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Old 1st November 2009, 10:32 AM   #1
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Default What do you see when you listen to music?

I was thinking about the experience of listening to music. Do you “see’ the performers in front of you, as in their faces etc? Or do you visualise something more abstract? Or nothing at all?

It may seem like a strange question. It struck me the other day when I was listening to some music. For me, its not just about sitting in front of a sound system and having an emotional reaction to the music I listen to, which I certainly do have. Its also about what I look into and see about the soundstage in front of me.

When listening to classical music, I don’t see the performers, but I have a sense of them in a more abstract way, as if their musical personalities are projected into the space in front of me. Its pretty hard to describe in concrete terms. For instance, sometimes when listening to small ensembles (string quartets) I see the instruments themselves being played but without a fully actualised performer. Weird, but real for me.
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Old 1st November 2009, 04:28 PM   #2
CBRworm is offline CBRworm  United States
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It depends entirely on the music. I listen to mostly electronic music and rock from the late 70's to mid 90's. If the music is someone I have seen perform, I frequently envision that show. If it is music that I have heard on a particularly good night at a club (back when I went to clubs), I will envision (almost relive) a particular night and frequently it will give me chills.

With simple electronic music I will frequently envision the waveforms that make up the notes - and/or different shape and colored boxes and trapezoids.

If it is music that has had a video made I will sometimes watch the video in my head.

Other music, there is no telling. I may picture VU meters dancing. I may picture myself on a beach on an island.

If I hear anything from the VAST album that was released in the late 90's I envision the time I spent wiring and tuning the system in my then new '97 Maxima.
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Old 1st November 2009, 05:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boconnor View Post
I was thinking about the experience of listening to music. Do you “see’ the performers in front of you, as in their faces etc? Or do you visualise something more abstract? Or nothing at all?

It may seem like a strange question. It struck me the other day when I was listening to some music. For me, its not just about sitting in front of a sound system and having an emotional reaction to the music I listen to, which I certainly do have. Its also about what I look into and see about the soundstage in front of me.

When listening to classical music, I don’t see the performers, but I have a sense of them in a more abstract way, as if their musical personalities are projected into the space in front of me. Its pretty hard to describe in concrete terms. For instance, sometimes when listening to small ensembles (string quartets) I see the instruments themselves being played but without a fully actualised performer. Weird, but real for me.
Interesting topic. Never thought about it, until now. What I 'see' in my mind's eye is something like a black background surface on which the instruments appear and disappear when they play, sort of constantly moving 'picture'. Hmmm. Need to think about it some more.

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Old 1st November 2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by janneman View Post
What I 'see' in my mind's eye is something like a black background surface on which the instruments appear and disappear when they play, sort of constantly moving 'picture'.
Yes, I also have a black background in my mind's eye. Wonder why it isn't a colour?
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Old 1st November 2009, 08:31 PM   #5
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I hear the instruments in the soundstage and unless deliberately doing so for some reason not directly related to the music have never visualized them. Now I have to think about that - and I listen to a lot of music...
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Old 1st November 2009, 08:38 PM   #6
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Old 1st November 2009, 08:40 PM   #7
toufu is offline toufu  United States
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I see music much like the first scene of the movie "Fantasia". If you haven't seen it, check it out, the first scene is an abstract animation of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
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Old 1st November 2009, 08:51 PM   #8
nad is offline nad  United Kingdom
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Interesting subject.

Unfortunately I see nothing at all, just sit back, turn off, relax and enjoy.
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Old 8th November 2009, 12:20 PM   #9
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Swirls of colours, like rapidly spinning galaxies in space, or psychedelic whirlpools and waterfalls, or alien landscapes with huge birds/pterodactyls flying over them.
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Old 8th November 2009, 12:48 PM   #10
SY is offline SY  United States
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Two very large, black loudspeakers.
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