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Aaron Copland How We Listen

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Aaron Copland How We Listen

This essay How We Listen by Aaron Copland deals with the three ways in which we listen to music. The three planes he talks about are sensory, expressive, and musical. Copland begins the essay with the simplest way of listening to music, or the sensuous plane. This is when we listen to music simply just for pleasure. It does not require any thought process. It's a way of listening to music subconsciously. Copland says most of us listen to music in this particular way. Although others may feel more sensitive to the music and begin to like different composers. When this occurs he calls it the expressive plane. This is the part of music that becomes controversial. Every piece has some sort of expressive power behind it. Sometimes the meaning comes off stronger than others, nevertheless all music has a meaning. It is not always possible to explain in so many words what the piece may mean because no two people will feel the same emotion. The third plane Copland talks about is sheerly musical. Most people do not know about the last plane, unless they are a professional musician. This plane includes, the melodies, rhythms, harmonies, and tone colors. Copland says we correlate all the planes in to one, and listen to all three ways at the same time without any mental effort. He persuades us to be a more "aware listener-- not someone who is just listening, but someone who is listening for something."

Aaron Copland has many of the same view points as I do. I think a lot of times we don't really listen to the music and don't appreciate the true or full meaning behind a piece. I know I am guilty of not really listening to the music's meaning. Many times I use music to change my mood. I can be bummed out about cleaning my room so I throw on some "happy" music to change my mood. I use music as a crutch instead of a learning experience. I often also find myself listening to the words in the song, but it is not always the lyrics that give the meaning to a song. There can be a song with no words and still give a sense of emotion and meaning through the notes or pace. After reading this essay I put on a couple of the songs by the composers Aaron Copland mentions in this essay. I tried to really listen to all three planes instead of listening to the music instinctively. This is something I have



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