In my music classes I tell my young music students that if they use their eyes to make music, they will probably get tricked and make mistakes with my tricky music games. But if they use their ears, they can never be tricked. Your ears will tell you when to play.
MIndblowing for them…..but over the years as an adult, even our ears play tricks on us. Many times we are not hearing what we think we are hearing. Further….this is a proven scientific fact. If you are so curious, read about the Fletcher-Munson effect and/or the Hass effect.
But man I gotta tell ya……if you read on the internet what people think they are hearing, the majority don’t know exactly what they are hearing. For example, listening to something at a whisper level is very different than listening to the same thing at a loud level which is very different than listening at an uncomfortably loud level.
How about your ears when listening to albums? Do you think that is actually how the instruments sounded in the room? What you are listening to on your phone or through earbuds or desktop speakers…..do you think that’s actually the way it sounded in the room while the music was being recorded???
Answer: NO! In fact the sound changes depends on where you are listening in the room. I know I’ve experienced that in a club. I moved from where I was standing or sitting and the sound changed. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Hasn’t that ever happened to you?
Regardless of all of the scientific mumbo jumbo like Fletcher-Munson, man I think it is totally worth it to find a time and a space to listen to good music in a good environment so you can truly enjoy what the artists, the engineers, and producers are really trying to bring to your ears. I’ll tell you….whenever I’ve really really listened….I’ve noticed soooo many things I never noticed before.
Speaking of which, I really played with the stereo panorama on my latest CD, Tales from El Capistan. A good set of stereo speakers will make this come alive, and headphone will also work quite well.
Get a copy here to listen to some stereo imaging rarely done in today’s music: