Salom√© Voegelin’s Listening to Noise and Silence:

xi: If I notice a concurrent sound, I most likely subsume that heard into the appreciation of the seen: sound fleshes out the visual and renders it real; it gives the image its spatial dimension and temporal dynamic. But these are attributes of the object seen, ignoring the event heard. This impulse to subsume sound into the visual is so ingrained as to blight music criticism and the discourse of sound art, whose focus is invariably on the score or the arrangement, on the orchestra or the performer, the sound source, the installation view or the documentation of the sonic event, in short the visual manifestation rather than the sounds heard.

xii: By contrast, hearing is full of doubt: phenomenological doubt of the listener about the heard and himself hearing it. Hearing does not offer a meta-position; there is no place where I am not simultaneous with the heard. However far its source, the sound sits in my ear.

27: Listening is a subjective task that demands an attending engagement with the work for the time it plays rather than for the time I am prepared to listen, and grasps my being to understand that of the work. I am producing the work in my temporal presence, and that might take a while. This while is lonely and there is no guarantee that any  judgement formed will be lasting or communicable.

30: Listening is contextual but its context is fleeting.The time and space of my listening is permanently displaced by the sound heard. I cannot freeze sound, there is no room for contemplation, narration of meta-position, there is only the small sliver of now which is a powerful influence but hard to trace.


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