Do you listen to music or do you hear music?

Lots of people play music during their day – in the car, while they work, at home, on their pmp/mp3 player while they’re out-and-about… But how many of us are truly, intently listening to the music and how many are just playing something that sounds pleasing while we focus on something else?

Let me know what you think, and please do leave a comment! I’m interested to find out where you sit on this. If you answer before 4:30 on Tuesday, I’ll read your response on the air!

9 thoughts on “Do you listen to music or do you hear music?

  1. The more complex music of the day I cannot enjoy as background music. I must be in an environment where I can focus on what is going on and to hear all the parts of the music. (Like when you are in the car and hear a piece of music that makes you stop and sit and listen untill it is over) If I want music on in the background while I drive, or am doing whatever task the feeling or tempo of the music and the mood of the music are more the factor that makes me decide what piece to put on.


    • Thanks for the response, Kiel.

      That’s true, isn’t it? I think some music really deserves to be listened to intently, without interruption. It truly can’t be experienced properly, otherwise. Like Holst!

      Likewise, though, I agree that the “feel” of the music (tempo, etc.) is a good way to judge how it will be heard/listened to. For instance, right now, I’m checking up on all of my various websites and online haunts while listening to relatively mindless and mellow electronic music! 🙂


  2. I allow myself to listen to music if I’m not handling anything sharp, walking, or conversing with others. Otherwise, it’s best to just “hear” it.


  3. I need more ‘just listen to music’ time. Unfortunatly it seems it is always when I am doing something else. Like making this comment for example while listening to Leon Russell…


    • I think everyone needs more listen-to-music-time! I’m convinced that an hour a day of nothing but good music through a pair of headphones can make a bad day great and a great day fantastic!


  4. There is very, very little music I can listen to as background noise. The only good background stuff I’ve ever found is the ambient music from an interactive computer game called Riven. It’s meant to be ambient and not distracting, but beautiful — which makes it perfect when I’m doing something that engages the “grammar” part of my head.

    There’s some Brahms that can go either way — I can pay attention to it or not, but his music is sort of like watercolor paintings anyway. George Winston is another one who can sometimes go either way in my head. Unsurprising — both Winston and Brahms are essentially new age piano. 🙂


    • Yeah, Brahms is something that I could definitely tune out. I know what you mean, though. It is harder for me to tune out music, most of the time.

      A good example would be just last night – I was hanging out with a bunch of band and choir teachers at a barbecue (a little weird, I know – don’t ask), and there was great jazz playing the whole time, but once they got down to business, discussing the band program they were putting together, the music was shut off – almost instantly. I realized, too, as soon as it was off, my attention was totally changed.


  5. Pingback: Show #32 (I think) Playlist, etc. « What Planet Is This?!

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