A cursory look through the literature on modes of listening reveals a wealth of different ways to attend to oneʼs sonic environment. Authors in the literature describe various, nuanced modes to frame oneʼs listening, and yet the terms also have central commonalities. In this essay, I explain that bringing these authors into dialogue with one another in a way that emphasizes these commonalities provides a rich interpretive tool, particularly for electroacoustic music. These different listenings ultimately compose my analysis, and I suggest that consciously engaging with modes of listening can shape listener experiences of electroacoustic music in analytically fruitful ways. Natasha Barrettʼs Deconstructing Dowland for guitar and electronics provides an aural realm in which to consider how one might usefully employ modes of listening as an analytical tool. The music possesses more potential listening experiences than a soundʼs single pass through the auditory system can perceive. When I consciously think about my approach to listening, however, the soundscape becomes a laboratory in which to explore the music from any perceptible angle. After gaining the intimate familiarity with the piece that analysis requires, I can begin the familiar analytical process of examining plausible interpretations to construct a coherent reading. Here, active engagement with modes of listening directs analytical decisions as the music and I construct my reading of the piece by drawing upon the four modes I propose. Overall, the typology I propose allows us access to meaningful analytical engagement with a repertoire whose vocabulary and notational particularities can hinder other methodologies.
Wilson, L. (2023). Modes of listening in the interpretation of electroacoustic music. In R. Torres, A. Brandon, & J. Noble (Eds.), Proceedings of The 21st Century Guitar Conference 2019 & 2021 (pp. 333-348). https://digitalcommons.du.edu/twentyfirst-century-guitar/vol1/iss1/21