An enlightening exploration of the concept of listening and the evolving role of the listener from Beethoven to Charlie Parker to contemporary remixing.
In this intimate meditation on listening, Peter Szendy examines what the role of the listener is, and has been, through the centuries. The roles of the composer and the musician are clear, but where exactly does the listener stand in relation to music? What is the responsibility of the listener? Does a listener have any rights, as the author and composer have copyright? Is it possible to convey to others how we ourselves listen to music? Though personal memory and intellectual history, Szendy takes readers on a fascinating and ear-opening journey to answer these questions.
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 listening habits.