U.S. Pop: Listening Pages

About the technology

To listen to the links on the listening pages, you’ll need the general username and password announced in class. (Not your personal account info, sent via email.)

The required listening for this class is available via Internet streaming at all times. You will be able to listen to songs as though they were on your computer anytime you are connected to the Internet. (Exception: the songs will NOT play on the campus “cruznet” wireless system, because it forbids streaming audio. You will need to listen using an ethernet connection or a wireless system off campus…unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about this —)

Note: You must have Quicktime 6 or later installed on your computer to listen to these streams. (If you need it, you can get Quicktime here.)

Ways to Listen, and Why…

We’ll talk a lot about listening in this course, and we’ll have time to debate the different ways that you can approach the enjoyment of music. In your everyday life, someone might send you a link to a song and you might listen to it thinking about whether it suits your mood, how it makes you feel, whether you would like to hang around someone who was listening to this kind of music. That’s all fine, BUT

— one thing I’d like you to try, just for the sake of trying: consider that there are other ways to enjoy music aside from the way that is most comfortable, and most familiar to you. In this class, we can let music be an emotional experience, and learn a lot by doing that. But we can also listen in other ways, thinking critically, thinking analytically, parsing music into different sections, different sounds, and thinking how all of a piece’s parts relate to one another. It takes practice, and I’ll guide you in that. But you can start by asking questions about the different parts of this piece that you hear. What happens first? Then what next? How is the piece changing? How is it staying the same?

Answering these questions is often a bit boring, and it seems to take us away from what we like best about music. But try asking them anyway, because the payoff later on is great: when you think carefully about music, it gives you a chance to add more to your listening experience. If you return to your favorite artist, and then hear more than you heard before in that artist, then you might just find that you love your favorite music even more than you once did.

More on that later. But for now: cheers, and happy listening!