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BeBop

How WHERE you listen affects what you enjoy

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My life has changed a lot over the past few years. Once upon a time, I spent most of my listening time in a chair in from of a home stereo rig. Later, most of my listening time was spent in a car. Lately, I'm listening more on portables with headphones.

I find music with a broad dynamic range - say Fred Herch at Villiage Vanguard - impossible to enjoy completely in a car or through headphones. I'd rather listen to something with with a narrower dynamic range - something drawn from 78 rpm recordings for instance.

The task/distraction of driving also changes what I am interested in listening to. I don't listen to challenging music in the car.

...and you?

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Certainly, there are different listening environments that call for different types of music. When I read the title of this thread though, I was thinking along different lines. Have you ever "heard" music differently in the presence of one person or another? There's something about the dynamic of two people (or more) just sharing a space and mood, or something, that seems to alter your own perception of the music. It might seem more beautiful or vibrant than it did before. I remember hanging out with my mentor years ago, listening to a Pat Metheny solo piece, and I couldn't help but comment that although I'd heard it before, it never sounded as beautiful as it did in that moment.

I've also noticed that my attention for music waxes and wanes at certain times of the day. Early evening is usually my peak, but also about two hours before and after noon.

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Have you ever "heard" music differently in the presence of one person or another?

I remember a "reunion" of sorts with a gang of freinds I hadn't hung with in several years. We'd never really listened to the same things; they were "AC/DC, Def Leppard and Led Zeppelin" whereas I was more "Lene Lovich, Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson". My tastes had drifted to jazz, their's had remained the same (and probably always will). I put on Weather Report's Black Market and they were repelled by the strange shit. Suddenly, it seemed like strange shit to me, too. To this day, it sounds odd; I don't think it will ever sound as it did before that experience. It was like the tribe was ostracizing me for my heresey, and now the CD can only represent that experience for me. Weird...

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I can't listen to some music I like with certain people. Some people get caught up in stereotypes and who-should-listen-to-what--strange phenomenon, definitely incongruous to my own listening. It is as if people think that I should listen to music by white people because I am white; or music in English as opposed to Porteuguese or Spanish or French or Japanese; or even that the music should be new, as if it were somehow superior to old music.

Edited by Noj

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If I'm with someone who can't hang with whatever I'm listening to I try to find something they can hang with and I usually have an idea about it in advance.

So far as general listening is concerned I can listen to just about anything when I'm traveling though something like an RVG or Mosaic is best appreciated on a proper system.

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