Chapter

Understanding Music

Julian Johnson

in Who Needs Classical Music?

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780195146813
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849246 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195146813.003.0005
Understanding Music

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Understanding what is going on and being able to express one's thoughts are considered basic aspects of human existence. As musical literacy remains relatively undeveloped as a result of minimal enthusiasm, most people would fiercely resist the idea of needing any instruction in how to listen to music. Music survives in formal education; it has of necessity shifted its focus over the last generation to mirror everyday culture rather than to reflect upon it. Music education has become a contested field because it is the site of a central debate about cultural values and authority. The act of listening is not literally an act of reading; a more accurate pair of terms might be “hearing” and “mishearing”. Without a highly technical descriptive language, music is notoriously difficult to discuss in a detailed and collectively meaningful way.

Keywords: musical literacy; enthusiasm; culture; cultural values; discourse of art

Chapter.  8784 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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