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Topic: Objective listening

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  1. #1

    Question Objective listening

    One of the things that I find not easy to do is to listen
    to my own composition in an objective way.

    This is especially so after I have been working on a composition
    for some time and have already listened to it many times…

    Sometimes I am able to ‘switch’ from subjective to objective,
    but then... I ‘switch’ back…

    Has anyone found ways to be able to listen objectively,
    as if it were someone else’s composition?


    ~Yudit~

  2. #2

    Re: Objective listening

    My way: don't listen to it for some lapse of time.
    Fabio
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  3. #3

    Re: Objective listening

    Same here. In fact I often go through a phase where I'm sick of hearing it which is a clue to let it go for a while and work on something else. Once I come back to it I'm a little fresher and can continue or I get a new direction that works better, etc.

    Steve Winkler

  4. #4

    Re: Objective listening

    I'll join the chorus here. I usually put the music away for a month or so and come back to it with a much better sense of objectivity and perspective.

    There is no set time limit, however. That's usually something personal that each one of us discovers works best for us.

    Having also been a professional writer (nonfiction), I can tell you that the best writers also do the same thing. I understand that the better novelists do the same thing as well.
    Arvid Hand
    Theory-Comp./Piano
    ASCAP

  5. #5

    Re: Objective listening

    Same for me. Working on something for a longer time, without major interruptions, makes it very hard to hear, for example, what is surprising and what isn't. After all, it all sounds very familiar to me...

    A major interruption is the only solution I know, once underway.

    Something that might reduce the problem somewhat is to be quite exacting and precise when hearing for the first time, and to make a list of all shortcomings you heard the first time and couldn´t correct immediately.
    Han Suelmann,
    Vista32, GPO4, COMB2, Finale 2009, Reaper, Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB, 2.67 GHz.

  6. #6

    Re: Objective listening

    I agree that "leaving it alone for awhile" is the best approach, but
    I also employ another one:

    I invite some composers that I admire (some friends, some professional
    colleagues) to listen to what I have created. I note their comments
    on style, harmonic and melodic content, and "sample" production and
    then return to the work and see it in a little different light.

    If I feel self-motivated by "second party" analysis, I immediately return
    to work. If not, I still value their comments and leave it alone for awhile.
    Later, I return to it and either make changes or go with what I have
    created to date.

    Seems to work for me, but finding those people that I consider "more
    informed" at music composition is sometimes a task in itself. In those
    cases, I just have to muddle through by myself..........snif, snif.....lol.

    In summation, I think it's human nature to be motivated by others that
    are more informed about a subject than one's self. If a "live" person or
    persons are not available, I analyze scores of successful composers and
    generate ideas from their works regarding style, texture, harmony and melody.

    Jack
    Jack Cannon--Toshiba laptop, 2.8 GHz CPU, 1.5 GB RAM, GPO4-JABB3-Auth. STEINWAY-Gofriller CELLO-Stradivari VIOLIN-COMB2-WORLD, FINALE 2009/11, RME Digiface, Cardbus, V-Stack---Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 8, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express.--MacBook Pro 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  7. #7

    Re: Objective listening

    Quote Originally Posted by swinkler View Post
    Same here. In fact I often go through a phase where I'm sick of hearing it which is a clue to let it go for a while and work on something else. Once I come back to it I'm a little fresher and can continue or I get a new direction that works better, etc.

    Steve Winkler
    I think this tends to be an "occupational hazard" especially with pieces that demand a lot of detail work in the production process. I went through this when I rendered a symphony I've been working on with GPO2 over the summer. I was listening to the same bloody stuff over and over soooooo many times that the music started to lose its meaning.

    I agree with the consensus here that revisiting a composition after staying away from it for a little while is the best way to maintain some sense of objectivity about one's own music. I also concur with Arvid that the amount of time required depends on the individual.

    I'll echo Steve's idea and say that something else that may help would be to have two or more projects going at the same time if possible. That way you can "toggle" back and forth to avoid hearing the same things too many times while keeping your mind creatively active.

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  8. #8

    Re: Objective listening

    It is hard not agree with every of you. At some extend we all behave the same way, a bit more of A, a bit less of B, we walk along the same path.
    I wish to spot this as very useful:
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhap2 View Post
    I analyze scores of successful composers and
    generate ideas from their works regarding style, texture, harmony and melody.
    I wish to add "favourite composers and scores" to the list of things is worth to analyze.
    I've found great help following Nielsen and Finzi clarinet concertos' scores to solve problems I faced writing mine (first: what a clarinet concerto is ).
    Great hint, Jack.
    Fabio
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  9. #9

    Re: Objective listening

    I usually try to have one two other projects going on, so I can bounce between them. This helps to keep each piece at least somewhat fresh when I need to listen objectionably to it.

  10. #10

    Re: Objective listening

    I let it rest (usually because of going to another project). Getting some sketches or rough score read by an ensemble also helps make it "real" so that I don't overthink it. Most of the time that is not easy for me to do, however.

    I have found that if I only have one project taking time off from it to do something physical like woodwork, house repairs, cleaning out the garage - stuff like that helps quite a bit.

    You have some great advice from others above this post.

    Ya know - I am pretty sure our minds work on things in the background and putting things on the back burner usually improves them. Kind of like the second day for chili. I find it's better because the ingredients have had time to meld and interact and blend.

    Hope that helps.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

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