Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › the psychology of the musician as listener
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

the psychology of the musician as listener - Page 3

post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackKontney View Post

I can tell you without hesitation, there are many musicians who are among the most difficult to please sonically. Just as there are musicians who don't really care what happens to the sound after they've produced it.

 

Compare that to audiophiles vs. other listeners, and the simplest explanation - thus the most likely - is that their population has a pretty normal distribution of listening requirements.

 

This post for me is most representative of what I hold as reality. To think of a hi-fi vs. a musician’s mentality is inaccurate. People are people. Some obsess about their system’s sound or their musical tone, and some do not. There is no wrong answer. It’s what’s right for the individual.

 

I’ve been a musician for 20 years plus, and an audiophile for about 5 years. I know a lot of musicians that don’t value hi-fidelity sound either in reproduction or pro-audio or recording. I also read about consummate pros who stop at nothing, and are never satisfied in the pursuit of their tone. I can tell you that my experience as a musician has been utterly enhanced since becoming an audiophile. I’ve read an article in Strings magazine advising the use of the best audio equipment that one’s budget allows when studying or just plain listening to music. The subtleties of a classical soloist or vocalist can only be reproduced with better equipment. Being able to hear the room or auditorium itself, and the space around the individual instruments. My love is of baroque music. I still love it whether it’s in my car’s stock stereo or on my home set-up, but my home set-up does offer an infinitely greater intimate connection that is priceless.

 

I’m also never satisfied when pursuing my musical tone. I will always be musician first and audiophile second. I spend time tweaking my music equipment and instrument as well as my reproduction components. Whether it’s the equipment, instrument, or expression and execution, it results in one product together. My musicians’s sensitivity is immeasurably increased thanks to being an audiophile. Are you making a Big Mac or fine French cuisine? Don’t get me wrong, I can jam out balls-to-the-wall in my car to Metallica (Cliff Burton RIP) or old school hip hop, but enjoy Bach and Vivaldi in my home to the maximum thanks to hi-fi. The #1 rule is music first and foremost and maybe some good equipment second to enhance the experience as a bonus if possible.

 

BTW, there will never be a consensus on headphones or any other equipment as long as people are different. Take everyone’s opinion with a grain of salt because very few will completely share your music ideals. 



 


Edited by lmswjm - 9/30/10 at 11:04pm
post #32 of 64
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beeman458 View Post

You don't have to take it literally. There is some truth to it as a metaphor.

 

Very little.

 

With all due respect, it's the idea that folks with a brain get together and everything boils down to Freud's, who's is bigger than the other's.  This, as if nobody ever got a passing grade in Psych 101 and are just discovering psychology for the first time.

 

There are a lot of layers of function in humans, but much of our behavior is animalistic. In some ways there is only a thin shell of socialization between us and pure animal behavior, and if you look at male primates in the wild, much of their energy goes to establishing hierarchies of dominance. Make that just about all male mammals. That's done by sizing each other up. It's smart to size up your opponent before getting in a fight with them.

 

I think there is a huge amount of truth to it. It's not ALL that makes us up... we have uniquely human qualities, plus we can be very civilized and appear not to be fighting with each other... but in my opinion under the surface we still have our animal inheritance.

 

When I said "You don't have to take literally" I meant as penis size. I am referring more specifically to "studliness as a fighter" as male animals would observe.

 

A recent study showed that men are very good at predicting another man's upper body strength from hearing a recording of their voice.

 

It is good survival strategy for any male in a hierarchy to have good means of sizing up their opponent before risking an actual fight. This ability we inherited is VERY accurate still. I think it's a very good guess that it operates psychologically almost any time men are together, although it may be unconscious to them. (Perhaps more visible to an outside observer.)

 

 

post #33 of 64
Thread Starter 

One of the frustrating things about writing essays that draw distinctions is that invariably someone will come along and accuse you of setting up a dichotomy. My point is that a pro's thousands of hours of study of music (bringing both heart and mind) affects their listening in a very fundamental way.

 

Are there some musicians with discerning ears for equipment? absolutely. Can their experience as pros enhance, not distract from, their discernment? Absolutely. Are there non-musicians who enjoy low-fi equipment? Sure. Are their non-musicians who have deepened their appreciation of music in ways other than performing and studying it? Yup. And on and on.

 

Distinctions, not dichotomies.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lmswjm View Post



 

This post for me is most representative of what I hold as reality. To think of a hi-fi vs. a musician’s mentality is inaccurate. People are people.

 

post #34 of 64

Blessed are musicians for the music is already in them. I'm no pro, but I know my way around the guitar and the drums.

I like what some of you have posted about "active participation". I subscribe more to the thought that if you had the opportunity to study and play music, it'll add more to your active participation. But I also see that music is an art, and what I appreciate in art is whatever that moves me to an emotion.

Awesome thread.

post #35 of 64

without wanting to raise any argument for argument's sake, i'd say music is such a primeval, intrinsic part of being human & communicating/conveying emotions & feelings with other humans, that each & everyoneWILL listen to it differently. to some the finest detail is paramount,  to others it's about dynamics, others will sell their soul for a pouncing, up beat rhythm, etc, etc...

at the end of the day what matters is that we do derive pleasure from listening !

then of course we have to consider the fact that our ears being such amazing pieces of engineering, they WILL allow us to listen to music on a crappy sound system & not REALLY notice how crappy the system is as long as the pleasure factor remains intact - to a certain extent.

personally, i play electric bass in a rock band for many years & i must admit very few audio systems manage to deliver THAT bass sound i get on stage when playing with my friends but when i stumble on one that does, indeed it does give me an extra , wicked little listening pleasure :-)

call it an ''occupationally induced reality sampling distortion'' if you will....

post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1127 View Post

One of the frustrating things about writing essays that draw distinctions is that invariably someone will come along and accuse you of setting up a dichotomy. My point is that a pro's thousands of hours of study of music (bringing both heart and mind) affects their listening in a very fundamental way.

 

Are there some musicians with discerning ears for equipment? absolutely. Can their experience as pros enhance, not distract from, their discernment? Absolutely. Are there non-musicians who enjoy low-fi equipment? Sure. Are their non-musicians who have deepened their appreciation of music in ways other than performing and studying it? Yup. And on and on.

 

Distinctions, not dichotomies.
 



My remarks were not directed at you, but just a general reply to the posts in this thread. No reason to be frustrated.

post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1127 View Post

Oh --- I should clarify that I am talking exclusively about classical music, which is a type of music that benefits extensively from deep study and experience. Not all styles of music have the same depth. I'll probably get flames for that, but it's not my fault if it's true.

 



For me a high resolution is very useful for listening to music. I do listen to classical almost exclusively and I particularly love the impressionists. The orchestrations are truly remarkable and with a decent replay system I can hear into the music in a way that is very revealing. Listening to the marvellous sonic constructions that have been created is fascinating.

 

This is why for me resolution, actual "hi fidelity" is my objective. I do not want warm sounding things, or any of these other excesses of euphony. I want to hear what the composer has written and the performers' interpretation, I do not want to hear the replay equipment layering some fat euphony over everything.

 

I think that classical music does reward attention. It requests that the listener gives it some time, but the rewards for that investment are truly wonderful.

post #38 of 64

mike1127 wrote:

 

A recent study showed that men are very good at predicting another man's upper body strength from hearing a recording of their voice.

 

Okay, I can see you and the creators of the study didn't study the fighting arts.  FWIW, fighting isn't about voice or strength.  Why?  The key to winning, is sizing up your opponents weaknesses and your ability to exploit these weaknesses.  As I wrote, it's as if folks failed Psych 101 and are just discovering psychology for the first time and they actually think it's all about the next guys penis.  Why?  Cause that's what they were taught, so that's how they think; bias.

 

I'm eternally entertained by how emotionally limited folks with a brain can be as they show how befuddled they are by their own arrested development.  As I wrote, it was a simple observation.  Someday, they'll mature past psychology 101 and be able to enjoy the cigar (stereo gear) they're smoking.  Until then they'll continue to think what they were taught.

 

The point, buy the gear for the sound and enjoy cause it don't matter what the next person thinks about your gear set.  I'm sure you'll find if there's any reality to the pissing contests, it's this pseudo posturing that keeps it interesting, otherwise, interest wains.

 

"Okay, cool, you got a great set of gear.  Now what?"

 

"Well my gear set is bigger than yours."

 

"I'm sure it is."

 

(Fight over before it began.)

 


Edited by beeman458 - 10/1/10 at 8:26am
post #39 of 64
Thread Starter 

 

I don't think you understand the point of the research---of course fighting isn't about voice.


Animals don't use "the fighting arts" to establish hierarchies of dominance. They just fight. Strength and size are big factors in who wins.

 

As I wrote, sizing up your opponent before fighting is useful to prevent unnecessary bloodshed. If he's big and strong, just let him win.Therefore, it is useful to be skilled at judging your opponent's strength from whatever means is available. In the wild, animals growl and roar before fighting. So the researchers wondered if something similar was still present in humans---a way to judge their strength by hearing their voice.

 

Yup! It's there. Humans have inherited this animal nature. No, it's not all there is to us. But we can't make it go away by hopeful thinking.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beeman458 View Post

mike1127 wrote:

 

A recent study showed that men are very good at predicting another man's upper body strength from hearing a recording of their voice.

 

Okay, I can see you and the creators of the study didn't study the fighting arts.  FWIW, fighting isn't about voice or strength.  Why?  The key to winning, is sizing up your opponents weaknesses and your ability to exploit these weaknesses. 

post #40 of 64

Mike1127 wrote:

 

I don't think you understand the point of the research---

 

 

Not a clue.  But if you must do it, please do it on your dime.

 

 

 

I find it particularly entertaining, in a frustrating way, how most folks haven't a clue how to think past their education as they act as if Psych 101 is some sort of a revelation.  Everything's not penis envy and it gets so trite when intelligent, well educated folks try to make life into this sort of a perpetual contest because it sounds so Psych 101 good.


Edited by beeman458 - 10/1/10 at 5:21pm
post #41 of 64

As has been stated, people are people. People have brains. Brains carry out many functions and combinations of functions.

 

As anyone here, be they musician or non-musicain will attest; listening can be defined as simply as the mechanics of sound pressure levels and the interactions of equipment and biological processes that result in our hearing of the music, to the emotional involvement required when listening to, for instance, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.

 

True, Beethoven's piece sounds wonderful when reproduced on good quality equipment (I'm only a mid-fier myself). But when you understand the pain and sadness he felt (a piece about unrequainted love) it doesnt really matter what equipment reproduces it.

 

The really interesting thing though is when you combine the two. Great equipment and an understanding of what is being listened to. A truly great interpretation of the music combined with the very subtle nuances offered by the use of good kit will envelop you in the same sadness Beethoven felt when writing the piece.

 

Emotionally though, the same effect can be acheived by simply remembering the piece.

 

Just my thoughts, however off topic they may be


Edited by Nost - 10/2/10 at 12:27am
post #42 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nost View Post

(I'm only a mid-fier myself).



I think yours was a most excellent post. A lot of the very expensive stuff you see for sale really isn't very good if you get a chance to give it a good listen, and so just because the stuff you have is not very expensive doesn't mean it isn't very good. I would love to see an end to these terms like "mid-fier" and "hi end" etc, they really are meaningless.

post #43 of 64

@Nost

 

p a t r i c k is on the dot with what he said.  There's no such thing as "mid-fi" IMO.  You can have cheap gear the performs extremely well across the board, and "high-end" gear that has no right to call itself so with how bad it performs. 

post #44 of 64
Thread Starter 


By the way, it's Beethoven who wrote the Moonlight Sonata. And coincidentally, Beethoven went deaf. Now, we know that Beethoven had a fabulous musical imagination because he wrote masterworks like the Ninth Symphony while entirely deaf.

 

But does that mean Beethoven didn't miss hearing music?

 

This is similar to the question you are asking here: how much of the emotion, or anything else about the piece, can you perceive in a low-fidelity version?

 

I think Beethoven did miss his hearing because there's a physical pleasure to sound that cannot be replaced by the imagination. In the same way, there's a pleasure that comes from experiencing high-resolution beauty that, in my opinion, cannot be replaced by any degree of imagination or provided by a low-resolution system.

 

I'm not saying we should all give up listening to low-resolution systems. Our enjoyment from imagination and other ways of connecting can always be respected and developed.

 

Just saying it won't replace the full thing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nost View Post

As has been stated, people are people. People have brains. Brains carry out many functions and combinations of functions.

 

As anyone here, be they musician or non-musicain will attest; listening can be defined as simply as the mechanics of sound pressure levels and the interactions of equipment and biological processes that result in our hearing of the music, to the emotional involvement required when listening to, for instance, Bach's Moonlight Sonata.

 

True, Bach's piece sounds wonderful when reproduced on good quality equipment (I'm only a mid-fier myself). But when you understand the pain and sadness he felt (a piece about unrequainted love) it doesnt really matter what equipment reproduces it.

 

The really interesting thing though is when you combine the two. Great equipment and an understanding of what is being listened to. A truly great interpretation of the music combined with the very subtle nuances offered by the use of good kit will envelop you in the same sadness Bach felt when writing the piece.

 

Emotionally though, the same effect can be acheived by simply remembering the piece.

 

Just my thoughts, however off topic they may be

post #45 of 64
Thread Starter 


It's odd that you are snickering at other people's supposed misunderstanding of psychology, but when presented with recent research, you have no interest.

 

Oh well.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beeman458 View Post

Mike1127 wrote:

 

I don't think you understand the point of the research---

 

 

Not a clue.  But if you must do it, please do it on your dime.

 

 

 

I find it particularly entertaining, in a frustrating way, how most folks haven't a clue how to think past their education as they act as if Psych 101 is some sort of a revelation.  Everything's not penis envy and it gets so trite when intelligent, well educated folks try to make life into this sort of a perpetual contest because it sounds so Psych 101 good.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › the psychology of the musician as listener