What is the essence of listening? The essence of listening (as I understand it) is presence. With the act of making music, you communicate something whether it be consciously or unconsciously, voluntarily or involuntarily. What makes it more difficult to discuss music than e.g. art is that even though we can experience music and sound aurally and physical in a direct manner; we experience it as something abstract and intangible when we try to describe what we hear. To some extent, a fully sighted and hearing person, may rely more on sight than hearing. We can analyze and describe the characteristics of a sound by its frequencies, rhythmic flow etc. But the music itself conveys no language we understand. We give it meaning through metaphors just as we try to understand and describe the world around us. Despite the absence of a common terminology to describe the sound on many levels we experience it both mentally and physically. For people with different types and degrees of mental or physical impairment, sound (in the form of music) is one of few and sometimes the only means of communication that not only works but also provides the opportunity for interaction with other people.
Sol Andersson – The essence of listening