Symphony as landscape
It has become a common sight in the last few years to see people walking around with ear-pieces / headphones listening to music. I usually only do this if I’m in a train or coach for several hours, but the other day I decided to try headphones during the 45 minute walk into the city centre. For playback I took a Sansaclip device. This is a portable music player only a little bigger than a matchbox. What’s great about it is that it will hold and play FLAC files – much better quality than mp3. There’s about 50-60 hours of classical music on this device. I left the house and started playing Moeran’s [1st] Symphony in G, a very attractive English work from the late 1930s with a strong Sibelius influence in parts. I was intrigued and surprised to find that I found the experience disconcerting, as though there was a cognitive dissonance between the music and the external world I was seeing on the walk. I thought about it afterward and decided that for me the experience of a symphony is like an inner landscape and I can only satisfactorily respond to one landscape / journey at a time. Physically moving through another at the same time is too much. Perhaps it would be a less dissonant experience with songs only.