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  • Prof: Okay.

  • Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

  • My name is Craig Wright and this is "Listening to

  • Music," the most basic course that the Department of

  • Music has to offer.

  • Its aim is to teach you how to listen to music.

  • "Wait a minute," you say.

  • "That's preposterous.

  • I listen to music all the time.

  • I've got, what, my iPod, I'm downloading mp3

  • files, continually swapping files.

  • I've got my car..."

  • (What do we call those things in the automobile where you--

  • Is it a DAT tape that you can take your iPod and plug it in to

  • the-- your--the stereo system in your

  • car?)

  • "I've got that.

  • I listen to music in my dorm room off my computer,

  • in the bookstore, wherever.

  • I bet I listen to a lot more music than you do,

  • you old goat."

  • And you're right.

  • You probably do.

  • But what kind of music are you listening to?

  • Well, probably pop music and that's fine;

  • that's okay, fair enough,

  • pop music.

  • But are you getting the most out of this particular

  • experience?

  • Are you getting the most out of your listening experience?

  • I contend that perhaps you are not, that you are not maximizing

  • the time, using that time most profitably.

  • How do I know this?

  • What makes me think that you are not getting as much as you

  • possibly can out of your music?

  • Well, experience, to some degree,

  • but also an experiment that I did just last weekend.

  • I have four children.

  • The last of the four has now turned seventeen so I said last

  • weekend-- he's always with the iPod

  • on--"Chris, what are you listening to?"

  • "Go away.

  • You're bothering me." Okay.

  • "You're ruining my life again."

  • So >

  • "Well now, come on.

  • Let me listen to this.

  • Let me listen to it.

  • What are you listening to?"

  • So I listened to it and I said, "All right.

  • Here, you listen to this and tell me what you're

  • hearing."

  • And what did--what was he tracking?

  • He was tracking the text; he was tracking the beat of the

  • piece.

  • I asked him, "Well, what's the mode of

  • the piece?

  • What's the meter of the piece?

  • What's the bass doing?

  • Can you follow the bass line there?

  • Can you identify any chords in this particular piece?"

  • Nothing. Zero.

  • And this from a reasonably sophisticated kid who's had

  • twelve years of serious cello lessons,

  • and that brings up, I suppose, a point:

  • that although I don't know much about your music I think I can

  • teach you a great deal about your music by using the

  • paradigms of classical music.

  • So I'm going to tell you a lot about classical music in here:

  • Mozart, Bach, Beethoven.

  • It will be the locus of our course.

  • How many of you already listen to classical music?

  • Raise your hand.

  • Okay. Great.

  • A lot of you and that's wonderful.

  • I'd be interested to know, gentleman down here,

  • how do you do this?

  • Is it streaming off of your computer?

  • Are you downloading mp3 files and saving them?

  • How--Tell me. How do you do it?

  • Student: I just go to YouTube.

  • Prof: You go to YouTube.

  • All right.

  • Very interesting.

  • I should have known that but I didn't.

  • You go to YouTube and you listen there.

  • Anybody else do it a different way?

  • Yes?

  • Student: On the radio.

  • Prof: On the radio. Okay.

  • That's interesting.

  • We'll come back to that point.

  • Anything else, anybody?

  • Yes?

  • Student: My parents' CDs or records.

  • Prof: Okay.

  • Your parents' CDs or records.

  • That's wonderful.

  • They have sort of the old technology here but some of

  • those old recordings might be very, very good.

  • Now here is a question for you.

  • Why would we want to listen to classical music?

  • Why do--why--who just answered a question for me,

  • those folks who raised your hand?

  • What--gentleman here again.

  • I'll--you're my sacrificial lamb this morning.

  • Why do you like to listen and why would you want to listen to

  • classical music?

  • Student: It relaxes me.

  • Prof: Okay.

  • Very interesting.

  • National Public Radio asked exactly this question in a

  • survey a year or so ago and they got the following principal

  • responses back.

  • Why do people listen to classical music?

  • One, it helps them relax and relieve stress,

  • so this is perhaps the principal reason.

  • Two, it helps us center the mind, allowing the listener to

  • concentrate.

  • Three, classical music provides a vision of a better world,

  • a refuge of beauty, of majesty, perhaps of even--

  • of love--and sometimes, at least for me personally,

  • it suggests that there might be something out there,

  • God or whatever, bigger than ourselves,

  • and it asks us to think sometimes, think about things.

  • That's what I think these great fine arts do,

  • great literature, poetry, painting,

  • music.

  • They show what human beings can be, the capacity of the human

  • spirit.

  • They suggest to us as indicated maybe there is something,

  • a larger spirit out there than ourselves, and they get us to

  • think.

  • They get me to think frequently about what I'm doing on this

  • earth.

  • What are you doing on this earth?

  • >

  • Don't answer that.

  • What am I doing on this earth with regard to this particular

  • course?

  • What am I trying to accomplish in here?

  • Well, maybe two things.

  • One, change your personality.

  • I want to make you a richer person,

  • a broader person, by instilling you with an

  • unending deep and abiding understanding of classical

  • music, so that's part of this,

  • and not just here for Yale but for your life after Yale.

  • I would hope that how you lead your life ten years from now,

  • twenty years from now, thirty years from now,

  • would have been significantly influenced by this particular

  • experience in this course.

  • And secondly, if I'm successful in my

  • teaching I will accomplish this second aim here.

  • I will impart to you a love of classical music.

  • You, through, later on after Yale,

  • your attendance at concerts, buying of one fashion or

  • another, downloading mp3 files,

  • iTunes or whatever it happens to be,

  • maybe being members of your local symphony board,

  • opera company, something like that,

  • maybe giving music lessons to your children,

  • you will become the purveyors of classical music thereafter.

  • You, the intelligentsia of the next generation,

  • will be those that preserve this great treasure of Western

  • culture and it is a great treasure of Western culture.

  • Okay.

  • How are we going to do all of this?

  • How are we going to accomplish these two things on our list of

  • agenda here?

  • What are the mechanics of the course?

  • Did you all get a syllabus?

  • Everybody's got a syllabus?

  • The first three or four weeks or so we'll be following the

  • elements of music: rhythm, melody and harmony--and

  • then a test.

  • Next we will deal with what's the--arguably--the single most

  • important thing when we listen to any piece of music and that

  • is its musical form.

  • Here is a question for you.

  • I was thinking about this the other day as I was preparing the

  • lecture for today.

  • What's the most common type of musical form in pop music?

  • When you listen to pop music do you ever think about the form of

  • the music?

  • Can anybody name a form of pop music, any one form?

  • Well, maybe verse and chorus?

  • Think about that.

  • That shows up in a lot of stuff and we'll come back to that.

  • We'll talk about verse and chorus when we get to the issue

  • of form.

  • And then toward the end of the course we will turn to the

  • question of musical style.

  • How does a piece of pop music differ from a piece of classical

  • music?

  • We sort of all know this intuitively but can we

  • articulate why?

  • This particular difference about musical style was driven

  • home to me the other day.

  • It was last Friday.

  • I was walking across the campus--maybe you saw this too,

  • corner of Elm and College.

  • There was a large flatbed truck out there and there were these

  • people on this truck getting you--

  • trying to sell you audio equipment,

  • and they had a big banner up there.

  • It said "Pump Up Your Room."

  • Okay?

  • So then to encourage you to "pump up your room"

  • they had music playing and this is the kind of music that they

  • had on that flatbed truck.

  • >

  • Okay.

  • I'm feeling very pumped up at that particular point

  • >

  • and my cell phone rings.

  • Okay. My--This is true.

  • My cell phone rings and because one has the capacity nowadays to

  • select your own ring tone--right?

  • I have mine selected not to that sound but to Mozart,

  • so I hear this sound on my telephone.

  • And it will give us a sense of the difference in style between

  • pop music and classical music.

  • How does this, what we're about to hear,

  • differ?

  • Can you give me, say, three or four reasons why

  • what we're about to hear differs from what we just heard?

  • >

  • Mozart.

  • >

  • Can anyone tell me?

  • What's the difference between these two?

  • What's the--what did the pop piece have?

  • That's Rave 'Til Dawn.

  • That's my--I own that album, I'll have you know,

  • Rave 'Til Dawn.

  • Gentleman back here.

  • Student: In classical music there's much more

  • attention to detail.

  • Prof: Yes, that's probably true as a

  • general observation, whether it comes through

  • clearly on these two-- this comparison--I'm not quite

  • so sure, but there--I wouldn't say

  • there's a great deal of detail in the first one.

  • There's a lot of repetition.

  • That's where I--once that gets going, it goes for a long period

  • of time.

  • Anything else?

  • Yes?

  • Student: A melody?

  • Prof: Oh, melody.

  • Which one had the melody?

  • Student: The classical music.

  • Prof: Yeah.

  • >

  • The first I couldn't pick out any melody at all.

  • It was all what?

  • Rhythm and beat.

  • Okay?

  • So repetitious, rhythm, beats,

  • strong pulsation to it.