This online discussion is open for comments March 25-31. An overview of these assignments and how you’ll be graded is available here.

The approximate reading time of this post is 9 minutes, not counting any audio media.


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 final week of March 2019).

There’s the experience right now of listening to the music, but is that the only place you are? 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.

63 thoughts on “Musicking (Online discussion Mar 25-31)

  1. After hearing Serenade No. 13 in the audio file above, my initial thought was “Oh, I know this song.” It was followed up by a memory of a video game I used to play roughly twelve or thirteen years ago. It was one of my favorite games, and served as a kind of gateway to my present-day interest in classical music. After all, I still remember it. Music is phenomenal in the way that it can function as a conduit for memories surprisingly effectively. Many Alzheimers patients are exposed to music to help cue lost memories and jog their brain. (This is possible because the disease tends to leave the areas of the brain involving music memory unscathed. )

    It’s no mystery why music that was released even hundreds of years ago flourish in today’s world. This article emphasizes different purposes music serves that are overlooked and usually fall through the cracks. “Musicking” is a new concept for me, but I’ve been doing it for years.

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    1. Totally you share a lot of great stuff. I love how you claimed that music can remind you of a memory that you once had as I feel the same way about that as well with how I listen to music. Loved how you mentioned about an old video game that you used to play when you were younger makes you wonder how great your childhood was in your life. When I listen to music it does relax me and it can also take me back to special memories. I mostly feel that classical music is the only kind of music that can help you relax and not think about anything else in my opinion.

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    2. Yeah while listening to these pieces i was thinking about last class . Some one says this piece reminds me of tom and jerry during analyzing a piece. And i was thinking about disney films i saw when i was a kid.

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      1. Yes I also thought the same thing. In Tom and jerry and in many Disney movies they use a lot of pieces as background music. I would of never known when I was little I would of been listening to famous pieces.

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      2. Totally agree, it happened to me too I just went back to the Disney movies and the black and white movies.

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    3. You make a good point Christine. Music is a good conduit for memory recollection since we tie ourselves to songs that have meaning in our lives. It can remind us of a special event such as a birth day, graduation, wedding or first kiss because it is a song or music that was playing in the background during that moment or it is a song that speaks about such a moment. What did you think about the period instruments and their effect in the time factor of music?

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      1. Exactly, music can bring us a lot of memories even when we get old. This remained me to a movie called Coco, and the grandmother was very old and she couldn’t remember her dad but when she listened to a song that her dad sing for her memories just click and come back and she started remembering her dad.

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  2. The use of the instruments and the flow of this melody was as if somebody was going on a ship to sail away from the sea or the shore. This gave me the image that somebody was reflecting on something everything that happened in their lives with what they should have done, could have done, or would have done differently at that time within their ability. The melody sounds as if it is not joyous or depressed, but content right in the middle. Those things that are old in music will always stay throughout time, which I relate to a door that is really old and makes that squeak noise. There was things that were created in the past around the 1500’s but that still have that importance today with that sound of da da, because this was performed during that time period and people adopted this idea for their music.

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  3. I like the idea that you are stating that one thing connected to the other that this piece of music related to something that would be played on a Nintendo device. Music has such a rich history, that you can only look back at it’s roots. The outlet can also be used for the people that are not dealing with outside problems externally, but inside problems. You related this to science and people need that music that can calm them down, not too much rock and roll where they feel as if they will be in a shock. The person is calm because they only have that focus on music, and nothing else which it should be.

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    1. Yep, that is another thing. Softer, more tranquil music can help better relax people opposed to rock and roll. In one of my reflections, I wrote about the new trend expecting mothers are using where headphones are applied to the belly so the fetus can listen to Classical music. Overall, Classical music can have positive health benefits, recalling back to one of our discussions about that.

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    2. Especially with the Nintendo device that you mentioned I find it very interesting that classical music was unintentionally the soundtrack of many of our childhoods.

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  4. So far what i know about musicking is it’s a term means different people making , performing , and listening to a piece. They may be from same time period or from different. Like some composed a piece of music in 1500’s and some one performed and recorded in 1900’s and someone listening to it in present. It’s is possible that all these people are same or different.

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  5. The thing that I have read on musicking is that it means people who take part in stuff like capacity, in a musical performance , either by you performing ,listening , rehearsing or practicing , as you receive material for a performance in music. I find a lot of this to be true for the most part gives me an idea on how it functions musicking. Its more like your listening to a piece of music that doesn’t sound the same in todays society as it was in the older generation. People in music today use much more advance materials. In the old generation of music there was none of that.

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    1. yes the music triangle is a great illustration of the “musicking” term because it defines the three kinds of people and the fact that they can exist in different times or be the same person. You also make a good point about the advancements in musical instruments and how they shaped music throughout time.

      What do you think about the time factor of music in terms of the composer/song writer, performer, listeners and the instruments themselves?

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    2. great point mentioning the technologies that we have today that makes a huge difference from the past. we also read about the instruments as well and how the change of the materiels makes the sounds really different from the baroque or the classical period.

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  6. After reading this piece about musicking, I am now more aware of the depth, complexity and dynamics of music. Although, being someone that is so passionate about music and an avid singer, I did always see music as being not a thing but more like an entity that affects us all differently. I always gave the example of, “how do I know that the taste of vanilla ice cream for me is the same as another person’s taste of it?”. The same with colors. We taste and see through our brains and the same goes for hearing and touching. Therefore, when I listen to a song I know that it affects me slightly or drastically different than someone else. Indeed, I’ve always felt that music is not a thing because every time that same music piece or song is played or performed, it is actually being re-created at that given time. The listeners also form part of that “recreation” and, even though they may be seated next to each other, they will experience it in their own way.

    What this reading did in fact open my eyes to, is to the fact that music has a time factor in it. When I listen to a piece by Mozart or Beethoven, I just really thought about that the musician just has to be very talented and if he/she just follows the notes, the music piece will be recreated identically. However, now I see and appreciate the time factor of it. What the musician/composer was thinking at the time when he/she would be playing and who the audience would be and even the political climate at the time. More importantly, something that I am so surprised that I never gave thought to was the actual instruments. I actually feel a little bit ignorant because when I envision Mozart playing a piece, I imagined him playing on a modern looking Steinway grand piano when in actuality it was not as advanced or made of the same material. Perhaps a better example is that of the flute. In reading above about the flutist Barthold Kuijken playing on a period instrument and listening to the audio clip, I felt the music was more authentic. I don’t know how much of that is suggestive thinking but I listened to another video clip of a flutist playing on a modern instrument and then again listening to a period flute and I really did notice a more authentic recreation of the classical music piece. This was a real eye opener.

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    1. @ingridluna65 –
      From your first part of your viewpoint of musicking, I found it interesting that you used your five senses to describe your passion towards music and used outside examples like vanilla ice cream to engage with music. It seems like music has an important meaning to you. Also, as listeners I can relate to what you mean by “experiencing music in our own way” because like what we learned from reading this online discussion, we have different listening experiences and we share different perspectives of how music connects to us internally through our past.
      On the other hand, in your second part of your viewpoint, you mentioned listening to the difference between the modern flute and the classical version of the flute made a tremendous difference in sound and you are right, it did grab my attention. We have learned that the flute was not acknowledged and treated like it had no value/meaning like second class behind the piano and violin during the nineteenth century. I believed it was a shame that the flute was disrespected and was not given a chance to prove it had full potential to succeed in musical performances.

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  7. I love how listening to certain sounds or songs makes me feel nostalgic or sparks my imagination. Listening to the music clip at the beginning of the reading reminded me of the few times we listened to the clip in class and also reminded me of so many commercials ( For example: a huggies diaper commercial). Anyways, what I learned from musicking is that everyone who takes a part in music correspond with each other. Therefore anyone who is involved in music, whether it’s listening to the song or composing the song effects the song itself.

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    1. i truly agree on the nostalgic feeling when you hear certain sounds and songs , it’s like your brain tunes back a memory you thought was gone. I also agree that musicking is a corresponding thing that people all contribute to one way or another

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    2. That is a very nice comment. i like the fact that you mentioned that one person weather part of the composing team or listening team affect the song itself. But how exactly do you think they can make such effect after the piece already made.

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    3. That is so true. I think great music is not only imaginative but interactive. Whenever I hear music that really speaks to me, I enjoy feeling involved and almost like I need to work to understand the composer’s message. The experience becomes worthwhile and so much more fun.

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    4. It’s great how some sound can be so nostalgic to a person that it would spark day dreaming or memories. Than wouldn’t you think how catchy a song is to also make it memorable to you or other right?

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  8. This article really helped me get in tune of the idea that music is not just basic or ordinary but in fact has many factors and complexities that most of us would never think of , even events such a a musical, opera , symphony all have people that play a part in creating it and have people that play a part in interpreting it .

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    1. @gegelerime1 – I understand your point you are trying to make that music is not just a thing that you listen to and observe, but it is a “living object”, according to our online discussion that lets us play a role in music, such as the triangle structure of being a composer, performer, listener or all the above. However, how does these three roles people play in to create and interpret music applies to musicals, operas and symphonies? Please provide an example or two.

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  9. This discussion has a lot of interesting statements, arguments about musicking and the way people listen to music. i personally believe that every time we listen to a piece of music, it becomes somehow a conversation between you and the composer. at some point during the listening experience, you will be told or thought something trough the piece and you will systematically make some comments about. It might be surprising, uplifting, amazing, or it might though you a lot of things about the time and the composer or the actual performer of the piece. weather or not you think that the piece was a waste time and that you will never listen to it again or one of the best piece ever written, you therefore interact to it which is as well Musicking.

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    1. @sebastien509 I love how you put musicking as a conversation or connection between the listener and the composer and I agree to it. I also feel like the composer is trying to share a story to the listeners and creates a bond. Even tho it may be composed like long time ago and even if we have different perception about music, we could still have the same gist of what the composer is trying to tell. I also have the same understanding of musicking like yours. You have our own different ways of musicking, as long as music is involved you are musicking.

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  10. It all makes a lot of sense to me to make music you do need three kinds of people that are stated in the article. You need the composer, performer and the listener to make music. I found this statement very true you need all three to make music, for it to be played and heard. The instruments are also an important part of creating music. It takes a lot to create a piece of music. We sometimes don’t try to find something beautiful in all pieces of music.

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    1. I agree. It sounds funny when I say it out loud, but good music makes us talk to ourselves. It has to be listened to in order to have meaning and life. A composer’s job would not be appreciated if she didn’t have someone to perform her music and someone else to listen to it and interact with it.

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  11. It is actually my first time to hear the term “musicking” turns out i’ve been musicking for quite some time now. and by quite I mean since Highschool days. I always enjoyed listening to music especially with people that are dear to me. We do quite a lot of music jamming back when I was still in the Philippines. It is a nostalgic and a blissful time, where me and my friends were empathizing and just enjoying the time of our lives. Jamming to OPM classics that bring us back in the good old days. It was the music that reinforce the bond of our friendship. Ever since then our relationship gone strong even if I’ve been away from them for a long time. This right here is the power of music, No matter how different or unique each person is, they would still be united and strengthened by musicking, As what small stated “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.”

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  12. It is actually my first time to hear the term “musicking” turns out i’ve been musicking for quite some time now. and by quite I mean since Highschool days. I always enjoyed listening to music especially with people that are dear to me. We do quite a lot of music jamming back when I was still in the Philippines. It is a nostalgic and a blissful time, where me and my friends were empathizing and just enjoying the time of our lives. Jamming to OPM classics that bring us back in the good old days. It was the music that reinforce the bond of our friendship. Ever since then our relationship gone strong even if I’ve been away from them for a long time. This right here is the power of music, No matter how different or unique each person is, they would still be united and strengthened by musicking, As what small stated “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.”

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  13. As I finished reading our “Musicking” online discussion from this week, I learned plenty of important information as a reader and as a listener to music. What I grasped from this topic is that our listening experiences takes us to different directions especially since we take roles as either a composer, performer, listener or even all three of them. With these duties, we share our own ideas of what goes into music and how we connect it to our audience and ourselves. Using instruments from the Baroque, Classical or Romantic demonstrates to us as listeners we should admire the sounds that come out of those instruments and put ourselves into those time periods’ musicians shoes because to feel how much dedication they put towards those pieces of music. Also, we should never refer music as a “thing”or an “object”, but to treat music like it is part of us by building mutual relationships among each other. When we attend concerts, musicals, etc., it is our job as listeners to provide feedback to musicians so they know what they need to improve on when they perform again. For example, according to “Searching New Music For Keepers” by New York Times writer Allan Kozinn, musicians feel they have to receive every listeners’ opinion because to determine if they bonded with their audience and really touched them emotionally.
    https://drjonesmusic.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/2010-12-28-kozinn-searching-new-music-for-keepers.pdf
    Furthermore, what I am trying to say is that we should never take music for granted and that music gives us an opportunity to interact with musicians and appreciate the beauty of the piece with its’ smooth melodic flow.

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      1. @shannamu101c3 – Yes because all genres of music lets us express ourselves and permits us to think freely about them.

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  14. It’s so interesting how music can be something that will make you remember a certain thing in a person or your life. It is either one memorable music that happen be hearing at the moment of it is the music sound/lyric that make you remember that past. I agree with the sense that music make us think and look out more to other stuff around us, it is interesting how depending on the tone of the music a person would feel different.

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    1. I completely agree and its hard not to visualize or dig into memories during a specific song, its like we wired ourselves to do it now. Music is magical to be able to make us experience moments

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    2. I can agree that music can make you remember a certain thing in a persons life. Many times when I listen to music I always remember how a came to like this song and where I found this song. I have over a 1000 songs in iTunes and all of them reminds me of my pass and gives me that nostalgic memory of what I was doing at the time I was listening to these songs.

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  15. I’ve been “musicking” all my life but never knew it. Listening to music is a hobby for me. It can be relaxing or exciting and yet feel like we’re not doing much besides opening our ears. Music is so powerful because it is complex while easy when you’re the listener. However, music becomes a lot more difficult when you’re the composer or performer. As a composer, this is because you’re forced to create a story that is meaningful to others using sounds. Creating a story also makes you interact with it and critique it. As a performer, your job is to deliver that story while bringing in your own creativity. Christopher Small was right: music is way too complex to be called a thing or object. There’s a rich interaction with music at every step.

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    1. I’m with you on music being a hobby! Sometimes I wonder if I’m addicted to listening to it. Is there a specific song that brings you to a “musicking” state?

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  16. The first piece provided where Jean-Pierre Rampal is performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Flute Sonata in E minor, BWV 1034, III. Andante made me think about libraries and people drinking tea in the 1700s. The second piece performed by Barthold Kuijken reminded me of a particular Barbie movie that I used to watch when I was a little girl. I believe the animation had similar pieces of music accompanying the plot which is why it sounded so familiar.

    I actually read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughter-House Five” a couple of years ago in high school but I don’t remember much. All I know was how confusing it was. But the given excerpt from the text is one I can identify with when comparing it to the human experience when one listens to a piece of music. You are definitely time traveling to so many places and you’re probably in your room laying in bed. Who even knows? you could be listening to a song in a car, through your headphone on your way to a destination, or in the bathroom, etc. The opening of this discussion made me realize that we can be connected to so many places in different points in time (where/when the song was being made, when it was produced, and where your thoughts/memories lead you as you listen). Music is powerful and perhaps, maybe even timeless…

    Some songs that are very moving for me:
    “Canta y no llores – cielito lindo” –> this song specifically takes me to a moment I had with my grandma in my backyard in Long Island. We were under the canopy swing, she points to the side of my mouth where my birthmark is and sings: ese lunar que tienes Cielito Lindo junto a la boca… (which translates to That beauty mark you have next to your mouth, heavenly one…) I think about that moment and that song when I’m down because the title (canta y no llores) translates to sing and don’t cry.
    Another song that comes to mind is “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson. I was about 10 years old being dropped off to a swimming competition I had and I was fanatic about Michael Jackson back then. That song was in my head as I was competing.

    Do you guys have any songs that make you happy, sad, or bring you to a specific place/time in your life?

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    1. The memory of you and your grandma is very special. A song that brings me back to a funny moment for me is I Want It All by Queen. I was in sociology class and somehow the song started playing very loud. Another song that brings me back a lot of memories is Mr. Brightside by The Killers, it brings me back to when I was in middle school and when I would sing it out loud with my friends after school.

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  17. Everyone has their own ideas and we’re all different. I learned with musicking we all connect with the musician, performers, or composers. We all engage which leads us to react to a piece of music the way we all do individually. No one will experience the way i do,or you, because we all have different grasps on any piece of music

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    1. I agree completely, and I think that this is what makes music such an astounding form of art. The same way that we all can view a painting differently is the same way we can all hear a piece of music differently.

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  18. I think the evolution of instruments is amazing. When it comes to the modern flute versus the wooden flute, I prefer the modern flute but listening to Kuijken play the wooden flute definitely brought me back to historical times.

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    1. With the invention of new instruments, I wonder if the music being played on the new instruments are played the way that the composers of the Classical and Romantic era intended for it to be played. I know the new instruments bring a sense of enlightenment and revolution in the music world but the composers were thinking of the instruments they had at the time, not the new and improved instruments that are made right now.

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      1. That’s sort of like when great poets wrote something and then we interpreted it in school, did we do it correctly? Is that what they meant? Sometimes, our interpretations make things great. I’m sure if we read Shakespeare the way it is, and take it literally as it is written, its nothing but one of the billion written books. When we associate red to blood in books and black to fear, maybe authors did not even think of it at all.

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      2. That’s a very interesting thought, i would assume that every musical artist would play in their own unique style. i strongly doubt that musicians in 2019 would still play the way intended by those in prior musical eras.

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  19. Also, the term musicking is very interesting. I believe we are constantly musicking because we can do this anytime, anywhere. Next time I am musicking, I plan to be more present and mindful in that moment.

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  20. What interest me the most from the reading was the Historical performance practice. I can very much agree that not only the composers change over time but the performers and the instruments change over time as well. It filled my mind with wonders about how and why the flute’s texture changed from wood to nickel/silver. Maybe it changed because performers wanted to play the flute more easily, or maybe the flutes that are created now can produce a greater sound. But although modern instruments may play better we can still learn new techniques from older instruments. The older instruments can make the performer and the listener feel like they are from the Baroque or the Romantic period.

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  21. This piece of writing made me aware that we are all involved in music, and though we are not always aware, we do some kind of criticism, acceptance and rejection of music regularly. For example, if a new song comes out, at first one may not like it, but as it becomes more popular and we hear it more often we seem to grow fond of it. It had happened to me many time, has this happened to anyone else?

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    1. Personally i agree with your viewpoint. It took me a few experiences to finally question the thought of how music connects with us regarding acceptance and rejection . When a piece of music first comes to light in my world I automatically feel it or not. While time passes, I begin to modify my thoughts on the piece,

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  22. First of all, thank you Dr.Jones for writing interesting and engaging articles. It is always a pleasure to read them.
    I have always felt that music was more than just a thing. Power of vibrations that music causes are very strange. I’m sure everyone has felt like there were explosions blowing up like a Hollywood movie while they are walking like a Bollywood movie character. In the gym, music can help you lift more weight than usual, run faster than usual and last longer than usual.
    The Internet is great because it gives us a chance to express our opinions everywhere, so here it is: I think one of the reasons why classical music is still relevant today is that it does not have any lyrics and does not carry any particular message. Therefore, you can make everything out of it. Sure, there are some that will clearly put you into a sad mood, and some that will put you into excitement, but still, there is none that tells you what you should think about.
    By no means, I have any knowledge to speak about the future of the music but I wonder if we will see someone rule breaker, revolutioner and bridge builder in our times. Someone like Ludwig, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix or Daft Punk. Maybe someone will be able to create a completely different instrument that will be pleasuring enough that our ears will adopt it right away. I am open to listening to anything but politicians.

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    1. I really agree with your connection with physical performance and visual feeling. I have noticed that while I am active and listening to a nostalgic piece that fits with the moment I perform better or according to the flow.

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  23. listening to the Bach sonata I was reminded of one of my childhood favorite games. Immediately I felt as if the world went back in time and I felt as if the 8 year old me was listening to it. Nostalgia an deja vu is the best way to describe it. Although this song was not exactly like the one in the games I played the instruments and melodies just seemed so calming and memory inducing. So if someone was to ask me “when” was I when I was listening to this piece I would say 10 years in the past.

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  24. When I listen to these pieces, It reminded me of the movie “Pride and Prejudice” one of my favorite movies, or like I said in class black and white movies. These pieces teletransported me when they were dancing and that’s was the way they flirt. Music brings us stories of love, heartbreaking and stories of families. We have a unique way to listen to music and we should appreciate it and share our thought with other people to have different perspectives.

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  25. I took the time to listen to music provided, and as soon as it started playing i realized that the music sounded a lot like others I’ve heard from the past. It always surprises me how music has the ability to travel through time and from country to country. Music is a truly universal language.

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  26. The thing that interest me most from the reading was the way that the performers would comport them selves. It’s not completely different from how they act in today musical era however it is still quite a change.

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  27. Before the reading, I had no idea that the listener was a part of what made music. It’s interesting that music can make us remember certain places or people. The first piece reminded me of so many times that I’ve heard it in commercials or tv shows. It was also interesting to me that it mentioned “time travel” and how a musical piece made many years ago can be heard today with different perspectives and can be recreated with different instruments.

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  28. I think that one of the most beautiful aspects of music is the fact that everybody hears it a certain way. In the 1812 Overture, the most prominent part may be the the horns for you, but for me the part that sticks out the best is the cannons! And the more you listen to music the more subtle details of a song you may be able to hear. Sometimes, depending on your mood, you may be able to pick up on aspects of a song that you previously had ignored, or maybe appreciate a detail of a song that you previously had though unremarkable or even unpleasant. This is honestly what makes listening to music so fun for me, and so many other people!

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  29. My intake of this lesson and what amazes me more than ever is the connection we psychologically share with music. How the term of musicking can be expressed and understood that all of us have a personal outstake at each moment with each piece we listen to already structured in our heads.

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