Friday, 26 October 2007

Aaron Copland's What to Listen for in Music

What is the best way to appreciate music? Of course, the most basic and best way would be to listen to it, or to experience it.

If that is the case, why on earth would I want to write a post on the American composer, Aaron Copland's book, What to Listen for in Music?

Simply, as outlined by composer, William Schuman, in the Introduction section of this book, "Listening to music is a skill that is acquired through experience and learning. Knowledge enhances enjoyment." As such, it does help to read about and learn how to listen to music with greater skill.

In this book, Aaron Copland provides insightful suggestions for listening to music that will bring one a deeper appreciation of music. The book discusses how one can hear what is going on in a piece of music. It discusses how one could not just listen to music for the sheer pleasure of the musical sound, and not just experience the expressive meaning behind a piece of music, but to be sufficiently conscious of the sheerly musical plane, i.e to be aware of the melodies, rhythms, harmonies, tone colours and the musical form in a more conscious fashion.

I had myself acquainted with this book during my undergraduate years when I had studied a module on Contemporary Music as one of my electives. However, I had not read the entire book then. Last year, Emily presented this book to me as a Christmas gift, and I eventually got down to read the entire book. Although I had previously been acquainted to learn how to listen to music in a more conscious fashion, I have found that I was much more able to know how to and what to listen for in music after reading this book entirely. I have particularly found the book's discussion on the topic of musical form to be easy-to-understand and fairly comprehensive. I believe I would still refer to this book from time to time.

This book was written primarily with the layman in mind, but I am sure that music students and anyone else would find it a fruitful read if they were to read this book with the objective of learning how they could experience greater enjoyment when listening to music.

This book is available from Borders (Singapore) and Kinokuniya (Singapore). It is also available for purchase from Aaron Copland's What to Listen for in Music.

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emily said...

its a good book...

oceanskies79 said...

Emily: Thanks for the gift. It was an insightful read, though it took me quite a period of time to read because I was caught up with other things.