Holistic Listening


  • Paul Rudy University of Missouri-Kansas City




There are so many ways to listen to music and sound art. Western scholarship has focused on sound as symbol and language, and recent research into neurosciences, perception and cognition brings in a rich new aspect exploring exactly how our aural mechanism works and the how the brain interprets stimulus received by our ears. My own experience with sound has taught me that vibration acts upon my entire physiology and not just my ears. These experiences have returned me to listening with my whole body, dramatically affecting my physiology through sound. This article attempts to reconcile my training as a music listener guided largely by abstract thinking, with my understanding of listening as a whole body experiencer. The framework I posit here begins with listener triangulation strategies, and ends with a re-incorporation of sound: a return to the body as a vibrational receiver in all of its aspects. The result is holistic listening with mind, body, emotions, and spirit, as sound becomes medicine with the power to heal. 


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