<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
People typically develop a great deal of tacit knowledge about music simply through hearing it often, so a lack of exposure to a particular music style or tradition can create a significant barrier to understanding and appreciating it. Attentive repeated listening to unfamiliar music can help the novice overcome this barrier. The module includes suggestions both for independent inquirers and for leading a classroom activity.


One of the main reasons that you enjoy your favorite music is that you can understand it simply by listening to it. You don't have to make any conscious effort to make sense of what is going on, just as you don't have to make any conscious effort to understand someone who is speaking in a familiar language with a familiar accent. But if the language or accent are unfamiliar, you may have to work harder at comprehension, or may fail to understand at all. Your aural (ear-based) understanding of music is related to, but separate from, any formal understanding of music theory or notation, just as your ability to understand spoken language is related to, but separate from, any formal knowledge of grammar and writing. The purpose of this module is to help you (or your students) develop a better aural understanding of an unfamiliar type of music .

This module is a guide to creating your own inquiry into the music that interests you. That means that it focuses on the process of learning how to listen to an unfamiliar music, rather than on providing you with information about a specific kind of music. The suggestions below are general; you will choose the music that you want to explore, based on your interests or learning goals. You will find below:

Ask: choosing the music to study

This module does not include specific suggestions for which music to study. The assumption is that you have already decided that there is a type of music that you want to appreciate and understand, but that is so unfamiliar that you can make little sense of it right now. It is difficult to get satisfying, useful answers, though, when you start by asking general questions about a whole genre or type of music. You'll make more progress if you pick one or two pieces and begin by asking specific questions about them. If you have not already picked out specific pieces or recordings, the following checklist may help you choose a focus for your study.

  • First, narrow your focus of interest as much as possible. For example, "Classical music" or "Chinese music" are too general. You might find a focus based on what you like (vocal music? flute? strings? sweet melodies? powerful rhythms?), or based on your reasons for wanting to learn about it (your friends enjoy going to the opera? you bought a bamboo flute when you visited Beijing?)
  • Don't get overwhelmed. Limit your initial study to one piece, (maybe two if you get bored easily or if the variety will help you listen more carefully). If you are studying a composed style of music, you might want to listen to different recordings of the same composition, to get some idea of the variation in performances. If you are studying an improvised style, just stick to one or two specific recordings. Although you will probably want to enjoy live performances, too, choose recorded music for study, so that you can hear the same music repeatedly.
  • Try to find high-quality recordings of good performances, so that everything that is supposed to happen in the music is clearly audible in the recording.
  • If dancing or other activity is typically an integral part of a performance (for example, ballet, opera, samba or capoeira), a video recording can provide a great deal of insight into how the music is perceived by those who create it. Even when that is not the case, a video of a performance can put the music into context for you, help you understand how the instruments create the sounds, and show you how knowledgeable listeners typically react to the music. If the sound quality of the video is poor, consider alternating between studying the video and a high-quality audio recording.
  • Choose pieces that have some appeal for you, that you will be willing to listen to carefully and repeatedly. If you are choosing music for a group, consider what they might enjoy. If you're not certain, consider assembling several possibilities and letting the group choose.
  • Starting with the "great works" or core repertoire of a tradition is not necessary. If the fusion, pop, "world music", tourist, or children's versions of a tradition are more appealing and easier to understand, it may make sense to use that as a starting point. Most people find it more enjoyable and rewarding to study the masterworks of a tradition after they have developed an ear for the music.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Music inquiry. OpenStax CNX. Mar 18, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11455/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Music inquiry' conversation and receive update notifications?