III. Auditory Knowledge in Music: Music Between Theory and Practice

Plakat_Vortrag Buch

Public Lecture by Esteban Buch
Image Credit: Netzwerk Hör-Wissen im Wandel

Berlin, November 13-14, 2014

This workshop addressed the specific form of musical hearing and listening, beginning with the rise of the "art of hearing/listening" (Peter Gay) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It investigated how this auditory knowledge has been constituted in the course of musical performances and their discursification, and in turn how the latter have been affected by such auditory knowledge. In this context, knowledge is constituted both historically, in the sense of a linkage with already existing pre-modern forms of knowledge, and systematically, in the sense of a linkage with discipline-specific discourses and inherent discursive norms. By means of this linkage of synchronic and diachronic perspectives, the workshop aimed to investigate those institutions and media that emerged as a result of the modernization of the musical world, and by means of which new performative practices of hearing and listening to music were introduced (concert, opera, salon, hospitals and psychiatric institutions [music therapy], conservatories, grammophone, radio, urban public space). These developments were made possible first of all through the availability of new knowledge, for example via new techniques of composition and performance, through knowledge about spatial acoustics, recording technologies or music-psychological processes. Second, new spaces emerged for the production of knowledge about hearing/listening in music, for example through techniques for the comprehension and interpretation of sounds in music pedagogy, music theory, and music criticism. Third, hearing knowledge has proven to have a practical value: it is communicated, taught, and applied in a variety of contexts. The workshop thus explored the role that hearing knowledge has played in the development of new disciplines (music theory, aural training, music psychology, and music therapy); how the object "music" has been constructed in the process of trying to define "correct" ways of hearing and listening; to what extent practices of composition and performance have impacted and transformed practices of hearing and listening, and how the former in turn react to the transformed acoustic reality of the listeners; and finally, to what extent the results of scientific research on hearing have been applied practically in musical compositions. In terms of periodization, the investigation was focused on situations of music-making, listening, and hearing from the beginning of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth centuries.

On Thursday, 13th Nov., 6 pm, a public lecture by Esteban Buch (EHESS, Paris) on "Listening to Music under a Dictatorship. A Plea for an Ecologial Micro-History" opened the meeting at the Department for Musicology and Media Studies of Humboldt-University, Berlin (Lecture Room 501, Am Kupfergraben 5, 10117 Berlin).

On Friday, 14th Nov., an internal workshop was held with Esteban Buch (EHESS, Paris), Neil Gregor (University of Southampton), Wolfgang Gratzer (Mozarteum Salzburg) and Christian Thorau (Potsdam University).

Organizers: Camilla Bork, Manuela Schwartz, Hansjakob Ziemer

Here you can find a few images of the workshop.