Listen: A History of Our Ears

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Fordham Univ Press, Aug 25, 2009 - Philosophy - 176 pages

In this intimate meditation on listening, Peter Szendy examines what the role of the listener is, and has been, through the centuries. The role of the composer is clear, as is the role of the musician, but where exactly does the listener stand in relation to the music s/he listens to? What is the responsibility of the listener? Does a listener have any rights, as the author and composer have copyright? Szendy explains his love of musical arrangement (since arrangements allow him to listen to someone listening to music), and wonders whether it is possible in other ways to convey to others how we ourselves listen to music. How can we share our actual hearing with others?

Along the way, he examines the evolution of copyright laws as applied to musical works and takes us into the courtroom to examine different debates on what we are and aren’t allowed to listen to, and to witness the fine line between musical borrowing and outright plagiarism. Finally, he examines the recent phenomenon of DJs and digital compilations, and wonders how technology has affected our habits of listening and has changed listening from a passive exercise to an active one, whereby one can jump from track to track or play only selected pieces.

 

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Contents

Im Listening
1
Chapter 1 Authors Rights Listeners Rights Journal of Our Ancestors
13
Arrangement Translation Criticism
35
Chapter 3 Our Instruments for Listening Before the Law Second Journal Entry
69
The Making of the Modern Ear
99
Plastic Listening
129
Notes
145
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Peter Szendy is David Herlihy Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature at Brown University and musicological advisor for the concert programs at the Paris Philharmonie. His books include Of Stigmatology: Punctuation as Experience; All Ears: The Aesthetics of Espionage; Apocalypse-Cinema: 2012 and Other Ends of the World; Kant in the Land of Extraterrestrials; Hits: Philosophy in the Jukebox; and Listen: A History of Our Ears..

Jean-Luc Nancy is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg. His wide-ranging thought is developed in many books, including Expectation: Philosophy, Literature; The Possibility of a World; The Banality of Heidegger; The Disavowed Community; and, with Adèle Van Reeth, Coming (all Fordham).

Charlotte Mandell has translated more than forty books and is the recipient of numerous awards.

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