Sketches from Michele Trenti's essays

Listening Intermittently

Appunti di Michele Trenti

It seems to me that the conscious listening to a piece of music should, in varying degrees, be considered a process that, although taking place in an uninterrupted period of time, proceeds in an intermittent way, at least in the vast majority of cases. The greater the awareness of listening and the listener’s concentration, the more the process extends to the point of a continuity that would connote an ideal listening and be complete when no element of musical discourse eluded the listener’s consciousness. In the subsequent mental processing of the musical message, each perceived element is placed in relation to the others, creating a multi-level network of formal structures. Generally, the amateur listener’s manner of listening is largely sporadic. This is due to the fact that, among other things, the moments of great impact are more important to him than the logical consistency of the discourse. Each musical element not semantically understood leaves a gap in the perceived structure, whereas listening repeatedly to a song makes it easier to extend the continuity of a musical experience.