Lecture 001

Read the two articles from Week 1 (Oliveros and Chion) and provide a short, ~300-word response reflecting the major idea(s)/concepts/theories/aesthetic illustrated in each by answering the following:

Multimedia 1:

Oliveros distinguishes between the concepts of hearing and listening. While hearing is a passive physical process in which the auditory cortex filters a lot of information, listening actively involves processing the information of a sound in the prefrontal cortex. There is a spectrum of consciousness involved in this process. Deep listening specifically refers to the conscious effort to pay attention to the complexities within a sound. When one actively focuses on a sound, it transcends mere noise, becoming meaningful through the listener's interpretation.

Chion introduces three distinct types of listening: casual listening, semantic listening, and reduced listening. Casual listening is primarily about extracting information; in this mode, sounds deemed irrelevant are filtered out. This type of listening often leads to identifying the actual events that produce the sound, possibly due to associations with other senses. Semantic listening is focused on extracting linguistic information from sounds. On the other hand, reduced listening involves a meticulous examination of a sound's characteristics. This approach not only identifies the objective features of a sound but also its subjective qualities, often utilizing new terminologies. Practicing reduced listening enhances our attention to detail within sounds, influencing our overall perception.

Oliveros' concept of hearing aligns with Chion's definitions of casual and semantic listening in certain aspects. While Oliveros emphasizes the level of attention involved, Chion focuses on the listening purpose. In my experience, when we listen with the intention of extracting casual information or semantic meanings, our attention selectively focuses on parts of the sound that directly convey meaning. This selective attention corresponds to what Oliveros defines as "hearing." Since this filtering process is subjective, I find Oliveros' classification of noise compelling. For instance, while humans may regard dog barking as mere noise, it is not so for dogs; for them, it's a primary mode of communication.

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