Copland's Theory of Listeners

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Aaron Copland is a 20th century composer who was giving lectures at Harvard in 1951-1952. He was giving a lecture on the idea that listening is a great talent or gift one can posses. Copland believes that these listeners have the ability to listen, hear, and enjoy a piece of art based on an enjoyment factor or in primal terms, emotion. He also says that listeners should be able to evaluate critically such art, and come to their own conclusion or opinion.

As you continue to read through his lecture, Copland states that in order to listen with skill, you need to be open-minded and reflect on the experience you felt. While closely paying attention to the experience, nothing should be telling the listener what they are going to hear. They should be able to comprehend the art and feel the, “Floodlight of one’s imagination,”(Paragraph two, Copland).

While maintaining this ability to keep and open mind, a listener should be professional. However, at the same time retain an amateur status. This allows for a dual perception. It creates a lack of judgment and innocence, allowing for a more emotional interpretation. Copland believes that all artists alike find listeners pivotal in the artist community. This spiritual lending of ones self to art should concentrate the sentiments, not physically distance it self.

Generally speaking, Copland finds the reaction of music intriguing. He ponders what this talented listener absorbs in art. Does he/she understand? If so, what in particular do they understand? He approaches the meaning of music or art, which he decides that it is many sided and will always be debated. This is because there are simply to many interpretations to consider. Music has become to, “professionalized.” A listener sees the natural beauty of such art, not the origins, and exercise of it. They rely on, “instinctive comprehension.”(Paragraph 12, Copland) They simply don’t weigh the personalization of music.

Above all else, Copland says we...
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