Ways of Listening: An Ecological Approach to the Perception of Musical Meaning

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9780195151947: Ways of Listening: An Ecological Approach to the Perception of Musical Meaning

In Ways of Listening, musicologist Eric Clarke explores musical meaning, music's critical function in human lives, and the relationship between listening and musical material. Clarke outlines an "ecological approach" to understanding the perception of music, arguing that the way we hear and understand music is not simply a function of our brain structure or of the musical "codes" given to us by culture, but must be considered within the physical and social contexts of listening.

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About the Author:


Eric Clarke is Professor of Music at the University of Sheffield. He received BA and MA degrees in music from the University of Sussex, and a PhD in psychology from the University of Exeter. He has published on topics including the psychology of performance, the perception and production of rhythm, the semiotics of music, the relationship between language and music, and music and ecological theory. For ten years he was a member of the improvising string quartet The Lapis String Quartet.

Review:


"This challenging, impressive study implies new ways of thinking about music and listening. No other books cover the same territory." -- CHOICE


"This is the first book to place an ecological approach to perception at the core of music theory. The result is that many problems created by the hitherto dominant cognitive approach simply disappear: emotion and meaning emerge as primary attributes of music (as common sense might always have suggested). Clarke's highly approachable book, with its wide range of musical case studies, will prompt both musicians and psychologists to rethink some of their most basic assumptions."--Nicholas Cook, Royal Holloway, University of London


"Using a holistic approach to perception, Clarke captures the particularity and import of that unique aspect of musical sound Roland Barthes called 'the grain of the voice.' Through this, he is able to build a rich and textured account of musical meaning equally applicable to W.A. Mozart and P.J. Harvey. This important and innovative book offers a fresh perspective on music cognition that will be much discussed in the years to come."--Lawrence Zbikowski, University of Chicago Department of Music


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