Larry Kart

Can't listen to music anymore...

40 posts in this topic

Larry, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I suppose that would cause a depression strong enough that would cause a loss of interest in other things that you love.

I don't have any advice, but I can tell you that the same feeling has happened to me and it hasn't been the result of anything tragic, any kind of loss, etc. Sometimes, this just happens. You find yourself staring at the collection and thinking, "I have no interest in any of this. I think I'll just dump it." The only thing I've been able to do is just let it slide and stop thinking that I have to listen to music, knowing that at some point I'll be interested in the music again.

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Let me first offer my condolences on the death of your wife.

Some thoughts based on my own experience might help to reflect your own situation.

Last year I experienced a deep depression, and I experienced the same effect on my listening habits. All of a sudden I was no longer able to enjoy even my favorite recordings. Listening to music demanding my full attention was impossible. Though I went on adding new CDs to my collection. I listened once to most of them, some of them just disappeared on the shelves. But - similar to your description - I was able to enjoy live music.

I don't know enough about your listening habits. From my own experience I can tell that sharing my enthusiasm with other people when listening to music has a great impact. That may also be an explanation of the fact that one can enjoy live music - which one shares with others. Sharing my enthusiasm/emotions with others enables me to enjoy any music way more than listening to it alone.

I have to be in the mood to be able to enjoy music. That's a big problem when you're experiencing a phase of depression. I can't bear any "joyous" music when I'm down, and "solemn" music brings me down all the more.

You lost your wife only six months ago. How many recordings might be connoted to common experiences? It will take some time to be able to enjoy those recordings again...

Being depressed also changes your perception of anything - including music. All those things making the music "stale" and "predictable" have always been part of it, but you didn't notice them because there is something else in that music which you enjoyed. Now you concentrate on the negative aspects without being able to even notice the beauty/thrill which made you love that same music before.

...

I finally asked for some professional help. But the best help came from friends. I'm talking about "real" friends who can listen to you and who can hug you. A forum can be a great place for discussions - it will never substitue a human being lending you her/his ears.

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I'm bowled over about the losses reported by Larry and Jazzbo. I can only echo the sage advice offered by many here - that a tragic loss such as yours takes its toll in ways that we cannot predict, but eventually the pain does subside, and the old joy does return. I lost my kid brother in a senseless accident some years ago, and it was many months before I could get it out of my head, and it definitely took away the joy in many things in my life. Eventually I returned to my old self, as I'm sure you both will also do.

Secor - I saw "The Visitor" last week. Wonderful film, highly recommended!

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Larry - I'm terribly sorry to hear of your wife's death.

What others have said - that your lack of interest in recordings may relate to that - may well be perfectly true. But it may also be only part of the story. Jim said he'd had the same thing without the grief. Me too; i couldn't be bothered to order anything from the latest Concord sale a couple of months ago. And there is a bunch of stuff by people like Houston Person and David Newman - musicians I NEVER pass by - that I haven't got (yet). And it's not just jazz. I'm getting similar feelings about Mbalax and Djeliya (though I'm not off buying that stuff, quite).

But I'm finding it exciting getting into kinds music I'm not familiar with - Zouglou from Cote d'Ivoire, Hiplife from Ghana, and of course, Concha Buika's albums. Even when the stuff isn't perhaps all that great, it's exciting me in a way that is reminiscent of the late fifties, when I was discovering Soul music and Soul Jazz.

So I really agree with the recipe Jim, Paul and others have recommended - get into something else; it doesn't really matter what, so long as it's unfamiliar. The more unfamiliar the better - I know you like to analyse what you're listening to and I respect that approach enormously, even though I don't share it. But REALLY unfamiliar music will demand a non-analytic approach, at least initially, and that gut-approach may help.

Everything does change.

MG

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Larry, I've got nothing to add other than my condolences. Seems like about 6 months ago we were encouraging you to become a moderator while hoping Jim wouldn't shut this place down. You obviously had so much more going on to deal with, yet never lead on, unless I missed it.

I tip my hat to you, sir.

No doubt in time this music funk you're in will pass.

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Thank you all. I'm really surprised by how common my experience is, especially that odd but probably revealing twist about being able to respond to live music but not to recordings. (Maybe I'm just listening to the wrong recordings and should put on some John Cage. :rolleyes: Actually, I'm not kidding about that. I have a set of Atlas Eclipticalis and Winter Music at hand.) In any case, I'm trying to take some steps to deal with the overall/overriding situation here along lines that several of you have suggested.

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Larry:

Sorry to read about your loss.

Reading over the responses here. I have to suppose this sort of response is fairly common: I experience something like this years ago (while I was relatively young--I'd been avidly collecting and listening for 5 years or so). It was about a year and a half after my mother died. For whatever reason the acute feeling of loss that I had had when she first died came back in spades. I hardly listened to music for weeks . . . months perhaps.

Sometimes it just seemed to be very bothersome--useless noise. . . sometimes it was because I knew it wanted to move me in a way I didn't want to be moved.

Eventually, gradually I think, I got interested in some new sounds and then things were pretty much back to normal.

A few time the same symptoms come up again now I'm somewhat older--music brings on the same sort of feelings as my mild claustrophobia does: urgent need to escape. But they've only last for days/weeks rather than weeks/months.

Anyhow, I wish you the best. Particularly I wish you the joy of music again,

--eric

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Larry,

My condolences on your loss.

You may be suffering from depression as has been pointed out before. I am a frequent flier in depression, and I know when it's getting bad because I have no interest in music when it's bad. Normally I'm quite passionate about music and I'll talk about it, listen to it, read about it etc. Live music is OK, but playing anything when I'm getting deep into depression just bores me immediately and I start with the same thing as you described, 'what's the use- I know how this will sound- I'm not interested', etc. i hope things look up for you.

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Sometimes it just seemed to be very bothersome--useless noise. . . sometimes it was because I knew it wanted to move me in a way I didn't want to be moved.

This explains my experiences precisely; I had never been able to describe it before. Like everyone has mentioned, it usually has to do with my mood and stress level, usually occuring at certain holidays and anniversaries (of my father's death, but not so much on the anniversary of his birth--that always seems filled with happy thoughts and memories) and of late in dealing with my sister-in-law's advanced ovarian cancer. It's mostly recorded music that I find offensive. Part of it may be that I get bored with the music I have but don't have the emotional energy to discover new music. On the other hand, Joe's playing always lifts my spirits as does anything he plays for me from his CD collection.

It always gets better with time, almost with a renewed intensity.

I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Larry. Having never lost a spouse the only thing I can relate it to is when my father passed, quite young, and watching my mother go through the grief process with losing a husband and eventually working through it. The pain is still there but is tempered with memories that become more beautiful with time.

You're in my thoughts.

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My sincere condolences to you, Larry.

I've gone through quite extended periods when recorded music has a similar effect on me as what you describe. And I don't listen to recorded music purely as pleasure/recreation as much now as I did in the past.

Depression may indeed be part of this reaction. Due to PTSD, I take two daily medications to help stabilize anxiety and depression. SSRI's tend to even things out but - like a compressed audio signal - there's not a lot of dynamic range.

If we're talking about sadness and grief as opposed to depression per se (or - even worse - clinical depression) the reaction may very well be similar. There have been times when hearing something like Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" that I have actually been moved to the point of tears, particularly during emotionally fragile times. Other times it's a sense of numbness when no emotions, either positive or negative, seem willing to surface. Some music obviously can affect one very strongly if one is in the state of mind to be affected. I'm no psychologist and have no well-reasoned theories to present on why this may be true. It's a mystery to me. Suffice to say that I hope you find a way to restore the pleasure of listening to recorded music. Perhaps a little Bob Marley might be in order? :D

At least you live in an area that has plenty to choose from for live performances!

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If we're talking about sadness and grief as opposed to depression per se (or - even worse - clinical depression) the reaction may very well be similar.

It really is - so much so that it can be extremely hard to tell where the sadness and depression that are part of the process end and other kinds of depression begin. As you've said, it can really help to go to an experienced clinician, but.... the process of grieving is such that sadness (and other emotions) wax and wane in a very unpredictable way. About all you can do is ride it out and go through it. (I lost a sibling last fall and am definitely having both good days and bad, though so far, music has been - for the most part - bearable, even helpful. But - as rachel said - there are days when it isn't.)

Edit: Something just occurred to me - that even on bad days, a bit of practice and/or playing *my* instruments can be really helpful. It's recorded music that's difficult.

Edited by seeline

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When I enter one of my depressed phases, it's not just music that suffers. I don't enjoy ANYTHING. I don't want to hear any music, watch movies, TV, read...or do anything for that matter. I just enter hibernation mode where all I want to do is sleep.

But thankfully it's been quite a while since I went through one of those and I'm actually feeling better about life now than I have in at least 5 years.

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I should add that this feeling of aversion seems to be linked to the feeling that I already know just what the music is going to sound like and that to actually listen to it then would be like having someone else's stale experiences stuffed down your throat. Further, I have this feeling even if the music on the CD is something I've never heard before and even if I go on to actually listen to the thing; almost immediately it sounds stale and predictable, and I have to stop.

How true and very nicey put. I feel this too, more and more these days. I'm the same age as you and I find it's hard to capture the magic that I once felt. It's still there but now a rarity.

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Hi Larry

I've not been around the board for some time, but I've been around since the Blue Note Board days when I used to post as - "Ed Swinnich." There's been lots of theories and advice offered and experinces shared above - most of which sound either right on target or like something I've experienced myself. I experienced the loss of a wife (divorce) recently and suffered from depression and some very dark days. I personally have not listened to any of my cherished Blue Note CDs or Mosaics in probably over two years. But I've found new and different music and entertainment to help me get of of my rut. It was the change of pace and interest in something new that really helped bring me out of my musical funk at least. Ironically, for me it was the Blues that helped me turn the corner. I guess there is no one correct answer or approach, but I hope that the support you are seeing from the community here is helping a at least a little. If nothing else, I hope it can help in that you are not alone and that what you are experiencing is not unusual - and that as time passes, many have found that time and distance as well as memories you shared and the love you felt for your wife can help you in dealing with your loss

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Sorry to hear about your wife, Larry.

You know, I haven't wanted to admit it, but since the breakup of my relationship, I haven't listened to much music since, so I think you may be onto something with the depression angle. I've tried; I even forced myself to listen to an entire CD, trying to pretend I was enjoying it. Right now silence sounds better than even my favorite music. I'm hoping it's a temporary thing (though it would be much cheaper if it were permanent, wouldn't it?), but we'll see.

Edited by Jazzmoose

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