Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lure(d) into listening?

This weekend there was a Matchmaking meeting event in Paris, organized by HERA —an EU 6th Framework Programme ERA-NET project aiming at strengthening the European voice in the Humanities—, on Cultural Dynamics and the Creative Industry.

The idea our group brought forward was Listen, Lure & Locate: A Project on Music, Internet and Listening Cultures that proposes to investigate older and newer internet technologies that support sharing musical taste and exchange of musical listening experiences.

The proposal (in preparation) aims not only to analyze and explicate these existing listening communities (e.g., YouTube, Pandora) but also to actively experiment with Web 2.0 technologies by designing and constructing virtual listening spaces that will allow participants to share their listening experiences (LISTEN), make other listeners enthusiastic for a certain musical fragment (LURE), and mark a specific location in an actual recording (LOCATE) - a specific point in the music where a particular listener experienced something special or that s/he considers musically striking or intriguing.

The LOCATE-component of the project was inspired by some early work of John Sloboda (Keele University). He found that a large portion of music listeners could locate (in the score or a recording) specific musical passages that reliably evoked, e.g., shivers down the spine, laughter, tears or a lump in the throat (Sloboda, 1991).

At the meeting I asked several people the question mentioned below. Take part in an online poll?

ResearchBlogging.orgSloboda, J.A. (1991). Music Structure and Emotional Response: Some Empirical Findings. Psychology of Music, 19(2), 110-120. DOI: 10.1177/0305735691192002


  1. Eriq Gardner wrote:

    "Can you tell me a bit more about your group, your meeting, and the
    ephiphany to seek out listener's shared musical tastes and the
    exchange of musical listening experiences? It's obviously something
    you greatly care about, but when and how did your group come to
    realize that musical enjoyment had an emotional component that could
    be studied through the design and construction of virtual listening
    spaces? Why do you think now is the right time to study this?
    Technology? Cultural enthusiasm?"

  2. In this particular project it is indeed the technology that (suddenly) makes listeners' behavior visable or, better, traceable. Where normally journalists or music critics were in a position to influence musical taste, word-of-mouth was 'invisible'. The upcoming Internet technology makes this traceable, and this is 'good news' for science. It allows us, in principle, to see what happens in the corridors where music lovers meet, the people that care.