Listen: A History of Our Ears / Edition 3

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In this intimate meditation on listening, Peter Szendy examines what the role of the listener is, and has been, through the centuries. The role of the composer is clear, as is the role of the musician, but where exactly does the listener stand in relation to the music s/he listens to? What is the responsibility of the listener? Does a listener have any rights, as the author and composer have copyright? Szendy explains his love of musical arrangement (since arrangements allow him to listen to someone listening to music), and wonders whether it is possible in other ways to convey to others how we ourselves listen to music. How can we share our actual hearing with others? Along the way, he examines the evolution of copyright laws as applied to musical works and takes us into the courtroom to examine different debates on what we are and aren't allowed to listen to, and to witness the fine line between musical borrowing and outright plagiarism. Finally, he examines the recent phenomenon of DJs and digital compilations, and wonders how technology has affected our habits of listening and has changed listening from a passive exercise to an active one, whereby one can jump from track to track or play only selected pieces.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823228003
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2008
  • Edition description: 3
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Szendy teaches aesthetics in the Philosophy Department of the University of Nanterre. He is also adviser for the Cit de la musique in Paris. In English, he has recently published Listen: A History of Our Ears and Prophecies of Leviathan: Reading Past Melville (both Fordham).

Jean-Luc Nancy is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Universit Marc Bloch, Strasbourg. Among the most recent of his many books to be published in English are Corpus; The Ground of the Image; Listening; Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity; Noli me tangere: On the Raising of the Body; On the Commerce of Thinking: Of Books and Bookstores; and The Truth of Democracy (all Fordham).

CHARLOTTE MANDELL has translated over twenty books, including several books for Fordham: Peter Szendy's Listen: A History of Our Ears and Jean-Luc Nancy's Listening. Her most recent translation is The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Ascoltando   Jean-Luc Nancy     ix
Prelude and Address: "I'm Listening"     1
Author's Rights, Listener's Rights (Journal of Our Ancestors)     13
Plagiarism and the obligation of truth     16
1757: Music and notes (at the foot of the page)     18
1835: A great change in our customs     22
1853: A listener in court     25
1841: Our portrait in a cartoon     31
Writing Our Listenings: Arrangement, Translation, Criticism     35
Ever since there have been works     39
Functions of arrangement     44
Liszt and the translators     47
The original in suspense     50
Arrangement at work (Liszt, second version)     56
Schumann the critic     60
Decline of arrangement (Why is music so hard to understand?)     65
Our Instruments for Listening Before the Law (Second Journal Entry)     69
The first trial of mechanical music (Verdi on the boards)     72
Music in Braille     76
The phonograph in court     80
Rights for reproduction and radio broadcast     83
Stravinsky, Schoenberg, and pirates     85
The Furtwangler ruling and subsidiary laws     91
Trademarking a sound (Harley-Davidson in the sonic landscape)     92
On the right to quotation in music (John Oswald, the listener)     95
Listening (to Listening): The Making of the Modern Ear     99
Types of listening (Adorno's Diagnosis)     100
"Listening, I follow you" (Don Giovanni)     105
Polemology of listening (Berlioz and the art of the claque)     110
Attention     117
Deafness     119
Schoenberg: "to hear everything"     126
Epilogue: Plastic Listening     129
A dialogue with Beethoven     130
The "second practice" of track markers     133
The prostheses of authenticity     137
Hearing listening: summation of listening(s)     140
Notes     145
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