The Listening Book

The Listening Book

by W. A. Mathieu

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780834827677
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 03/27/1991
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 571 KB

About the Author

William Allaudin Mathieu is a composer pianist whose long and varied career ranges from his early work with the Stan Kenton band and The Second City Theater, to his extensive catalogue of song cycles, works for choir, and instrumental concert music. He has recorded extensively, and is the author of The Listening Book, The Musical Life, and Harmonic Experience: Tonal Harmony from Its Natural Origin to Its Modern Expression.

Read an Excerpt

The
Way the Eyes Are with the Ears

The eyes are hungry. They eat brain energy. When you close your eyes your brain opens to your ears; sound rushes in to fill the sphere of the skull. Your mother's lullaby just before you drop off to sleep. Earphones on, lying on the couch, Beethoven's Seventh, your arm over your eyes. The candle sputters;
lovemaking sounds in the pitch dark, then whispers and laughing.

Open your eyes: now the brain is crowded, and the bright screen of sound grows dim.

When people are listening intently with their eyes open, a strange thing happens.
Their eyes roll up a little bit, and a glaze comes over them as if the surface has congealed. I love that little roll-up. Oh, those Swami Eyes! It means that the hearing, just for a moment, has become hungrier than the vision. And the way people's eyes suddenly retreat to a neutral corner when you are saying something truthful to them? That means they heard you.

And when people stare straight ahead, it means that everything is being heard and nothing is being shown. Sometimes this gaze is so powerful and beautiful that poems are written about it afterward.

Listen to the sounds you are hearing now. Then close your eyes and listen, and open them again. Try to hear the same way in both cases. Notice how the eyes are with the ears.

The
Sound Horizon

Listening into the distance is like looking into the horizon.

When we gaze at the horizon, our vision goes beyond our eyes and sees forever. When we listen into the distance, our ears reach beyond the farthest sounds, and the infinite becomes sensible. We get a fix on our position in the boundless world.

The alternative is like being stuck in traffic and never sensing beyond the stream of it.

We begin to think like cars. It is like staying cooped up indoors with no windows.
We need the big picture and the long radius. We need to check out the long-range coordinates.

Go out of your way, if you have to, to look steady and long at the place where earth and sky meet. Likewise, discover places where your ears can soar out to the edge of audibility. Find a lull in the evening, a valley, a distant remove,
a quiet dawn, and listen into that boundary. You can disappear beyond it into where you really live.



Table of Contents

Introduction
xi

LISTENING
Chop
Chop Phoooah 3

The
Way the Eyes Are with the Ears 5

The
Sound Horizon 6

Listening to Animals 7

Symphonies of Place 9

Protect
Your Ears 13

Preparing a Sound Space 17

Focusing
19

Music at a Distance 20

Unlistening
21

Listening to People 24

The
More You Listen 26

Twenty
Sounds to Get Lost In 27

Special
Radio Trick 29

Easy-to-Miss
Music 31

Hand and Glove 33

Listening to Music 34

Dreamed
Music 38

Listening to a String 39

JOINING
IN

Resonance
43

Walking
46

Singing with Machines 49

Now
Time 52

Life
Drummer 55

Dinner
Symphony at the Sillses' 59

Gibberish
61

Say
Wind 63

Chanting
66

Willing
Silence 69

PRACTICING
Finding
Your Own Music 73

One
Note after Another 75

Telephoning
Counts 78

The
Ace of Practice 80

Cosmic
Practice 82

Ima
Dork 83

In
Meter 85

Disabusable
Notions 88

The
Best Excuses 90

Mistakes
92

Wandering
Mind 93

No
One Can Tell You 94

What
Should I Practice? 95

Technique and the Eraser Trick
97
Electronic
Instruments 98

Deep
Pantry 100

Lentus
Celer Est 101

Names
102

Chariot of Words 104

There's
Not Much to Learn and It Takes Forever 105

Dr.
Overtone's Promise 106

Originality
107

THE
SOUND CONNECTION

Finding a Teacher 113

Fear of Music 117

Hearing through Other Ears 120

Most
Perfect Music 121

The
Circle of Listening 123

Inner and Outer 125

Age
Matters 127

Tone-Deaf
Choir 128

PRACTICES
Singing
Unison with a String 137

Just
Any Note? 141

As
Much as Possible from as Little as Possible 143

Touch
What You Sing 153

Steps/Leaps
157

The
Tyranny of Triads 159

The
Art of Returning 161

Juice between Textures 163

Play by the Clock 164

Just the News 165

The
Magic Scale 166

BIG
EARS 173

Notes
178



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The Listening Book 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
RoaringSilence More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written exploration of how appreciation of sound can open your mind to the world around you. Whether your a musician (I'm not) or a scientist (I am), this book will touch you and let you see (or more specifcially, hear) what you've been missing. Take this highly interactive journey into sound with Mr. Mathieu - you'll never be quite the same afterwards.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Years ago I saw this book on the shelf, always noticing it, usually passing it by. Then I opened it, and I read it, and though unusual and sometimes puzzling, it rang true enough for me to hold it close to my heart, and the work that it has led me to in music and in living is like a rose that never stops opening. Even more beautiful and deeper is Mathieu's book The Musical Life.