How do you perceive music?

Discussion in 'music, bands, clubs & festies' started by ska invita, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    What happens when we hear music is probably quite different to us all...

    I know there are some books on this, which I havent read, but maybe someone can bring some examples if they have>? (Books such as This Is Your Brain on Music and Oliver Sacks's Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain).

    Definitely theres a range of imagery people get, from full on synesthesia, where people see colours and shapes, down to the exact opposite: something i like to force sometimes which is to try and shut down all images and colours and just have pure colourless 'sound'.

    I think the more expert a musician the more that person hears formulas, chord progressions etc, and that must change the perception of music a lot.

    Theres another way that I'm curious about which is, for want of a better expression, in what dimension do you experience it.

    I have mainly experienced:

    2 Dimensionally - i.e from Left to Right
    Goes a bit like this

    tend to have this with songs and music played quietly

    3 Dimensionally - where the music comes at you face on

    tend to have this with loud soundsystem experiences

    '4' Dimensionally
    Rarer random spaced out high experiences, including going up in an elevator type thing, or time not existing/dont have the words to describe it.

    Hard to talk about....
  2. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Rollin, rollin...

    Interesting thread, I will return later.
  3. Argonia

    Argonia Happy go licky

    Synaesthesia sounds cool, I wish I experienced music like that
  4. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank King of the Rhodes

    I don't perceive as a linear thing like a midi roll or whatever. More like a kind of four-dimensional space.

    The relationship of music to the perception of time is fascinating. You couldn't listen to music if the notes that had already sounded didn't still exist somehow, and you couldn't perform music unless the notes that have yet to be played didn't also exist in some form. A musician is only conscious of each note as it sounds, but must act ahead of time in order to make it sound. And even though I've had to anticipate this G I'm about to play in order to get a finger onto the G key in the right place at the right time, it can still take me be surprise. I can experience something I'm doing as if someone else were doing it, whilst also making conscious and unconscious decisions about it.

    It's a fucking rush playing music, because it doesn't actually make any sense at all.
    girasol, Signal 11, danski and 4 others like this.
  5. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    I find to a certain extent you can both force images and turn them off if you really put your mind to it - worth trying, even if it is a bit forced!

    Heard of someone who described their synaesthesia like a kandinksy painting - something to work from i guess...
  6. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank King of the Rhodes

    I love this, it's not how I see music but it makes a lot of sense to me.

    danski and ska invita like this.
  7. xenon

    xenon A move in any direction

    I didn't think I really get synaesthesia but having looked at the wiki page, maybe a bit. Sounds, musical instrument tambres have a colour. Not an intrusive distracting appearance as you're listening but more like. That guitar tone is the blue tone. If I'm playing something myself, I'll think, I want the orangey guitar tone for this and tweek accordingly.

    With over all pieces, I get an impression of the space, in an abstract vague way. I mean some of that is just responding to reverbe; soring leads make you naturally think of height, flight. I was listening to something mathy on YT yesterday, lots of arpeggios and runs, these came to mind as stars or trickling lights falling away and fading. (I didn't actually listen to it that long but that's YT fidgitting for you.)

    I thought everyone had some internal visualisation of music. It's not as trippy as it sounds.
    Sprocket., SpookyFrank and ska invita like this.
  8. Chemical needs

    Chemical needs stirring

    I think so much of it depends on the listener, their mindset, the setting, their experiences of music to date and whether they feel a strong connection with music in terms of playing an instrument or just appreciating certain genres.

    I used to have strong imagery in my mind's eye when listening to certain music but I do not have such strong visual experiences as I get older.

    Rather than a left to right experience I would describe my listening to be more flowing through and enveloping.

    There are so many facets: emotional, spatial, visual, technical, aesthetic in a broader sense of just the visual aspect.

    I do find music which is most engaging and interesting to inspire strong visual ideas...

    I was told that we subconsciously picture the music being played when we listen to music, and I think there's a lot of truth in that. That would partly explain how we interpret the emotion of a piece of a music.
    Sprocket. and ska invita like this.
  9. S☼I

    S☼I parading on your rain

    I listen to the vast majority of music with headphones, which seems to mean it is more "part of me" than listening to it from the TV or PC.
    I don't see music visually, rather what imagery it suggests is simply that of someone playing whatever instrument I'm focusing on. For instance right now I'm listening to Prince Far I and I can see fingers playing a bass. The bass is a deep orange - not the sound, the actual bass guitar.

    What I tend to do is notice connections a lot. This chord sequence is the same as that one, that phrase is similar to such and such a riff.
    littleseb, SpookyFrank and ska invita like this.
  10. mx wcfc

    mx wcfc Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that, but not much else. "That's the same chord sequence as x" is something I notice a lot, but that's all. I still get stressed about whether Patti Smith nicked the chord sequence to "Dancing Barefoot" off me or vice versa (neither is likely!) No pictures, colours, 3D - just music.
    S☼I likes this.
  11. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

    Shapes and colour quite a bit
    Chemical needs likes this.
  12. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming

    An amazing synthesis with certain drugs that vocabulary (which, after all, is merely symbolic sound too) doesn’t have.

    Which isn’t just to say you have to be on drugs to appreciate (some) musical sound, obviously you don’t. But the synthesis with (some) musical sounds and drugs is truly fascinating. To me.
  13. Orang Utan

    Orang Utan razzed up on scrumpy and injustice

    I don't think i understand the question
  14. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Rollin, rollin...

    Certain pieces of music overwhelm my senses, not necessarily a genre or mood. It can be just a short passage,even a few chords. But the sometimes it’s the phrasing, timing, and the depth do stop me dead in my tracks (no pun).

    I feel it’s the nearest I get to knowing what a spiritual experience is.

    No idea why certain arrangements of notes, melody, rhythm have this effect on me. But when it strikes I often have to repeat the short excerpt or full piece until it becomes ingrained in me.

    I visualise things in my head, totally disjointed from the reality I am in. I cannot explain it and it intrigues me.

    It is in all types of music from classical to thrash and it’s magic.
    Lupa, Limejuice, xenon and 3 others like this.
  15. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Rollin, rollin...

    I saw an episode of Sky arts portrait artist of the year earlier today.
    Courtney Pine was the sitter and he was talking about his experience of synaesthesia. He described how he sees and senses the colours and shapes that emit from his consciousness while playing. The artists then painted their interpretations of how these could be integrated into their finished portraits of Pine. His comments were interesting too.
    Lupa and ska invita like this.
  16. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Thats reminded me of a favourite cartoon character MAx Zillion and his saxophone Alto Ego
    THe stories are fun enough but the best bit is the way the notes are drawn when he plays...some examples i found on-line
    something really satisfying about looking at it i find



  17. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    havent thought about that for years - ive got a bit excited and have taken some pictures from one of my favourite bits when he solo battles the devil

    2 .jpg
    3 .jpg

    Attached Files:

    • 6.jpg
      File size:
      447 KB
  18. billy_bob

    billy_bob contents may have settled during transit

    Quite similar for me. It's not overwhelming or intrusive - I can listen to music without thinking about it, but if I do think about it I have very clear impressions of the colour, shape and tactile nature of different instruments and notes. It's unforced - I'm not consciously going 'Now, what would this look like?'
    xenon and Lupa like this.
  19. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    My work has changed my perception of music quite a bit over the years, for better or for worse. Being around music production for many hours every day I find it difficult to switch off. When I listen to music I have to analyse what's going on. What's the snare drum like, open, dead? Where does it sit in the mix? Does it have reverb, if so what type and how much of it? What's he production behind the vocals? What reverbs, delays, has it been double tracked? What amp was used for the guitar, what range does the bass occupy? What's the room sound of the studio like? How is the song arranged, what song writing techniques are applied? etc etc etc...
    It used to bother me to not be able to just enjoy music for the sake of it anymore, but then I learned to embrace it. After all, that's my chosen career, and I feel lucky and privileged having had the opportunity to learn about the many facets of music production and to fine tune my skills for many years.

    To balance things out, I run a weekly noise improv group with / for autistic people. It pretty much is the polar opposite to what I get up to in the studio: free expression, and very much in the moment. Whatever happens happens in that very moment only and will never happen again. Nothing to analyse, no competition, no technique to fall back on. I find these sessions incredibly satisfying and therapeutic.
  20. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    you should read it, I'm sure you'd love it.
    ska invita likes this.
  21. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    I've got a copy but not had the chance yet, will try to this year
  22. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    It certainly changed my perception of perception of music.
    Enviro and ska invita like this.
  23. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    I went through a phase of massive disenchantment the more I experienced making music.... But I rode it out and came out the otherside. Being able to appreciate production techniques and playing techniques and still switch off enough to get swept up in it is a balancing act but I think I've got it back....

    Then again it's not my day job...

    Over familiarity, particularly of one genre, can breed contempt for me so I find crop rotation works really well. Some copy and pasted beats seem exciting again after listening to live music and vice versa.
    Enviro likes this.
  24. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    absolutely. I'm quite lucky in the sense that my work is varied enough to keep things interesting and to stretch myself. I'm involved in anything from John Carpenter style film soundtracks to Psyche Rock via X factor pop. Things are different for me every day, and I love diving into new challenges.

    Having said that, there is something to be said about researching, experimenting with, and mastering one particular my case that would be a particular drum sound. I've given up trying to recreate Abbey Road drums or Bonham micing techniques, but decided to make a more dead late 7ts (I guess) my skill / trade mark. Years of trial and error I'm more or less where I'd like my sound to be, something unique to my studio and my taste, and that's what people come to me for.

    I guess that's all a bit off topic though....
    danski, Enviro and ska invita like this.
  25. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    The last couple of weeks I've been catching up on roots releases, and certain rate tunes achieve a certain sub bass sound that always takes my breath's like it sucks air in. God knows how it's achieved. Love it... pure sorcery to me.

    Moving away from music perception to appreciation here I think...
    Enviro likes this.
  26. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    One of my guys from my improv group has a different yet very interesting relationship with music. He is blind and heavily relies on his autism to navigate, remember places and voices, etc.

    He has perfect pitch, can name any chord that's played to him and will remember any song that's played to him once, he will remember the lyrics and chord structure, the tempo and performance. He will remember a song forever.

    Yet he doesn't have a perception of what is 'right' or 'wrong' in a song. This makes song writing with him very difficult, as it is impossible to try things out with him. When writing a melody or a chord structure and trying out chords and notes, it is inevitable to occasionally play a note or a chord that's completely off and just doesn't sound right.
    For him, however, once he has heard something within a song once it has to stay like this forever, and he will forever remember, even if it makes the toes curl up, for him it will be the right thing for that particular song.
    danski likes this.
  27. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    I'm struggling with that too.

    I'm loving the discussions in this thread, but I just love listening to all kinds of music, and simply enjoying it.

    I doubt I'm capable of perceiving music in terms of colours, shapes, etc. in the ways that have been discussed above :oops: :confused:

    Probably, I just get along with tunes :) :cool: :) :D
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  28. Orang Utan

    Orang Utan razzed up on scrumpy and injustice

    Innit, i don't perceive, i experience
    William of Walworth likes this.
  29. Enviro

    Enviro Make your assessment

    Everything you experience goes through the lens of your perception.
  30. Orang Utan

    Orang Utan razzed up on scrumpy and injustice

    Sure but the idea that one might experience that perception as linear/left-to-right etc seems alien to me. It just IS.
    William of Walworth likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice