening to music plays a bigger role than anyone thinks about. I think we dont really pay attention to alot of small details at a concert as we would now knowing what musicking is. Also it’s very easy to say “I like this song” rather than especifically stating what about it you like other than lyrics. In music class I am able to learn how to break down a song into numerous aspects & actually enjoy its depth.

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    1. I agree with your statement and also sometimes we say we like a song but you only understand the musics lyrics when you actually are going through the same emotions circumstances. You never understand the depth of the lyrics until you go through the same situation in life.

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  25. I agree with this article, but I think the music has more functions such as listening to a music where there is no voice only instruments being played creating a melody, sometimes these melodies are so quiet that they can help us to relax. It is true that if we listen to music as for example the one in this article, we can ask who created it? when was it made? It is an interesting way to go back in time.

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    1. I agree with your statement that when we hear music we ask who created it because it shows what the composer was going through in life at the moment because most music is related to people’s personal life experiences and struggles or happiness.

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  26. Yes! We definitely go back in time when we perform pieces (especially really older ones) when we use the cues that the original composer annotated. I know from personal experience in choir that we would make sure we captured and delivered the essence of what the composition entailed. We would use the same tempos and dynamics. Also, we would have to use certain vibratos that helped us sound more “classical”— so to speak. Opera brings me back to the classical music era for sure. From the types of early instruments used to the sound quality of the performers, it would take the audience to the time the works were created.

    As for Small and his argument that music is not just a noun, but more of a verb; it’s really true. I always felt a part of the music being in the audience because I always feel that a performance is not merely for the performer, it’s for the audience—for us. Music is such a second nature in human development that it’s not a surprise that the activity of simply listening to music is part of musicking. A composer can come up with reasons why she or he wrote a certain piece and the audience can come up with other reasons aside from the composer that gives the music meaning—purpose. I think today, that’s the goal when composing. Music is created to provoke us, to make us react and to make us feel something. I also think that’s when the composer then knows what she or he has really created. Same goes with other art forms, you may have thought a piece was created because of one thing but the next person may think otherwise and that’s the beauty of art; that we all incorporate our own interpretation. It’s amazing how art and how we perceive is forever evolving. There is no end point to where we think of the abstract as time moves forward.

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  27. I also agree with the “time travel” aspect of the music. When I listen to artists like the Bee Gees or The Beatles it seems like i can almost feel the environment that spawned this kind of music. I can see the kind of people who listened to it when it was created. This music also makes me appreciate the musical potential we have today with modern artists and the new perspective that is added every time a musical generation passes.

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  28. Question: What makes you listen to music like what is going on in you guys mind before listening to music? Is just the reason is that it makes you feel good?

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    1. The memories that the songs reminds me of and makes me just contemplate on how things could have been. Music to me is like a key that unlocks my memories.

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  29. I really enjoy the comparison with music being a form of “Time Traveling” so to speak as listed above. In a particular way music has the potential in creating an appeal where if we liked the song in the past and listen in the present we are filled with the emotions we had when first listening to it. Sometimes I can picture where I was when I listened to a specific song or what was going on around me. Its like there’s a neural connection that instantaneously brings vivid memories that bring good and bad feelings. That’s what’s great about music. You get the feelings yet you don’t know how they’re caused but you love it anyways.

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    1. I like how you mention that music creates an appeal where we liked a song in the past and then when we listen to it in the present those same emotions from the past come back to us!!!

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  30. After reading this article musicking it showed me the different parts of music they give me a bit more information and it shows me how music is something that’s very important today.

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  31. I honestly love the concept of ‘time traveling’ when listening to music. As stated in the writing, the piece of music might have been created in 1920, composed on 1985, but is listened by me in 2018. The emotions that music can bring as we listen to it does impact our musical experiences. How cool is it to still keep the bitter sweet part of music listening as an essential part of our lives. Another great example of time traveling in music is that of Tupac. His music was created before some of us were even born, yet his music is still listened by many today and still has the same, if not more, impact on people.
    Musicking is also a great aspect of music to our ears. We take part in musicking when we dance, when we perform a piece of music, etc. I think it’s great to know that we do not have to be experienced in music to take part in musicking.

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    1. I feel like a lot of music now is similar to pieces of music in the past. sometimes the beats are similar and sometimes artist recycle lyrics from old music and put their own little twist within it. Sometimes the similarities between old school music and music in the present is the concept of the lyrics sometimes the lyrics have he same type of music.

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  32. Music lies not in musical works but in taking part in performance it is a social action. The meaning of musicking is a relationships between the participants by the performer the process of giving and receiving information about everyday relationships which may be very similar in our everyday lives which is not only learn about, but experience not just of understanding the gestures but of making it our own.
    The interesting thing for me is that when music is performed it is a one-way communication from composer who takes the performer style into consideration and the performer then has to consider the audiences
    Music is like a time machine it makes you travel back in time and to the future. Sometimes you are listening to music and it takes you back to a place in time where you might be sad or happy it all depends on the music, there are also times that some music takes you to place in time where you say to yourself this is where I want to be in the future and gives us inspiration and motivation to accomplish future goals.
    Reading this article musicking give me a bit more understanding of music and the role it plays in our everyday lives

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  33. I absolutely agree and can relate with the fact that people can ‘time-travel’ with music. Music, for me, can take me back years if the right song is played. It is a trigger for me so I naturally connect a song I am listening too to the last time I heard it.

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  34. This reading helped me to think deeper about music and the different parts of the musicking experience. According to the reading, music is so much more than just an object as people often lable it. It’s a whole experience and involves every part of the music from composing to performing to listening. Listening to or playing music is also more than just an experience in the present moment, as music enables us to recollect past experiences and to mentally situate ourselves in those moments. The experience is never the same for two persons as we all feel different ideas, emotions and concerns for a piece of music.

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  35. In relation to my last comment, I agree with the reading because I personally recollect my past experiences with playing steel pan whenever I hear the sound of steel. When reading about the different scales and notes, I immediately recall learning the different notes and scales during steel pan lessons as a teenager. When I listen to certain songs, I associate it with certain past events in my life. Music could never be just mere sounds or an object because every note or lyric has a meaning attached to it and has varying effects on individuals. It may also be interpreted based on life experiences and history of the individual. It is also very diversed in the sense that one piece can be played, performed or listened to in so many ways.

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  36. With that being said, can one contend that Christopher Small has achieved his goals in getting people to think about music as more than just a ‘thing’ and more like an experience?
    Also, how does one’s music culture and past life experiences affect their musicking experience?

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  37. I agree that people can “time travel” through music. When I hear classical music, my mind automatically travels back to my middle school and high school band days when I would jam out in a full band with my French Horn.

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    1. By music we remember our past our traveling emotions happiness and sadness i totally agree with that. I wanted to share my chlidhood story when I was little at that time one thing came to my mind again and again why do I always remember song lyrics but not what is in my books? I always thought why not we make songs from that book either it was English science books and then listen to them so that we can more effectively remember what’s in our book and get good grades so here I have a question why does this happens that we learn music more effectively than our science and other books?

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  38. “Time travel” with the help of music is an out of body experience for me. For me to be able to actually remember in perfect detail the setting and situation I was in just by hearing a certain song or sound is mind boggling. This is very connected to one of the earlier articles I’ve read the “Music and the Brain” due to the brain being triggered to remember the past form a song or sound.

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  39. Do you think that certain music can help the mind to progress farther than other types of music and why? Is it more influential during earlier brain development or when the brain is already at its peek of development?

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  40. That’s one thing about music, it can either bring back good and or sad memories. Music is such a broad topic, very interesting as well. I myself feel like music is the best, brings your mood up. Best part about music is if you listen to another language you really don’t have to understand what its saying, just the beat itself can cheer you up. So many songs do bring you back to good or bad memories.

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  41. I feel like music does make me think of memories . Music certainly changes a lot throughout time . I can feel the deep vibes in music a lot of times especially if its sad song and it really sets my mood for the moment . If its a really good song then ill surely remember all of the lyrics of the song . Music speaks to me on very different levels and I make sure I listen to a lot of music each day .

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  42. “Time Traveling” is a good title for this article. I agree music brings back people’s happy, say, unforgettable moments in their lives. Every time when I face challenges in my life, and I usually listen Miley Cryrus’s song The Climb. Because this song brings back the difficult memory but it was a good lesson in my life. Four years ago, I moved from Lilburn, Georgia to New York City; that was a bigger challenge for me. I didn’t have a friend or family members lived in here. I rented a room, handled any situations by myself. Every night my parents called me, and I told them I was okay, but I was not okay. I told myself do not fear the door behind the challenges. Everything will be okay! The song The Climb’s lyrics still on my mind today, “Every move I make feels lost, with no direction. I gotta keep trying, Gotta keep my head held high. There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna wanna make it move.” That was my unforgettable experiments.

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  43. When I listened to the Mozart piece it felt like I was going back to the late 1700s even though it is physically impossible to go back in time. I also feel that way when I listened to 90s R&B.

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  44. This article helps me understand a bigger concept of music. Music defiantly brings back good and bad memories when you listen to it, it depends what type of music you listen to and how one interprets the music. For example when I listen to soca I get in a very excited mood and it brings me back to labor day weekend but when I listen to an artist like Demi Lovato it tends to bring back some bad memories. I believe the term “time travel” is a perfect way to describe how music can take you back to a specific place in the past just by a couple of lyrics.

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  45. Music most certainly brings me to different points in my life. I think that’s why it has such a great affect on me because it allows me to time travel. It allows me to be a kid again, to be in middle school, or to relive my last day of high school. I believe that’s why music brings such great emotion because it is taking you to a point in your life good or bad, that only you remember.

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  46. The piece describing the traditional materials used for instruments in the past (the wooden keyless flute from 1725) raises the question of its modern equivalent. Perhaps in the future, newer generations will look back on the musical software from today (dubstep) and trace back the steps necessary for their evolution.

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  47. Music brings people together and expresses what their thought of music makes them feel at that particular moment. In the comments above many of you expressed that music makes you go back in time and makes you think about memories. Which is something I could relate to as well. Listening, performing and making music has all the components a musician needs, the feel for music, why they are creating the piece and how it makes them feel too. A performer not only brings people together but it also sends a message to their listeners, whether its positive or negative. Everyone has a different reaction to certain songs and music that’s being played and that’s what makes music so special.

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  48. I do also agreee with “Musicking” as this topic, cause comparing the artist and composer relationship in many situations. The composers write based on artists life, sometimes what their going through, or an specific idea. So it’s takes that three point relationship for a proper song. For these creators many times objectives are to make the song remeberable and bring you back to that time. Cause I have had certain times where I would be listening to a song and it brings me to a mood, think about moment weather it be happy or sad. My opinion is that our brain hears that song and cause we like it it’s beings comfort or if we don’t like it, we remember we don’t like it (Wouldn’t remember it as much). Then our brains also remembers other things that help us associate with stuff we like. Example, A particular song I remember cause of stuff I was going through, in the time of listening and it first came out.

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    1. thats a good question !!!! I wonder if artist get upset about it too lol. I would like to believe that even if an artist did want their song to be conveyed a certain way, its still up to the audience in how they interpret what they hear.

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      1. You took the words right out of my mouth. I would like to add that I believe that artists don’t usually get upset when their music doesn’t get received in the way they intended because not everyone will get it. I would assume that they would get upset about their music being performed in a serious manner in a different way than they intended.

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  49. When I saw that the article said that your brain goes back in time when you listen to an old song, I completely agree with that when I listen to any old song like My Girl by Temptations I feel like I’m in the 1900s listening to them. Also in the reading, I was surprised to learn that a composer, listener, and performer can exist in different time period.

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  50. I definitely can agree with the time travel thing. I was born in 1998 and when I heard songs from current artist I think they invented that sound or those lyrics or those beats, until I get around my older family members and realize that what I’m listening to derived// birthed from music they listen to. Like when Lil Wayne says ” my B**** choosey never let him F without a rubber, sweet yellow bone thing I call her honey Mustard” that comes from Int’l Players Anthem from UGK and Lil Wayne just took it and put a spin on it… or when Drake sampled Lauryn’s Hill Ex Factor for Nice for What which was actually a sample from The Way We Were by Gladys Knight.

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  51. Another thing I found interesting was that Small created this idea of musicking. I found this interesting because I feel like I’m always caught up in behind the scenes of music making. I always find myself on youtube watching videos of how producers make the beats to my favorite songs. Does anyone else do that or even those genius videos where they have the artist sing the song and then describe how they came up with the lyrics, where they were when they made the music, and what the lyrics mean ?
    ‘ Another thing I wanted to mention is there is a part of the reading that says something about where you are and who you’re with can have an affect on how you feel about a song and I feel like that is so true. My favorite artist is Drake, my fave album of his is Nothing Was The Same and I remember when that album dropped, who was in my life, what my life was like, etc, which also speaks to the fact of why its my fave

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  52. I found there to be two great points: That the three kinds of people that music needs to exist can be within one person, and that the listening experience is also solitary and that no one can ever have the same listening experience that I have. The first point was like a revelation to me. That I can be a composer, performer, AND listener. Amazing!!! The second point was one I can relate to a lot and still ‘til this day struggle with. I struggle with the idea that people won’t experience the same feelings that I experience when I listen to my favorite violin concerto, alternative song, or that album “1999” by Joey Badass. The songs that bring me to my ultimate peace. I want to share that experience completely, anything else wouldn’t cut it.

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  53. The “Time Traveling” of music really makes an impact to my life. For me, music gives me motivation along with inspiration. I Think differently when I am listening to certain types of music. A few songs in particular would always make me feel like I can do anything and that there is nothing in my way that is going to stop me. It would take me back to the times that I was lost and couldn’t find myself, and it would give me a sense of reassurance that everything will be okay.

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  54. The term musicking makes me think of so many things like multitasking with music. Its a fun word. After reading this article I listened to a song I havent heard and so long just to visualize and to see if i noticed what the song was making me thing about and feel, but all I could do is listen and remember what I was doing the first time I heard it.

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  55. I like the idea of the “time traveling” aspect, because when i listen to music that i relate to, I think back on the past memories i had, the good and the bad.

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  56. Time traveling by using music is really amazing, playing a piece or any song can bring back memories or takes us into the future that we want. ( since we are the ones creating it in our heads). one example is when reading the online discussion and playing the music that was posted, took me back to when i was a child watching my favorite TV show Tom and Jerry. just this song alone is similar to some of the songs that was played in the show which also gave me a reaction of happiness and joy. when finishing the article i started to listen to music any kind that i could listen ( since i set my phone to play random music: shuffle) i started to pay attention on my inner thoughts that would show up when listening to music. and to shed some more light into my opinion, reading other people’s comments i can see that other people have a type of memory that comes to them when listening to an artist or to a song.

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  57. I agree with the statement that everyone experiences music in a different way based on their past. For example lets take the song “The Motto” by Drake. This song has always shown up in different points in my life that I deem memorable so I consider that song as a good song. On the other hand someone else who didn’t experience anything of real relevance to their life but listened to this song wouldn’t feel the same way that I feel.

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  58. Even though i agree with having time appropriate instruments makes music of the time show itself more vividly, i think that it would be interesting to see a more futuristic take on older music and see how people would react to it.

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  59. When I listen to music from previous years, I can say it brings back good and bad memories. As when I listen to music from the 90s from great singers like Cyndi Lauper or even Madonna it makes me think of the way people dressed and danced. Music is a way people from before expressed themselves as we do so today. Many music that is composed today interprets some beats from the past and those are the elements that bring us memories from our childhood. It is also the way or children or grandchildren will see our music in the future feel like “time traveling.”

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  60. There are certain musical pieces I still cannot listen to or particularly listen to due to the fact that they make me travel back in time, good or bad. I have always thought of this phenomenon of time traveling through music but not in the aspect of recreating like described in this article. This not only happens with the sense of hearing, but often also with the sense of smell. I supposed that is because the area of our brain associated with smell and hearing are very close to the area that keeps memories.

    I found the thought about everyone being a musician very true. Music is art, after all, and all of us are gifted with perspective which helps interpret things differently. That is extremely important in making or appreciating art, in musicking. I think this statement can also be applied in writing poetry or painting. We all are gifted with the potential; some of us tap into it and most of us don’t.

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  61. I agree with all of you guys, because we all have a song that remain us to old memories, some of them are happy moments other sad, I always preferred to listened new songs, because sometimes I don’t like to go back time, I think that songs sometimes makes you a better and different person, what do you guys think?. Also I agree with the writer when he said that we can be a composer, a performer and a listener at the same time. for example sometimes we do noises and those noises change to sounds that have rhythm, and we realize that we are making music.

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  62. On a personal level I feel that I have a special connection with with music from my culture and rap music because they remind me of where I come from and of what we go threw in life like death. Do you feel that you have a special connection with some types of music? Which types?

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  63. I thought it was extremely interesting how they started a piece in one time period and finished in other. Also the fact that the composer (Johann Sebastian) had a totally different concept for the music than the flute (Jean-Peierre Rampal) who wanted multiple things to be achieved thought the piece. Do you guys think this is common today? If so what are some of the circumstances? Do you have to be dead for this to happen?
    An example of this is Lil Wanye making a song with the late rapper XxxTentacion called “Don’t Cry” by using some of his unfinished audio recordings.

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  64. I like the fact that this article talks about how music can take you to a certain place. As many young individuals say, music can put you in your feelings or in your bag. Meaning music, can transport you to a different state based off of the type of music you listen to. When I listen to R&b I am usually in a state of reminiscing off of past relationships or another sensual feeling.

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  65. I’ve always felt this way of “time traveling” I feel like different type of music helps you imagine the location of the music you’re listening to as well and definitely with feeling it can take you back to memories and feeling you once had and replay them.

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  66. I feel like artists, composers and performers all have been critiqued through their music. I think some perform it to their sense of style and some perform it for what they’re audience wants to hear. Could anyone agree?

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  67. I really like the idea of the verb musicking, I wouldn’t find it in the dictionary, musicking is not an action for one kind of people but three(composer, performer, and listener). obviously, people really think that listening to a music, is a very important process. listening to a music is a relationship between people, through this process you will know people alike and different.

    By Duo Lin

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  68. I found the ” time travel” aspect of the article very interesting. Whenever I listen to a song that I used to listen too, it brings back memories from the time I listened too it. I also agree that everybody has their own, solitary experience when they listen too music. Everybody is different and everybody has their own experiences in life, so they have their own thoughts when it comes to certain songs.

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  69. I agree with Christopher Small’s article. Theory of musicking which is a unique style, adding a priceless value outlining variables in music. Moreover the author has definitely educated the world by passionately amplification of this beautiful and new word Musicking

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  70. I feel like “Time Traveling” really is true. It brought us back to when the composer was making this certain piece and shows us what the composer was going through the process of making the piece

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  71. I strongly agree with Kivanna24 also because I’ve been in many situations where I would listen to the first 15 seconds of a song and it would paint a entire picture of a really old memory and this frequently happens to me also.

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